China’s Sophisticated and Affordable 3-D Technology

9 May

3-D Printing is a new technology which will soon revolutionize the world, its ability to print object from clothes to microwaves to mechanical parts in meticulous detail and rapid speed could spell the end of the division of labour within market economies. This is precisely the reason China has decided to invest in domestically-invented 3-D printing technologies: to boost its manufacturing power. But the future of the millions of sweatshop workers could be under threat once this technology takes over the manufacturing process, cheap labour has been the source of China’s boom, but without the need for cheap production, China’s comparative advantage will disappear.

This is an issue that must be acknowledged by the political elites for the sake of China’s manufacturing industry.



3 Responses to “China’s Sophisticated and Affordable 3-D Technology”

  1. nw8g11 May 9, 2013 at 7:02 pm # – there are more problems than just unemployment. The ‘opportunity’ which can reek many rewards, needs to be watched and regulated quickly before things like guns which do not set off metal detectors, are widely created.

    • pcm1c12 May 13, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      Another article I read reminded me of your comment. Many discussions and hot topics aroused after the (short-term) publication of the 3d weapon blueprint. But the article interesting me the most, was about a British newspaper who printed the weapon in London and after managed to smuggle it on board of the Eurostar.
      After downloading the blueprint of the gun for free from internet, the pistol was produced within 36 hours with a 1,700 pound(!) 3d printer printing its components. The reason why the gun didn’t trigger metal detectors was because the gun is completely from plastic. In doing this, the newspaper exposed the international security risk posed by the easily produced gun. The newspaper didn’t attempt to smuggle an essential part, the firing pin or bullet, for safety and legal reasons. But they emphasize that small metal items could be easily concealed.

      As a reaction on the security breach, the train operator began un urgent investigation. Also airports and public buildings were called for reviewing their procedures in light of the revelations.

  2. pcm1c12 May 10, 2013 at 12:28 am #

    Cheap labour might has been the source of China’s economic boom, but I think we should consider if this is still necessary. Because cheap labour often means, low wages and poor work circumstances. Conditions experiencing heavy resistance lately. The development of more sophisticated ways to do the cheap manufacturing will, in my opinion, even contribute to the improvement of circumstances of workers. The article even says markets have personalized needs. Shortening the production cycle makes more people available to meet the personalized need demands. Besides, keeping in mind that international markets are paying more and more attention on the work circumstances of products they are buying, this could in the best case scenario even have a positive economic effect.
    Another point of consideration is the fact that, as a result of the one-child policy, there won’t be an abundant amount of workers in the near future anymore. Considering this, China should think of other ways to keep the production at low costs or at least to be economically interesting for the international market. Furthermore, according to the article, the 3d-printers are getting cheaper and cheaper. Similar products Maybe the 3d-printers can eventually both keep the prices low, and substitute the current many cheap laborers.
    Also, I don’t really get why political elites so urgently need to acknowledge 3d printing as the upcoming technology for the Chinese Industry. In fact is it just the market working here: there is a need for personalized labors, soon there’s not an unlimited amount of workers anymore, under these conditions industries still want to make profit so they look for alternatives. Now with the 3d-printer as an possible alternative. Is it not just a good thing for China, both for the manufacturing industry as the politics? I might even improve the work circumstances problem. As a final point, even if the politics see this as a problem, which I believe is very unlikely, what exactly would the political elites want to do? Forbid 3d-printers? promote the use of cheap, bad circumstance workers in industry?
    No, I really have to disagree with your (negative) view.
    I think, especially for a growing economy like China participating in the global market, it is in fact a very positive development that they trying to keep developing!

    And as a response on the reply of nw8g11: I think it is clear I disagree with se2910 his view of problems. So I wouldn’t start saying there are “more problems”. Anyway, I think you are making a good point here, it is important indeed for the government to consider the dangerous side/implications of 3d-printing. It would be a good idea for the government to think about certain restrictions or something before the printers become widely used.

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