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Friday

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Making By People

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by Brian Haven
@ 8:24 AM

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As I mentioned in my previous post, Making By People is the first epoch of making. I described it as: an era with no means of production, every individual must make and procure everything they need to survive.


In this first epoch, during the early human cultures and before the emergence of specialization and the division of labor, things were made by the people who used them. The building of a hut, the crafting of a plow, the creation of clothing, all represent processes undertaken by an individual who personally possessed the needs or values that demanded the creation of a product. Two Ox Plowing
[Two Ox Plowing from JimPatton on flickr]
This time period aligned with the late part of the Hunter-Gatherer Age and spanned into the Agrarian Age, similar to Toffler's First Wave.


Individuals had to devise the appropriate design, gather the necessary materials, and then engage in the process of making the things that they needed. The maker decided how well their needs and values were addressed. The context of use determined what was made—on one’s property, in the field, in the home—typically by a single person or a small group.


We still see these behaviors among nomadic tribes that exist today. Collaboration is specific, contextual, and immediate as individuals develop the thing they need with little or no outside influence. So, the next time you take that coat hanger and bend it into a hook to hang your plant or make something bizarre our of duct tape, remember you ancestors.

 

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