Peter Marsh



 Peter Marsh is a journalist, and lecturer and commentator on 21st century manufacturing. His best known book is “The New Industrial Revolution: Consumers, Globalization and the End of Mass Production”, published in 2012 by Yale University Press. Peter has a programme of speaking engagements in 2016 on how countries can revitalise their economies using new ideas, following his other presentations on this subject in the US, UK, South Korea, China, Italy, Germany and Lithuania. In 2015, Peter started MadeHereNow, a website about UK manufacturing. From 1983 to 2013 he worked at the Financial Times where his most recent job was manufacturing editor. Peter has a degree in chemistry from the University of Nottingham. His other books have covered microchips (“The Silicon Chip Book“, Abacus), robotics (“The Robot Age”, Abacus) and the space industry (“The Space Business”, Penguin). Before the FT, Peter was employed as a journalist at the Luton Evening Post, Building Design magazine, and New Scientist. Photo:Frederik Jimenez

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Made Here Now will showcase British manufacturing

By Peter Marsh

A new website to tell the world about modern UK  manufacturing has been launched in the setting of a stunning 3D-printed model of London.

The project has received support from 47 organisations from business, government and public life. Behind it is the aim to use the best writing, photography and design to paint a more upbeat picture of UK industry than is often seen in most mainstream media.

A key aim of is to use a fresh approach in an effort to tempt more young people into the sector. According to many involved with manufacturing industry, children and teenagers are often dissuaded from considering manufacturing as a career choice due to its poor image.

The launch took place at New London Architecture in London, against the backdrop of a superb 1:2000 model of London, made using modern techniques including [...]

The new industrial revolution – all is explained

By Peter Marsh

On a visit to Seoul to take part in discussions on 21st century manufacturing, I was faced with a number of questions about the ideas in my book “The New industrial Revolution: Consumers, Globalisation and the End of Mass Production”. I gave three lectures, two of them at events organised by the Korean Development Institute and the Korea Information Society Development Institute, and the third to a group of students taught by Prof Keun Lee, a prominent Korean economist at Seoul National University. Prof Lee is an authority on industrial policy and “economic catch-up” – how developing nations can close the gap in living standards and incomes with the richer parts of the world. He brought his students to a meeting that I addressed at the Seoul Science and Technology Policy Institute. In these three events, by [...]

New manufacturing policies for the developing world

By Peter Marsh

In uncertain economic times, many countries are looking to manufacturing to provide useful growth and employment. Barack Obama and David Cameron in the US and UK are both long-time converts to the “pro-manufacturing” argument. Narendra Modi, India’s new-ish prime minister, has espoused a “Make in India” programme to give his country a lift. In Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan has instituted the “Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan” to do much the same.

A key to all this interest is that the “manufacturing” most nations are interested in is different to the sort of production operations that dominated in the past. Old-style manufacturing in the shape of big, inflexible, polluting factories is not what these countries have in mind. More important are small, nimble companies applying new technologies and business methods. These can be applied to suit the requirements of customers both [...]

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    How the new industrial revolution could help a Detroit – and wider US – upturn

How the new industrial revolution could help a Detroit – and wider US – upturn

Detroit and the state of Michigan have been in the headlines a lot over the past few years  – mainly as a result of a welter of grim economic news including the city’s  slide into bankruptcy.  But more recently have come some signs of a significant  improvement in the fortunes of the region, driven partly by indications of greater optimism and investments by local manufacturers including the big car companies. Among the Michigan manufacturers that have been hiring more workers and expanding production is Fullerton Tool, whose chief executive Patrick Curry is pictured here.

Cheered by receiving positive news about their fortunes from Mr Curry and other local business people, I made a speech at an event in Detroit on September 17 examining the health of Michigan-based manufacturing.  The event was organized by the Detroit Manufacturing Renaissance Council, an offshoot [...]

Why Americans love manufacturing: and how to improve it

Manufacturing Renaissance Councils: Models for Success?

By Thomas Hemphill

Americans generally agree that they want their nation to remain the global leader in manufacturing. According to Leadership Wanted: U.S. Public Opinions on Manufacturing, a 2012 national survey, 90% of respondents rated manufacturing as “important” or “very important” for their economic prosperity and America’s standard of living. This survey reinforces the importance of the manufacturing sector to the good health of the American economy.

