This paper examines a new paradigm in the world of manufacturing—distributed manufacturing based on desktop manufacturing (DM)2 . The evolution of (DM)2 began in the last decade of the 20th century and its technological development is well underway, as is evidenced by a World Technology Evaluation Center study (www.wtec.org). However, as managers begin to assess the competitive advantages of moving to this manufacturing model it will be important to consider the social and environmental implications of this paradigm shift as well as issues related to materials and energy utilization. The factors that now appear to be driving the need for radical departures from the more traditional manufacturing paradigms have been broadly articulated but the longer-term future of this manufacturing model is less clear. Several scenarios are proposed and discussed that suggest how manufacturing will shift to a more distributed model via the concept of desktop manufacturing (DM), which will coexist with the centralized manufacturing model but likely take on a greater and greater share of the total manufacturing market worldwide. Spurred on by the rapid emergence of miniaturization technologies, the development and refinement of these desktop manufacturing scenarios needs to be examined in the context of a number of important socioeconomic, environmental, and materials and energy utilization issues as (DM)2 continues to evolve as a transforming paradigm for the world of manufacturing. Scientific, technical, and economic barriers and challenges are identified and discussed.