Three dimensional printing is already here and able to manufacture just about anything you can draw – complete with moving parts. Not only that but you can choose different material characteristics (e.g. more strength here, less weight there) and even different colors. Check out this video.
How long will it be before someone invents the next “Amazon”, where ordering on-line means you can have your customized purchase in your hands minutes later?
Once that happens off-shore cheap labor farms are going to quickly become obsolete. After all, why pay someone to make things, ship them around the world and tie up capital in inventory when you can print exactly the right amount locally?
Of course this technology will also take a big bite out of the US Post Office,, and services.
Some people will see this as a great thing – providing instant access and using fewer fossil fuels to move objects around. But if your reaction is that the job-losses are going to be horrific, don’t worry – that’s your corporate anti-bodies kicking in.
Don’t try to fight it. Victor Hugo nailed it nearly two hundred years ago when he said “One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas.”