Last week was the publication of the findings of Harvard Business School’s 2013–14 Survey on U.S. Competitiveness, on which I already discussed on a previous post. Going further on the challenging transition of the current economic structures I would like to make some points around the 3D printing, maker movement and new ways of doing business in a networked/P2P economy (1).
Networking for democracy
The first update comes from Jeremy Rifkins conception of the 3rd industrial revolution or Zero Margin Cost Society. Rifkin assume that industrial revolution are based on structural modification over 3 domain: communication, energy and transportation (that include logistics). If last revolution was structured in a way where everything was centralized then distributed in a producer/customer relation, meaning a high transaction cost, now in a network economy based on p2p prosumers relation, the margin cost can get to nearly zero. That’s saying a democratization of everything.
Sensors as collaborative assets
The difference with todays internet is made with the IoT (internet of things) which was still a concept few month ago. From smart phone and apps development we now reach a singular point where the internet of information can merge with new energy and production structured for collaboration. From hubs extension like fab labs and local solar grid, people will need less of big manufacturing and gaz or nuclear central and relay more on global network integration. From that perspective, this will create a more interdependent, but democratic world. That will require from all participant sensoring, which is the basic of IoT, data collection and emission from new devices like Iwatch, googleglass, etc. enabling with logistic and transportation to optimize collective efficiency and turn economic competitiveness standard into a new logic of collaboration. (2)
3Dpi the good news
Going further I also found amazing the sudden mediatization around 3Dprinting and fab lab. One good quote reveiling this new awakening came from an Hunfington post article relating mains ideas shared from the Annual Global Degrowth Congress organized in Germany this week. One of the conclusion was « that we could soon all be able to 3D print our own homes, cars, clothes using open-access, open-source code, near-free energy and resources in local Fab Labs is mind-blowing but a near reality. It blows the hierarchical, inequality based current economy out of the (3d printed) bathtub. If done with a close eye on ecological limits it could herald a true circular economy. »
(1) For the essentials of arguments see "Jeremy Rifkin on the fall of capitalism and the internet of things (april 2014) that mostly echoes the previous Porter & Rivkin (2014) report on USA competitiveness decline. (2) Taking the discovery of mirror cells Rifkins assume against the Rational choice theory that human being instead of having instinctive selfishness behavior are fundamentally emphatic.