Sellout: Stephen Harper and the Canada-China FIPA

The imperial Chinese government, as Dr. Henry Kissinger lovingly relates in his recent On China, was in the habit of giving Panda bears, among other things, as gifts to barbarian states and tribes, in the belief that barbarians were easily distracted and susceptible to flattery.

It seems the modern Communist Party have not abandoned that particular policy. And alas, it seems it still works.

Stephen Harper came back from a visit to China last fall, which received really quite sparse coverage in the Canadian media, with two panda bears. He presented them to the Toronto Zoo, where fawning crowds were waiting to watch them eat.

I can only guess as to his motives.

Because what he didn’t make anywhere near as clear, upon his arrival back in the country, was that he had signed a massive trade deal with China. It’s only really been prominent in the news for the past week, when it’s almost imminently going to pass. Here it is.

Did you click the link? Did you attempt to read it? Did you give up in despair before you’d even really scrolled through the first articles?

Don’t worry. So did I. That’s what you were supposed to do. You weren’t actually supposed to read it. You’re not supposed to be able to understand it.

The thing about this treaty is that it’s actually impossible to read without legal training, as a good friend of mine going into her second year of law school informed me when I showed it to her. It’s such an impenetrable thicket of legalese that the layperson is simply unable to read it. It’s likely that not that many MPs have read it. Not all of them are lawyers.

Why?

Because it’s quite literally selling the ground out from beneath you.

If you knew that, you’d probably kick up a fuss. Which would be inconvenient, to say the least. So Harper hid it in plain sight.

It’s got some truly horrifying implications for Canadian law, which neither I, nor my friend, claim to understand fully, not having spent several years studying international trade law.

But we’ve at least read the damn thing. And we’ve found some terrifying things buried in there. Buried at the back. Long after the point any sensible human being has given up reading.

But not a law student. Like my friend Kylie Thomas. Or Osgoode Law School constitutional scholar Gus van Harten, who thinks it’s unconstitutional, for what it’s worth. And even from our cursory, fumbling reading of the bill, the evil comes through pretty palpably.

Article 11, for example, which obliges both governments to recoup losses that companies suffer due to ‘war, a state of national emergency, insurrection, [a] riot, or [an]other similar event.’ This effectively gives the Canadian government justification to deem a protest a riot, and break it up citing its need to protect Chinese investments under this FIPA.

Or Article 17, in which both parties are ‘encouraged’ to ‘publish in advance any measure that it proposes to adopt’, and ‘provide interested persons and the other Contracting party [with] a reasonable opportunity to comment on the proposed measure.’

Encouraged. Not obliged in any way.

Or Article 18, in which it is deemed ‘inappropriate’ for either party to encourage investment by waiving, relaxing, or otherwise derogating from domestic health, safety or environmental measures.’

Inappropriate. To override almost all provincial law regarding our health care system, our police forces, and our environmental regulations.

But the real kicker is this one. Article 21. While observance of most Canadian laws are merely ‘encouraged’, and the overriding of almost all provincial legislation is merely ‘inappropriate’, both parties ‘shall,’ the strongest binding legal term used in this document, ‘first hold consultations in an attempt to settle a claim amicably’ when there is a treaty dispute.

Those claims will be settled by a three-person tribunal. One Canadian, one Chinese citizen, and one foreign national, whose identity will be mutually agreed. That’s in article 24.

So basically, the tie breaking vote on this tribunal will always be a citizen of a country who is infinitely more interested in currying China’s favor than in protecting Canadian citizens.

This tribunal ‘shall’ have its findings made publicly available, ‘subject to the redaction of confidential information.’ But only when it’s ‘in the public interest.’ Which is straight out of Yes, Minister.

But the contracting governments ‘may share with their officials of their respective federal and sub-national governments.’ May. They don’t have to.

And if a third party is affected by a dispute? Like a first nations band? Or a provincial government that is about to see its environmental protections gutted? They can submit to this tribunal.

