as long as it’s black

Posted: July 13, 2012 in This is the Voice of Lefty Reason

“you can have any colour as long as it’s black”.  Famous words attributed to Henry Ford as his Model T cars rolled off his production line by the thousand early in the twentieth century.  The new productive methods were the “great leap forward” and kick started the march towards the all powerful Capitalist dream-state of modern America.  One hundred and fifty years before most Briton’s were still working the land at a bare subsistence level.  The first industrial revolution driven by mechanisation saw Britain grow and dominate the world through it’s Empire.  Today?  Where do you, dear reader, work?  How do you earn a living?  I don’t know but I would take a reasonably sized punt on the fact that you work in the tertiary, service sector.  I am a teacher; a knowledge based service job.  My hands may have the odd spot of chalk dust (or rather, these days, stains from whiteboard marker pens) but they are clear of the engine oil and coal dust my father and grandfather had on theirs at the end of a shift.  “The industries that mop up unskilled school leavers are gone”.  So spoke Norman Tebbitt as long ago as 1992.  The next industrial / production revolution will be driven by the computer and digital technology.  We already have 3-d printing machines that can create a solid object by layering technology; incredible technology whose impact will be enormous.  These machines are falling in cost.  Your local garage will no longer throw you the line that they cannot get hold of a spare part; they will simply download the plan and print it before your very eyes.  Factories will be worker-less, clean and super efficient.  The “workers” will be selling each other education, insurance, banking, coffee and cinema tickets.  It will be a long long way from Edmund Cartwright’s power loom.



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