Haas School Marketing Professor Rashi Glazer paints a futuristic picture of the sociopolitical and business implications of nanotechnology in a recent essay published by Harvard Business Review.
Glazer's essay, "Business in the Nanocosm," was among 20 contributions to the 2007 "HBR List," an annual list of breakthrough ideas compiled by Harvard Business Review and released in February.
In his article, Glazer, the co-director of the Management of Technology
program, suggests that nanotechnology will transform the manufacturing process and challenge the long-accepted economic notions of the relationship between producers and consumers. In the potentially not-too-distant future, he foresees "personal manufacturing devices" becoming standard household appliances that allow consumers to become the producers of products of all kinds.
In what he describes as the "nanocosm," large segments of the traditional value chain would be rendered obsolete — in essence creating a new version of a "Robinson Crusoe" economy and forcing many firms to reconsider what is the source of their competitive advantage.