But their submissions cannot be more than twenty pages long. Their application can only be five. Essentially meaning that the exercise of trying to protest this tribunal’s decisions would be ultimately pointless and unrewarding. That part’s buried in Annex C-29. Literally at the end of the document.

In the idiotic preamble on the Harper clique’s website explaining what FIPA’s actually are, it gets pointed out that Canada has signed FIPA’s in the past with countries including Hungary, Latvia, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Venezuela.

But of course, none of these countries remotely compare to China in size and power. We are the junior partner in this agreement. The one who can be safely ignored.

Much as we were with NAFTA. The last trade treaty Canada signed that had this kind of scope and significance. Of course, we fought a bloody election over it, and freely chose as a people to sign it when we voted for Brian Mulroney. We didn’t have it snuck through the legislative backdoor by a vicious and corrupt petty despot and his henchmen.

Because that’s what’s happening. Right now. In your country.

If you’re angry, you should be. And you should tell people so. That’s the only chance we have of stopping this from happening. I’ll be publishing Kylie Thomas’ more detailed dissection of the treaty later next week.

In the meantime, I would ask that you share this. People should really know.

The end of the government of Canada.

So it’s official. There is no longer a government of Canada. There is now the Harper Government. It’s appearing on the letterheads now.

Though Harper himself has proven unable, in the face of popular outcry, to push this through in its entirety, the fact remains that he has tried. And will try again.

I’m glad, in a way. It draws a useful distinction. It helps us remember that this isn’t our government. This isn’t the Canadian state. This is something else entirely.

For me, at least, It makes it easier to realize that this band of old creeps has nothing to do with me. Or my country. It helps me to look people from other countries in the eye and tell them the truth, which is that I increasingly no longer recognize my government. Not in some petty ideological sense, but in the most fundamental way. I want nothing to do with it.

I once dreamed of a career at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International trade. Of representing a country I was genuinely proud of. But that was a different time. I was young. Idealistic. I had faith that I would be doing something worthwhile.

Not shilling Alberta crude in Washington. Or working for John Baird. I’d honestly rather turn tricks. I’d feel less filthy at the end of the day.

Gradually it became obvious that government work in today’s Ottawa would be like wading knee-deep into congealing cement. Pointless, boring, and ultimately stupid.

I didn’t want to be so cowed by my obstreperous, rude, and in some cases clearly rather stupid political masters that I wouldn’t feel able to speak out against something like this idiotic name change  ‘for fear of retribution’ as the Globe and Mail rather drily noted that most civil servants are in today’s Ottawa. I value my  integrity and my pride.

I didn’t want to watch as my funding gradually receded under the unthinking axe of some idiot minister, enslaved by a paleolithic ideology, and animated ultimately by a contempt for everything I hold dear.

And above all, I didn’t want to help them do what they’re doing.

I didn’t want to help them build bigger and more expensive jails to hold the waves of new ‘criminals’ they’re incarcerating. I didn’t want to be party to the mass beating of the peacefully demonstrating citizens of Toronto in their own streets with the unthinking fists of thugs from out of town at the G20. I didn’t want to lie through my teeth to the rest of the world about the wonders of the ‘oil patch,’ or ‘ethical oil,’ or any of the other thousand and one euphemisms we’re now obliged to call the tar sands.

I’d rather work for the Government of Canada. I’d rather be an active citizen of a country I can still be proud of.

But I will never work for the Harper Government. Not so long as it bears this stupid name.

There’s so much we can be proud of as Canadians. We’re peaceful, we’re tolerant, we’re compassionate, and we’re friendly. We mean well. We really do. We just find it hard to care about politics right now, because they’re so dispiriting, petty, and low.

Which is, of course, something Harper doesn’t care about. Or at least doesn’t mind. The more apathetic and tuned out the Canadian public becomes, the more we are lulled and fattened by the gushing fountain of petro dollars keeping our economy afloat, the easier his job becomes.

