The process promises to completely turn the manufacturing industry on its head;
- opening the door to specialisation over mass production;
- bringing production geographically closer to the point of consumption
- lowing the cost of market entry.
Karl Marx taught the world that this process of escalating concentration and centralisation of capital is an inherent trend in capitalism. Marx predicated that the organic composition of capital would increase, meaning machines get more expensive and capitalists are spending more money on the cost of machines then they are on labour. This is a problem as capitalist’s profit only result through extracting 'surplus value' from labour. This suggests that capitalist profits have a tendency to decrease in the long run (unless they find ways to counter balance this trend). These forces cause capitalism to spiral towards a system of elite ownership marked with constant threats of worsening crisis. History is proving Marxism correct on these foresights.
Marxism predicts that the capitalist system would be broken by political struggle as the working class revolt against their poverty and exploitation. This of course has happened in part, but failed to bring about a more advanced social system. Yet maybe it is the other side of the historical materialism coin which will bring about social change? Will technological developments in production bring about new relationships of production and consequently a new social system? 3D printing has the potential disperse the power of production throughout society, making a social system such as Guild Socialism possible. There seems to be no debate on 3D printing and its impact on Marxist theory at this time, but it promises to have serious implications for both marxist theory and the potential to build a socialist system.
A video demonstrating 3D printing in action