In an FT column today Dave Eggers pines for the days when schools taught metal and woodworking. “It doesn’t all have to be keyboards and screens, does it?” he asks.
It certainly doesn’t.
Many small business in the U.S. are becoming part of a new wave of small-scale and super premium manufacturing. There’s any number of examples to look at, like the plumbing parts manufacturing in Brooklyn, the artisanal chocolate makers and the distillers in Boston.
There’s also no shortage of stories focusing on Brooklyn’s manufacturing boom. Turns out we are making things with our hands even if schools don’t teach us how anymore.
Of course Brooklyn, with its close proximity to Manhattan and available factory space, can’t be a model for every city that wants to develop a micro-manufacturing center specializing in pickles, bicycles and chocolate.
But there’s an old idea that Eggers touches on that’s taking hold in New York that other cities can and should appropriate. And it’s such an old concept that Brooklyn can’t even take credit for it. It’s the bazaar, as old as market capitalism itself.