The easier it becomes of him to rob us of our hard won social protections. Or to pointlessly glorify our military. Or to suck the damn oil out of Alberta as fast as he possibly can, no matter what gets destroyed along the way.

He thrives off the fact that we don’t pay attention.

So I will no longer ever refer to the Government of Canada in reference to the actions of the Harper clique. I will call it what he doesn’t have the courage to do. The Harper Government. Something distinct, alien, and terrible.

Not something that has anything to do with the country I love.

Trudeau, Harper, and how a real statesman treats terrorism.

This is how you deal with terrorism.

Openly, reluctantly, and in the broad light of day. In defense of the spirit of freedom.

Watch it. In it’s entirety when you have time.. He treats Canadians as grown-ups. As people who can understand his reasoning, and follow it. He explains that he is only shouldering the sweeping powers of the War Measures Act with the greatest reluctance, and will rescind them as soon as it’s within his power to do so. And he did.

Now with that in mind, stop and look at what the Harper Government has announced will be the next order of Parliament’s business.

It’s Bill C 7. It allows the government to arrest you before you’ve committed a crime, and to hold you for up to three days without charge or trial.

It also allows the government to hold you for up to a year without trial if you refuse to answer questions put to you by a judge in a so- called ‘investigative hearing.’

It’s a bad bill. It shouldn’t pass.

And nothing that has happened this week will change my mind. Indeed, if anything, I will note with gratitude that the RCMP seem perfectly capable of doing their jobs and isolating and apprehending terrorists without this legislation. They’ve done good work this week.

Though the Globe and Mail may, in the light of recent events, feel that somehow the situation has been changed politically by this attempted attack, and that Harper’s legislation is now praiseworthy and considered, I am less…malleable on this issue than they.

Proponents of the bill claim that it merely restores certain fundamental legal tools necessary if we are to combat terrorism. Tools that were originally passed into law under a Liberal government.

That’s true. I remember being aware of the debate at the time. I was 12, so much of it was over my head, but I remember where my sympathies lay then, too. And it wasn’t with the governing Liberals.

It was in the hysteria after 9 11. You remember those days. The fear, the hatred, the panic. Not one of us was thinking clearly. And even in our angered fervour, we still felt it necessary to sunset some of the more controversial parts of the legislation. Because we felt they were excessive powers that the state shouldn’t possess.

And I’m sorry, but two foreigners looking at a train doesn’t feel like a reason to give the state those powers.

Trudeau was faced with his friends and colleagues, in the case of Pierre Laporte, men he’d known all his life, being kidnapped. Unbelievable rumors were flying around Montreal. There was talk of more kidnappings, of a provisional government preparing to overthrow Premier Bourassa, of apprehended insurrection. If he had only believed half of them, he’d still have felt it was his responsibility to bring in the War Measures Act.

And, I repeat this, he rescinded the powers it gave him almost immediately after the situation had stabilized.

The Harper Government, and in fact most governments around the world at this moment in time, are bringing in sweeping powers to arm the government forever against a nebulous, abstract concept.

We always just seem to accept this. We seem to tolerate a definition of ‘terror ‘that could be, and indeed has been applied to a diverse group of peoples around the world, including the Irish, the Tibetans, the South Africans, and, indeed, the Canadians, who at one time or another, have resorted to violence to achieve an end.

Terrorism is unique, because it is uniquely a crime against the state. It is the state that feels most directly shaken by an act of random violence against the population. Because it undermines the essential claim the state makes; that it is there to protect its citizens. If it can’t do this, what’s the point in having it?

My essential point is this. In Trudeau’s Canada, rights were temporarily suspended to deal with an unprecedented and dangerous situation that threatened the very fabric of Canadian Confederation.

