Exploring the Marker-Industrial Revolution: Will the future of production be local?


Many believe that modern technologies such as 3D printers, sensors, and networking capabilities provide an unprecedented opportunity to support a renewal of localized production— especially when combined with “Maker Movement” trends toward customization, user engagement, local and small-batch production, and reparability. Others are unconvinced, and instead forecast increased efficiency in high volume production and global supply chains. Let us state the core questions: will either the Maker Movement or these dramatic new technologies fundamentally influence the basic structures of market competition? Or, will this all be merely an interesting but marginal blip along the road as the technologies themselves are absorbed into automated high volume production? What are the clues? What do decision-makers across industry and policy need to know in order to properly evaluate this potential?

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Anna Waldman Brown
Publication date: 
October 20, 2016
Publication type: 
Working Paper