It’s a fact of modern life: our complex technological civilization surrounds us with machines, infrastructure and products whose workings we don’t understand at all. While people in the villages of past societies either made their own goods or at least knew the local craftsmen who did, our global high-tech economy has disconnected us from the realities of manufacture. Consider the many machines you rely on every day, from cars to computers to kitchen appliances. Do you know how they work, where they came from, who made them or how they reached you?
This is perhaps one reason why touring factories to see how things are made has become a popular leisure activity. These tours can give valuable insights by letting us slow down to see how products are created, who makes them, what’s in them, where they’re shipped from, and how other people work and live. The cost is low, and many tours are free (or at least give free samples). At their best, these tours can also open windows on unfamiliar types of work and lifestyles. Visitors find out how the company started and grew, learn about the history of its industry and see how the workers spend their days.