Thursday, May 13, 2004

More Democratization of Luxury

Dramatic productivity improvements have been translating into significant human welfare improvements for the last several hundred years. As the trend accelerates (not just in the U.S.), some have noted the Democratization of Luxury. Cox and Alm document much of it and Virginia Postrel finds it in ever more examples of improved product design.

My colleague Berokh Khoshnevis is close to developing usable robots that can build homes. He notes that construction is the last major industry to be untouched by modern production methods. His work will soon change that.

Not only will construction costs fall dramatically (Berokh envisions building a home in a day) but the design options available to most of us will also expand significantly. Both are auspicious.

This morning's LA Times includes a wonderful essay by Cara Mullio and Jennifer Volland about the Killingsworth home in Long Beach, California. Homes like this (and many others not even imagined yet) will soon be available to most of us.