The burgeoning maker culture or maker movement has been heralded as a lot of things, not least a postcapitalist, utopian revolution capable of breathing life back into stagnating First World economies, redistributing wealth opportunities and even rescuing the environment. With some stylistic crossover with hipster culture, the two are often confused, having developed around the same time and with some ideological overlap (prizing the handmade, slow production and connection of maker to product, for example). But maker culture stands for much more than the hipster aesthetic that has been rapidly absorbed into commercial marketing (with chalkboards and baristas at McDonalds and artisan-style objects bulk-shipped from China), its roots stemming from activists, engineers, technicians and designers who have been intent on enabling anyone anywhere to make (almost) anything. This branch of digital libertarianism was originally promoted by perhaps the most significant figures in the movement: physicist and computer scientist Neil Gershenfeld at MIT and mechanical engineer Adrian Bowyer, formerly of the University of Bath, intellectuals whose ideas have been disseminated in the utopian messages of Chris Anderson and Mark Frauenfelder, respectively publishing the highly popular WIRED and Make magazines.
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