There are actually quite a few corporations in the world – as you might expect – but here are the Big Three, together responsible for most of the “industry standards” now accepted across other companies. (These three corporations actually cooperated to create the standards for Socketry.) The past trends towards globalization leave the current companies very similar in goals and actual products, but with slightly differing approaches to the same problems – leading to their stereotypical strengths and weaknesses.

Originally a Japanese robotics corporation, Yoshihiro has a reputation of precision. If it can be measured as different from specifications, it won’t leave the factory; the downside to this is a very small window for error or adjustment. If you’re buying dentistry equipment, make it Yoshihiro.

The American contribution to the Big Three, in typically American style, is less about exact engineering and more about building something acceptable and putting a bigger engine in it. Black-Phillips products tend to lack sophistication in comparison with models from their competitors, but are generally built for endurance. Anything with the phrase “all-terrain” on the label is probably best purchased from Smith-Phillips.

German engineering, never known for its “soul” but well-respected for its cleanliness, forms the heart of the still- Eurocentric Eisenjaeger philosophy. Their products may not excite you, but they’ll do what they say on the box, and they’ll be intuitive to use and comfortable to work with. If you need a toolset, get some Eisenjaegers.

All three companies – and many other, smaller, more local groups – now compete for the typical consumer’s credit. Each stands to profit from the technological advancement of the world in general.

The corporations, in this new world, are more carefully evenhanded than you might expect from a typical “post-apocalyptic” scenario. Public image is critical; word-of-mouth can make or break sales in an entire hemisphere. The new world order actually encourages cooperation across businesses, and healthy competition – or niche-filling specialization – rather than cutthroat monopolization. Also, in a world where the oceans have already risen to sink coastlines, even the industrial bigwigs are cautious about their environmental impacts.

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