Re: [rp-ml] Re: New machines could turn homes into small factories

From: Bathsheba Grossman (
Date: Sat Mar 26 2005 - 01:24:39 EET

On Fri, 25 Mar 2005, Dave Russell wrote:
> >One of the many freedoms that follows from the eschewing of any sort of
> ghastly "business model" and just giving something away
> >pro bono is that it liberates you from the tyranny of customers and,
> worse, investors.
> Does anyone want to defend this proposition or can we agree that
> - Nothing is free
> - There is always an investor
> - There is always a customer

Well, no material object is free. Some information is free.
That's one reason that devices which convert information into objects
are interesting. It's commonplace to create and give away valuable
information; there's already a substantial infrastructure for doing
that effectively.

> I assert that this is important because all our judgments about projects
> like this at least implicitly assume some sort of economic context.
> Denying the existence of economic constraints gives us no place to
> start.

In practice the real constraint appears to be "cheap" rather than
"free". I agree it's hyperbole to talk about there being no business
model at all -- Bowyer may choose not to make money by giving away the
plans, but somebody else would certainly make it by selling the raw
materials. However I don't think it's invalid to think about a
decentralized model for some types of manufacturing, in which a
central plant is not required and capital costs are low enough to be
distributed among end users. I have in mind just such a model in the
context of art-making.


Bathsheba Grossman                                          (831)429-8224
Sculpting geometry                                

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