According to Lawrence Lessig, the 20th century is a brief period of Read-Only culture in a world that in the past has been Read-Write. He draws his examples from media, but the same ideas apply to other products. The definitions of "producer" and "consumer" change when information is cheaper to move than objects. Thus production becomes less centralized as knowledge is shared in an open and standardized way.
Modern digital tools for making things bring the flexibility of digital media to the creation of everyday physical objects. This change powerfully challenges 20th century manufacturing processes that depended on centralizing knowledge while transporting products cheaply. Today, atoms are getting more expensive to move, while bits are getting ever cheaper. Read-Write culture is returning to the processes of making things, bringing the end of Read-Only objects.