The Commonwealth Essay, Research Paper
How did traditional industrial location factors influence
The pattern of industry in the UK?
Traditional industrial location factors were, in the words of Karl Marx: Land, Labour, Capital and Raw materials , and these greatly influenced industrial location in the UK up until the 70 s:
Land, referring to the site of an industry, was important when considering where the factories were located: Traditional heavy industry needed (generally) large amounts of flat land to accommodate huge furnaces and large machinery. Once a factory was established, it was very difficult for it to move, as, in heavy industry, industrial inertia is very high.
Raw materials were vital in the location of traditional industry: The coal mining industry, for example, would have to locate in a coal-rich area, and the iron/ steel industry in an area where there were vast deposits of iron ore. South Wales was a perfect example of an area with both these amenities, and therefore thrived as the premier steel-working region in Europe.
Capital was private investment that came from businessmen and entrepreneurs, but was not a major influence as to where the factory was located.
Labour, referring to a work force, was also essential in influencing an industry s location: Traditional industry was predominantly heavy industry, which requires a very large work force, so factories were ideally located close to a large labour source.
Why has this pattern changed in the last 30 years?
The pattern has changed in the last thirty years because the type of industry has changed from traditional, heavy industry to modern hi-tec, electronics industry. If Karl Marx were to name the factors of production today, he would probably say: Market, skilled labour, Government intervention and transport
Land is still important to a certain degree- the heavy industry that is left in the UK is in the form of integrated factories (e.g. Port Talbot steelworks), which need even more flat land than traditional heavy industry to locate. However, most modern industries are footloose , meaning land isn t a vital factor in their location.
Location near markets is an essential factor for modern industry to consider when locating