In Harper’s Canada, rights are joyfully stripped from the statutes under the pretense of defending us from the abstract concept of terror. From something that is always hypothetically possible, but which scares us so much we can’t be rational about it. And the government uses and exploits that fear to cow us into a scared silence as our rights under the Charter are taken from us.

There’s more than a cosmetic difference.

God Bless America. The trial of Dzokhar Tsarnaev and the best instincts of a people.

A few days ago, certain ‘senators’ and ‘congressmen’ suggested that Dzokhar Tsarnaev be tried as an enemy combatant, rather than in the full light of the rights due to him under the US constitution.

President Barack Obama has shown that he is better than that. So have the American people.

Dzokhar Tsarnaev will be charged for his horrendous crime under US law. In a US court. And his life or liberty will be confiscated by a righteous jury of his peers.

Today is a great day for the US constitution, and the freedoms it enshrines. It is a great day for the victims of a tragedy, who will now get their day in court, and see justice done on the man who has wounded them so deeply.

It’s rather a bad one for Lindsay Graham, John McCain, and anyone else who betrayed their pledges of allegiance this week.

George Galloway, Treason, and the Labour Party.

Ed Milliband, leader of Labour, recently met with George Galloway, leader, and sole MP, of Respect. A primitive fringe party.

Presumably the mood was tense.

Milliband has been strong in his insistence that the meeting was a mere distasteful parliamentary necessity. An unpleasant fact of Tory intransigence in the legislature.

He’s to be commended for that. But he still shouldn’t have met with the man. George Galloway is not to be trusted.

An unseemly demagogue, he’s known for his grandstanding theatrics, not-so-secret conversion to Islam, and his unreasonable cold rage at the British State.

My personal favorite Galloway moment, and perhaps the most revealing one he’s ever had, came a few months ago, in Oxford.

Somebody managed to convince him to come up for a debate. Nobody told him his opponent would be an Israeli. Or at least I presume.

Here’s how he reacted to the news.

He’d rather storm out, and be seen to storm out, like a child, than have any kind of conversation or change any minds that don’t think like his does. He’s not interested in conversation. He’s interested in winning. And ultimately, he’s interested in killing. You can kind of see it in his eyes.

His views, if I’m perfectly blunt, feel somehow dirty. Tainted and warped by hate. Treacherous, ultimately.

In fact, if we’re literal in our definition of treason, he comes remarkably close to committing it here. Treason is ultimately against the crown.

I merely note that this is drawn straight from Press TV. The Iranian government’s English language mouthpiece.

If you’re American, and you’ve never heard of him, think Alex Jones. If Alex Jones had an evil doppelganger.

Though he swore his oath of allegiance to the monarch upon returning to parliament in a stunning, bizarre by election in Bradford West, one can’t help but wonder if he meant it.

Did you click that link? Watch it. Feel the tension oozing from the chamber of the House of Commons to your screen. That room hated him. Probably almost to the last man or woman.

Though he affects to be at the head of a political movement, it remains rather obvious that his party, Respect is a personality cult.

I felt dirty just going on their website.

Of course, Galloway has expressed a sincere, if not entirely well motivated desire to return to the Labour party. Doubtless he realizes it would be quicker and simpler merely to hijack the apparatus of the existing state in a major party than to convince everyone to vote for his new and odd looking movement. He can do much more damage from within the Labour party than he can from without it.

So ultimately, what are we to make of Ed Milliband’s meeting with such a man?

It becomes a question of motive. If it was, in fact, a dirty necessity, it nonetheless elevated Galloway in the eyes of his constituents and put Milliband completely off message even in friendly news sources. That suggests a forgivable lack of political guile.

If there was any other motive to the meeting, I feel like we deserve to know more about it.

George Galloway is a threat. Not an imminent one. Thankfully most people see him for what he is at the moment. But desperate times tend to make people correspondingly desperate. And what seemed lunatic and unthinkable six months ago is now openly discussed in today’s mainstream media. Things are moving fast these days.

