3D printing is revolutionizing manufacturing already. From food to guns, the old business models are being undermined. Information is spilling out all over the place, information one can now hold in one’s hands.
3D printing has the potential to be as revolutionary as the car, the vaccine, the computer, even the Internet. Big industries are about to be hit by a storm of innovation. The economy as we know it is fundamentally changing and it is changing in a way that makes crony capitalism more difficult.
As power is increasingly given to the individul economic actor, and as the power of the crowd and spontaneous order is tapped, huge opportunities arise, along with new challenges.
The old centrally planned economy, such as we have now, even while it expands, is dying. 3D printing will be a very important part of the newly decentralized economy our children may grow up in. (If the statists don’t completely send us into another Dark Age.)
Will regulators grow so frightened of a world beyond their laws (not that such a world doesn’t already surround us) that they’ll willingly try to toss out the technologically transformative baby with the organic chemistry-infused bathwater? Honestly, we know that politicians and appointed government officials alike are capable of burn-the-village-to-save-it behavior. But even the most reactionary and obstructionist FDA of the future won’t be able to prevent rare disease sufferers from downloading files developed in Germany, Singapore, or on some seasteading platform and printing officially unapproved medicines. Recreational chemists will, no doubt, upload and download their files though mechanisms like Pirate Bay and Silk Road.