The Means of Production in the Information Age
Karl Marx explained that Capitalism is based on a limited ownership of the means of production. It takes a lot of money to build an auto plant, so only the largest joint-stock companies can afford to do so. This means that individual auto workers are at the mercy of their employer. (Only when they unite do they have a bargaining chip.) All of this is still true for heavy industry, but for creative people and small businesses, the times are changing. Thanks to computers, it’s easier than ever to control the means of production.
In the book Linchpin, marketing guru Seth Godin says that all you need to succeed nowadays is a laptop and an Internet connection. In the Information Age, inexpensive computers are the means of production. This is obviously true for a writer or blogger, but what about people who still sell physical objects? Thanks to computer aided design programs like Autocad, it’s now possible to create three-dimensional objects in the computer. Then you can contract out the production to a factory in China. This is what the big guys do, and if you can control the design process in house, you can do it too. The means of production are not as important as they used to be. It’s a good time to be an entrepreneur.