The Labour party shouldn’t be dignifying him with the title of MP, let alone the respect of being a party leader.

Treason will always out in the end.

France’s Mistake

Paste a Video URL

It is one of history’s more amusing ironies that a substantial amount of French men and women are in the streets today declaring a bigotry and an ignorance that would make an increasingly fringe branch of the Republican party proud.

France, doubtlessly, has gone up in the estimation of the Westboro Baptist Church this week. Which alone you think would give them pause.

But one often forgets, given the glamour and fascination of the historically very successful French left, that it wasn’t actually a decadent socialist government that declared the Iraq war an imperialist misadventure. It was Jaques Chirac. A consummate rightist. To say nothing of NIcolas Sarkozy or the Le Pen’s, father and daughter. France’s right wing is active, dedicated, and powerful.

An anecdote; I once went to a private member’s club in Paris, which shall remain nameless, but which was in a rather swanky area of town. We had a few drinks, and laughed at the incongruity of our being there, when as I was leaving I spotted a portrait of Marshall Petain.

The quisling French leader under Nazi occupation.

I asked someone who looked like they worked there whether it was, in fact, him.

He smiled, winked at me, and said yes it was. And it hung there all year.

We left after that. Haven’t been back since.

Strange, isn’t it? But this goes back to the revolution. France still feels starkly, utterly divided about that event. There’s a rich tradition of revolution, of struggle, of restless drive for improvement and progress. But there’s also a substantial amount of people who didn’t vote for the death of the king, so to speak. Who look back to a Catholic, medieval, chivalrous France, and despise France’s disorderly modern heritage. Petain had a lot of support.

At least some of it came from the same people who stoned collaborators in the streets and shaved the heads of women they knew as they beat them in the street when the Nazis finally withdrew.

And we’re seeing that side of France today. The one that hates change. The one that gladly handed over the Jews. The one that despises the erosion of traditional gender norms and values, and sees gays as a threat.

Above all, it’s the violence that surprises me. The disgust. The anger. One wonders what we did.

But one also doesn’t really care, because ultimately these people tend to lose. Their endless quest to hold back the tides of history, to freeze things, to preserve a golden moment, are doomed to inevitable failure. Progress is inevitable. Change cannot be stopped. And it’s impossible to sustain this level of hatred and anger. It eventually comes back to burn you.

Bigots, whether they be French, American, Ugandan, Saudi, Russian, or indeed Canadian, lead bitter, unhappy lives. Because ultimately they’re spending far too much of their day worrying about the habits of other people. Which is an unproductive waste of everyone’s time.

I’ll think twice about showing affection to someone I love in the streets of Paris now. I wish I didn’t have to. But apparently the city of love is for straight people.

Miriam Conrad, Ruslan Tsarni, and other American heroes.

Dzokhar Tsarnaev is, at the end of the day, a criminal. He will now be punished and otherwise treated like one.

But I’m going to choose to remember the true heroes of the past week.

Like Ruslan Tsarni, Dzokhar’s uncle, who eloquently and passionately denounced his newphew, defended the idea of America, and generally proved that in an extraordinary situation, he was capable of showing extaordinary courage. Especially in the face of such stupid, hostile questions from an uncaring, agressive, and pathetically useless mass media as ‘Do you love America?’

Or like Carlos Arredondo, who unhestitatingly, unquestioningly saved the life of one of Dzokhar’s victims with a torn-up sweater and truly incredible courage and love.

Or, perhaps above all, Miriam Conrad, federal defender for Massachusetts, who has today announced that she’ll be defending Dzokhar Tsarnaev in court.

In doing so, she proved that some of the finest things that people have ever said about America are still true. That the law is there for all of us, no matter what we’ve done. That everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That there is nothing you can do that will undermine the essential liberties of the American people. And that justice will be swift, unyielding, but above all, fair.

She proved this better than most of the so-called senators, congressmen, and other filth who have polluted the halls of Washington this week with their traitorous words.

