My New York State on Mind: Part Two the Mast Brothers

Note: This is a second post from Darren Hoad, Senior Lecturer, Edge Hill University, UK.  Check out his beautifulbizz blog

My Trip to New York was intended as research but there was a point where work and pleasure became indistinguishable. As a consumer of chocolate, my visit to Mast Brothers Chocolatiers in Williamsburg in New York was a long anticipated indulgence (for research purposes you understand). I had used the case of the Mast Brothers during teaching sessions in the UK, examining the nature of consumption, production, localism, arts and craftsmanship. I have to admit to being a lover of chocolate. I tend to eat most types, most brands, milk or dark, it doesn’t matter. I consume but don’t think too much about where it comes from and how it is made. I eat chocolate therefore I am. However, industrially produced and mass manufactured chocolate is changing. The chocolate doesn’t taste as nice as it once did, and the bars are getting smaller! Continue reading

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Insourcing not just a trend

Surprisingly, the economic turnaround of the US economy has been led by manufacturing. Its a complicated story that includes the resurgence of innovative companies that develop small run, highly engineered products that require more skilled artisan-like workers.  A second part of the growth of manufacturing has been around insourcing.  No longer considered a trend, large companies like GE are placing big bets on US manufacturing facilities.  Why? Again the story is complicated but one explanation is to protect intellectual property from knockoffs developed by outsourcing firms. Another is the changing role of labor. In advanced manufacturing, the walls between production and design are being broken down (in ways similar to what I described in Brew to Bikes:Portland’s Artisan Economy) For more on insourcing, check out two recent media stories, NPR’s Not Just Patriotic, US Manufacturing May be Smart  and the Atlantic Magazine’s The Insourcing Boom.