Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

cottage empire

There used to be this idea called a Manor House, where every part of the house was in production. The fields produced. The house had manufacturing on site. There was animals, and wool, and workers year round.

Cottage industries were like tiny manor houses.  People worked at home to produce the goods that they sold.

Then, a few generations down, the idle landed gentry kicked back and observed the workers, managing the estate that had been in their generation, taking rent and selling goods from the grounds. Manor empires like this predicated themselves on primogeniture. They rose and fell with the quality of marriages and quality of generational managers. Many last a hundred years. Few last a thousand.

Today, and in the weeks and years to come, the example of family businesses seems to be the closest one to manor estates of old. There's restaurants that are in their fourth generation of success. Yuengling brewers passes down father to son, quietly expanding and gently growing without shareholder to make a demand and without unrealistic, explosive expectations. Fathers buy franchises and pass them down. Farmers hold land and only sell it when their sons and daughters flee to small estates.

Churches are generational sometimes. Everything is, sometimes.

I see something in the cottages, though. eBooks are built. Designs are put together for the etsy store, and plants are grown and sold locally.  Manors rose up from the cottages that were well-managed. Empires rose up from the manor estates.

Cottage industry has returned, and with it the power of full production, of products made and sold, and homemakers making more than the workers that leave for work. After that, companies will pyramid themselves upon the cottages. Factory towns return to us. Manor estates return to us.

These characters of mine in this book I'm writing are tumbling around a factory of 3D printers and biological workstations, each set up in condos owned by the corporation. They're sleeping and eating in the rooms where they work. They live in the factory, and the cottage is there, again. The manor homes will be built upon the cottages.

It's like in an RTS. Units of production compound into massive units.

Disorganized thoughts for a disorganized draft. I'm going back to work, people.

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