While continuing to expand its productivity over the last two years, the U.S. manufacturing sector has only modestly expanded its employment base. Since December 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported an increase of 231,000 manufacturing jobs, for a total of 12,028,000 employed in the sector. Yet the need to develop a long-term, stable supply of next-generation employees for advanced manufacturing industries is a challenge that needs to [...]

Fashion: A better business model

Inditex has become the world’s largest fashion retailer. But how long can its dizzying expansion last?

By Tobias Buck, Financial Times, June 18, 2014

 A few weeks from now, young women all over the world will decide that what they really want to wear this summer is a long, flowing trenchcoat with a buckle belt and soft shoulders. They don’t know it yet. But Manuel Ruyman Santos knows, and Inditex knows, and €17bn in sales says they will be right once again.
 For the moment, the trenchcoat is a prototype, hanging on a clothes rack at Inditex´s sprawling headquarters in Arteixo, northern Spain. But Mr Ruyman Santos, one of the designers of the new garment, is confident it will be a success. Soft trenchcoats have sold well in recent months, so he knows the new creation will tap into a broader [...]

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    The world struggles to keep up with the pace of change in science and technology

The world struggles to keep up with the pace of change in science and technology

By Peter Marsh, Financial Times, June 17, 2014
Among the many champions of their own specific area of science and technology, at least Jennifer Holmgren, chief executive of Lanzatech, has something to shout about.

The Illinois-based company is developing a chemical treatment capable of turning the carbon-rich waste gases of many industries into valuable chemicals and fuels.

Ms Holmgren estimates that if all the waste gases of the global steel business alone were treated using her company’s process, the world would instantly find a way to create a fifth of the annual fuel requirement of the global aircraft fleet.

The Lanzatech technology “challenges our perceptions of waste and will have a game-changing impact on the way we think about commodity sourcing and supply”, Ms Holmgren says.

The ideas under development at Lanzatech are just one instance of the range of technology-based concepts that [...]

Seven reasons we should celebrate manufacturing

By James Woudhuysen, Spiked Online, June 14 2014

Despite the slew of advertising for fashion, cars and appliances, hostility to ‘stuff’ – manufactured products – has grown enormously in recent years.

Books have been published in America, Australia and Britain on the subject of what they call ‘affluenza’, the nasty and even infectious side-effects of owning too much stuff. Since 2011, two American corporate high-flyers, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, have together penned seven books on so-called minimalist consumer habits – quite a feat of trees-to-paper consumption in itself. The London-based futurologist James Wallman has popularised the idea of ‘stuffocation’  – the feeling you get ‘when you look in your wardrobe and it’s bursting with clothes but you can’t find a thing to wear’. And every Christmas, the Guardian denounces consumers for a ‘peculiar form of mental illness’: buying toys, [...]

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    Manufacturing takes the stage at Ways with Words festival in Devon

Manufacturing takes the stage at Ways with Words festival in Devon

By Peter Marsh, May 25 2014

The UK features many great literary festivals – and of these the long-running Ways with Words event held in the splendid location of Dartington Hall (pictured left), in the countryside in south Devon, is one of the best. It’s not often that the world of industry receives an airing at these occasions. But this year, there is a difference. I will be speaking on The New Industrial Revolution and its implications for the UK at the Ways with Words festival on July 10 at 6.30pm. Tickets are £10, available from the festival website.

There are many other highly interesting speakers at this year’s event, which starts on July 4 and lasts for 10 days. If you want to listen to Michael Meacher MP, he is speaking immediately before me, and afterwards it’s Sir Harrison [...]

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    Europe’s niche manufacturers make a mark in difficult economy

Europe’s niche manufacturers make a mark in difficult economy

By Peter Marsh, Financial Times, May 19, 2014
The future is far from rosy for many manufacturers in Europe but Roberto Gavazzi, chief executive of Boffi, a top Italian maker of upmarket kitchen and bathroom units, is upbeat “I am very confident that the current difficult markets are getting better for the best brands,” he declares.

Underlying this sentiment is Gavazzi’s belief that Boffi – like many other European manufacturers of a similar mould – has built up strengths not just in product creation but in using service and design skills to offer customers something special that would be hard to obtain from rival businesses.

“Consumers are even more selective – they want to choose only those products that have a real added value,” he says. “So [they choose] not only design and function, as is normal for our collections, kitchens [...]


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The New Industrial Revolution: Consumers, Globalization and the End of Mass Production

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