Manufacturing, in one way or another, impacts everybody every single day, nearly all day long. I know, this seems a little drastic, but I assure you it is not an exaggeration. I know some of you all reading this probably work in the manufacturing industry, so it’s pretty obvious how manufacturing directly affects you. But there are many, much more common ways you might not be aware of.
[If you’re running short on time feel free to go ahead and check out the infographic at the bottom of the page]
Do you drive to work? The average American has a daily, one-way commute time of around 25 minutes, that works out to be about 20 miles. If you lived in a time before manufacturing that would not be possible. Without manufacturing, you would more than likely work at home on a subsistence farm. What about the clothes you are wearing.. did you buy them? Buying clothes was definitely not something the average American could do prior to manufacturing either. You would be spending your nights spinning clothing out of cotton by candlelight. How about the food you eat? Some days you may be running a little behind on time and just decide to do takeout for dinner – before modern industry that would have not been an option. You would only eat what you grew, hunted, or fished out of the river. This food would probably be a little bland too since you wouldn’t have access to spices from all around the world. I know this next example may seem a little morbid, but just to really drive home my point I’m going to bring it up anyway. Are you over the age of forty? If so, in a time before industrialization you might not still be here.
I can understand how contributing all of the things I stated above to manufacturing may seem like a little bit of a stretch. However, when you really look into the facts behind it, it’s not. What has made it possible to travel over 20 miles to and from work daily? Some form of transportation (most likely a personal vehicle but could also be a form of public transportation like a bus or subway) and safe roads. Where do these modes of transportation come from? They are built in manufacturing plants. What about roads? They are built by people using machines that are made in manufacturing plants.
But what about your clothes? Am I seriously saying that you wouldn’t be wearing your favorite t-shirt if it weren’t for the manufacturing industry? Yes, I seriously am. First off, the textile industry was one of the leading forces during the industrial revolution. It has led to people being able to buy nice clothes without having to chalk up a ton of cash to somebody to hand make it.
And in reference to that morbid claim I made a little earlier, there are many contributing factors to life expectancy today… most of which can directly or indirectly be connected back to the industrial revolution and manufacturing. Possibly the most indirect way is that people are able to spend more time doing things other than farm now, before industrialization that rarely happened. Therefore, more time has been contributed to studying science and health. Also, with the decrease in farming and increase in industry, birth rates have steadily decreased. Much of the technology boom which has had an incredible impact on health can also be contributed to the world of manufacturing. One of the most recent examples of manufacturing contributing to improvements in health is 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. 3D printing was invented for manufacturing and is now the forefront of the future of medical technology.
I hope after explaining just a handful of ways manufacturing impacts life everyday it no longer sounds absurd for me to say it affects everything! Our lives would be completely different (and may I say much worse) without the changes made possible by the manufacturing industry.