I sometimes enjoy ‘Food Factory’ on Discovery Channel because I enjoy food, and it’s not a bad format, although it’s a bit repetitive. “How Do They Do It?” is another one, even though I don’t really care, and have never, in fact, even wondered how bowling balls are manufactured.
It’s very like Food Factory, and repetitive in the very same way, but there’s something to be learned just from that fact: the manufacturing process, whatever the final product, follows a pattern.
First, the idea. They have to tell the story of who had the idea first, the history of the idea. That takes about a minute and also puts a bit of a human spin on it. Then the process begins, and it begins with raw materials. They are assembled, perhaps mixed, and then placed into the machine, where they are either refined (rollers flatten,, choppers chop, ovens heat) or combined, then packaged and sent out for distribution. Trucks with raw materials coming in, trucks with finished products rolling out.
This brings me to a couple of Buckminster Fuller’s greatest ideas. First,
W=R x E x T, or something like that, he might have had P for power instead of E for energy, or perhaps even L for labor, because labor, in this equation, is counted as energy.
Resources are more or less finite, but the availability of energy is increasing dramatically with improvements in solar and wind generation, and improved battery storage. And technology, represented by T, is through the roof.
Fuller’s other great idea is that we could all be living lives of luxury, all of Earth’s billions, if we just arranged our society a bit more sensibly.
Just like on Food Factory, we need to channel the natural resources into the highly powered, constantly moving, brand new world building machine, keep it moving, and all the houses, schools, canals, high speed rail lines, and luxury homes that we could ever want will come pouring out the other end.