She, and all the other Americans who support her, who believe in the justice system, and in the ancient rights and liberties of the English speaking world, are the true heroes of this week. The ones who understand that no matter how desperately we want to punish those who hate us for what we hold dear, when we sacrifice our freedoms for the sake of revenge, it is the terrorists who ultimately win. And by terrorists I mean both Tsarnaev and his brother, and the better-funded, better-armed, and ultimately more deadly terrorists in Washington DC who seek to exploit this tragedy for their own ends.

A friend of mine asked me whether I thought Miriam Conrad, as she turned out to be, was a good woman, or just a good lawyer who likes a challenge.

I hope she’s both.

And I hope good people like her continue to be so in the days ahead.

I am Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Lindsay Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and John McCain, Republican of Arizona,  last night announced the following on Facebook.

“It is clear the events we have seen over the past few days in Boston were an attempt to kill American citizens and terrorize a major American city. The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorist trying to injure, maim, and kill innocent Americans.

“Now that the suspect is in custody, the last thing we should want is for him to remain silent. It is absolutely vital the suspect be questioned for intelligence gathering purposes. We need to know about any possible future attacks which could take additional American lives. The least of our worries is a criminal trial which will likely be held years from now.

“Under the Law of War we can hold this suspect as a potential enemy combatant not entitled to Miranda warnings or the appointment of counsel. Our goal at this critical juncture should be to gather intelligence and protect our nation from further attacks.

“We remain under threat from radical Islam and we hope the Obama Administration will seriously consider the enemy combatant option.

“We will stand behind the Administration if they decide to hold this suspect as an enemy combatant.”

So now Dzokhar Tsarnaev, the teenage suspect of the Boston Bombings, will, unless cooler heads prevail, be treated as an enemy combatant, and detained indefinitely without trial. Indeed, if these two demented geriatrics are to be understood correctly in their blustering on social media, the boy will almost certainly be tortured in that event.

We can’t let this happen.

It’s hard to believe, in some ways, that it was ever going to come to this.

To a generation raised on the West Wing, this is not exactly how we imagined Washington. Indeed, House of Cards is now probably the more accurate representation of the rotting, suppurating gangrenous wreck that remains of what was once the capital of a great nation.

We didn’t think the US Senate would be capable of voting down reasonable gun control legislation that couldn’t possibly have been more ginger with the second amendment, literally as the victims of the Newtown massacre watched from the gallery. We thought they might feel some shame.

We didn’t think any president would ever consider signing a bill like the NDAA. Which allows the US Military to detain you indefinitely if they deem you to be involved with ‘terrorism.’ We thought he was better than that.

We didn’t think Congress would ever pass a bill that allowed the US Goverment to see what you’re reading right now, and what you’ve written on Facebook, without a warrant. But of course, they have, and we’re only a senate vote and a presidential moment of cowardice away from the US government being able to see what you’re reading right now. We thought that privacy was a right so sacred we didn’t need to be told we had it.

We were wrong.

Though Lindsay Graham is your typical snakeoil shilling scumbag, I will concede to being surprised by John McCain’s decision. I trusted him, once.

Neither, of course, deserves the title of Senator any longer.

But Dzokhar Tsarnaev was a US Citizen. Once a proud title to bear.

Regardless of whether he blew something up at a marathon, this remains true.

His Community are near unanimous in praising him as having been a good kid. As one of his teachers put it, ‘not one of them, one of us.’ He was an all-star wrestler, a scholarship student, and he went to Cambridge Ryndge and Latin School. And frankly? He won’t be the first kid who did something stupid to avoid alienating his douchebag older brother. Even if he did do it.

But that’s not even the point. The point is that he was a US Citizen.

If you’re reading this, and you are too, then don’t read his name in the papers, read yours. Regardless of what you believe, or what he believes. It’s not relevant. Because that 19 year old kid, star of his high school wrestling team, who’s about to be tortured until he says whatever he has to say to make it stop? That could now just as easily be you.

