We’re not there yet, by no means (and question is if a post-scarcity society will ever really be feasible), but this Guardian piece that is a reaction to this article from the Economist nicely explains how 3d printing technology is steadily improving and might soon reach the point where it becomes a feasible solution to create replacement parts for broken products.
The main advantage of the 3D printing process is that all you need is a 3d model, no special molds, no custom parts, nothing (actually this doesn’t necessarily need to be true; in some cases it might be more effective to hybridize the 3d printing process with other components), so there are no tooling costs prior to manufacturing, there are no setup costs, so instead of needing to do a manufacturing run of 1000’s of pieces at a time, you can actually manufacture on demand.
As can be expected the Economist is essentially cheerleading for the free market and urging that government steps out of the way, while the Guardian has takes a slightly more dim view and are worrying about what will happen to all the jobs in manufacturing (AKA they took our jobs).
Given the paltry state of manufacturing industry in the Western world right now, I do expect, that, at least here, the good and bad will essentially offset each other; but still, we might have to get used to the fact that 100% employment might not always be attainable. All in all this makes me want to pick up The Diamond Age once again.
At the same time, the New York Times wrote another piece about how writers (especially of genre fiction) need to ramp up their production to more than just one book a year in order to remain relevant.
“It used to be that once a year was a big deal,” said Lisa Scottoline, a best-selling author of thrillers. “You could saturate the market. But today the culture is a great big hungry maw, and you have to feed it.”
I expect that consumers will be ever insatiable in some degree and that the main thing that changed is that it has simply become easier (and maybe even more affordable) to gobble up everything that one author can produce. Also related might be that geek/nerd culture has become a lot more accepted and prevalent and the key personality trait of nerds is a certain kind of obsession with one subject, so it can also be possible that this type of obsession with one author is celebrated more than before.
Lastly, in all industries, we see that the long tail gets ever longer; authors that before did not get picked up by publishers, now start writing a weblog and produce content for free or using different methods, thus slowly building themselves a bigger audience until they reach the point that they get snatched up by a traditional publisher. Because of this, the pie is getting shared by more and more writers.
I saw two links to teenage pastimes. The first if a LIFE reportage about teenagers in Japan in the 60’s that is very intriguing and has very pretty images.
Some kids in Russia climb high buildings instead. Very nerve wrecking, also results in pretty pictures.
Punk was just an excuse for people to run around
Without further comment, Vivienne Westwood.