A RepRap world is possible

How about this, the RepRap, a machine that can produce all kinds of useful household objects, and can also reproduce itself:

RepRap from Adrian Bowyer on Vimeo.

The people behind it aim to have one in every home, but just one in every community would potentially be sufficient as a seed for non-capitalist production, because:

  1. The RepRap technology can overcome the separation of producer and consumer that characterises commodity production. If people produce what they or people in their community want, then production is driven by concrete demand (use values) rather than abstract demand (exchange values).
  2. It puts the means of production back in the hands of producers. If capitalists no longer have a monopoly on the means of production, then the fundamental distinction between capitalists and workers underlying capitalist society is broken down.

Of course it’s the pattern of production that is important. If this technology can only ever produce a small range of useful items then it’s not going to make much of a difference, but if it can be replicated in many spheres of production then it will have a significant impact.

The technology also relies upon raw materials (plastic, metal), and if the production of those materials remained in capitalist hands then its socio-economic effect might also be severely compromised.

Now I wonder, what, apart from coat hooks, might you be able to produce with this machine?

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