A final frontier has been crossed. America’s government may finally, for the first time in its history, be considering treating its own citizens the way it has treated the citizens of other countries since 2001. As the enemy.

If Dzokhar Tsarnaev did do it? If he bombed the Boston Marathon and killed those people? He should go to jail. If he sincerely meant to do it, understands what he did, and feels no remorse? Then he should never be let out.

But he should still get a trial. And Lindsay Graham, John McCain, and the rest of the traitorous, corrupt, and vicious clique that currently control America’s congress should still be turfed from their seats and decent human beings put in their place. Regardless.

And if you don’t think so? If you think I’m being shrill? If you think they’ll never come for you too?

If you think, someday, if you allow this kind of thing to continue, it won’t eventually be you on the waterboard?

Then I hope you’re right. I really do. But don’t expect sympathy if you turn out to be wrong.

I am Dzokhar Tsarnaev. So are you. American or not, Democrat or Republican. So, in the end, are you.

3D Printing and who actually owns the Means of Production.

Karl Marx

It’s really quite surprising how little attention 3D printing gets from the media, given the true scale of the extent to which it is about to change your life.

Admittedly, the technology is in its infancy, and we will no doubt look back on these early efforts, like the Makerbot line or the Cube as clumsy, awkward things, like the supercomputers that once filled whole rooms, but it is reaching some important milestones. Milestones that, once crossed, can’t be uncrossed.

To start with, the price point of the machines themselves is reaching the point where it is not unthinkable for the average consumer to already have one in their home. Makerbot’s top of the line models go for a little over 2000 dollars. And 3D scanners capable of immediately scanning an object and rendering it infinitely reproducible are getting infinitely cheaper. Some go for around 445 pounds. Alas, I can’t find the link to the particular example I have in mind, but if you can help out in the comments with links, please do.

Plus the software will eventually be, if it isn’t already, as easy to operate as Itunes.

I should concede that I’m writing from a place of ignorance about the actual technological processes by which this is done. I’m a historian. I’m totally blinkered when it comes to understanding science. (I’d also really appreciate being told where I’m wrong in the comments, as any knowledge is helpful.)

But if I’m right, and I suspect I am, you’ll soon think no more of printing things in three dimensions than you now think of printing in two. Probably within the decade.

When this technology reaches the point where the devices are simply household appliances, all manner of things will become possible.

There remain drawbacks. Most printers, as far as I know, only create models in certain substances, such as PVC plastic, or vinyl. Some substances can be cleverly imitated, like wood, but it is not yet possible to 3D print in gold, say, or stone, or rare earth metals, or any of the things you’d need to print off truly sophisticated electronics.

But a future where you can is not that far away. As I’ll explain in a follow-up post about asteroid mining.

Staying on topic though, what seems most exciting to me about the potential of 3D printing is that ultimately it democratizes the means of production.

Karl Marx probably correctly pointed to the relationship between organized capital and the means of production, or the ability to make things to sell, use, what have you. Because manufacturing has historically been expensive, huge amounts of capital are required to do it. Meaning, in effect, that the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor.

But Marx may, at last, no longer be relevant.

If we’re entering a world in which most household items can be manufactured quickly and easily at home, then industry as we’ve known it is kind of dead. It will no longer require prohibitive amounts of capital to be an economic player. Brilliance, speed, and efficiency will matter more. Entrenched wealth will become increasingly difficult to maintain.

It still feels reasonable, at the moment, for people to continue to own and control the algorithms that allow people to reproduce their creations. But effectively, if you can download an IPhone, say, what do you really care if you’re downloading the official Apple product? People have proven themselves to be unscrupulous in this regard.

How do we deal with this? I have no idea. But I’m looking forward to seeing the ramifications of this technology unfold as they happen.

It looks like the future is finally arriving.