Some weeks back I blogged about a newly emerging technology called three-D printing, a technique whereby blueprints or computer schematics of machined parts can be machined by special techniques using lasers, a technique that, in effect, has the potential of allowing every home to become a manufacturing plant. We'll get back to that in a moment. What interests us here is that this technique is now being considered by NASA to construct parts for its new generation of launch vehicles:
There are a number of implications to all of this that I think are rather fascinating, and each of them is an indicator of how very different things are going to be in a hundred years. As I pointed out in a previous blog, and in the opening paragraph to this one, this new technology has the potential to allow each home to become its own self-contained manufacturing facility. Imagine this future: rather than going to purchase a refrigerator or a washing machine, one simply purchases the schematics, and plugs them into the 3-d printing machine, puts in some metal, and assembles a new appliance. Minus the cost of labor, eventually this will mean cheaper household goods.We may expand this: one can also imagine home 3-D manufacture of guns, or, even more to the point, of "black market" weapons, or, to really expand on the theme, smaller manufacture facilities even for things such a space launch vehicles. We could be looking at a technology that will, in time, open up space to a much larger human presence than currently exists, for as production proliferates, costs falls. NASA, in short, is adopting a technology that in my opinion will ultimately lead to its dissolution, or at the minimum to the rise of serious private sector competition.
But let's expand on this theme in the context of yesterday's blog about the IMF's "new" proposed solution of dealing with the toxic debt in the world financial system: government-issued debt-free money. As I noted there, such a conception relies upon two factors: (1) the over-all production of a country, since such money reflects a receipt on the goods and services - upon the productivity - of that society, and (2) upon the honest reporting of that productivity by the government issuing it.
And there's the rub: such a solution is the same-old centralization ploy that, in the context of the rise of this new technology and the potential for "ma and pa" manufacturing that it portends, would make such accurate central reporting a monumental task, if not impossibility. So, as we have the necessary debate and discussion on the system of money, we need also to bear in mind that in the end, any form of money is a command upon human labor, and that, in turn, is magnified by the technology in play.
See you on the flip side.