If a country wants to stay economically vibrant it needs to manufacture things. In recent years, however, the developed world has become obsessed with making money out of the precarious service sector, leaving the real business of manufacturing to the developing world.
The New Industrial Revolution is about how to reverse that. Transformative change happens when industries democratise, when they're ripped from the sole domain of big business and government and taken over by entrepreneurs. The Internet democratised publishing, broadcasting, and communications, and the consequence was a massive increase in the range of both participation and participants in everything digital – the long tail of bits. Now the same is happening to manufacturing – the long tail of things.
Chris Anderson, best-selling author of The Long Tail explains how this is happening: how such technologies as 3D printing and electronics assembly are becoming available to everybody, and how people are building successful businesses as a result. Anybody with an idea and a little expertise can now set assembly lines in China in motion with nothing more than some keystrokes on their laptop. And that's just the beginning.
The Web was once simply the proof of concepts. Now the revolution hits the real world.