Wood___Roberts_2011_Tradional_Economic_G

Innovations in the design o f furnaces used in

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Unformatted text preview: in. Innovations in the design o f furnaces used in smelting ores (especially iron ore) were key, and combined w ith the application o f coal fueled steam engines to usher in the factory age. Textile mills, with advanced looms, were o f p articular importance a nd e mployed m any in the m anufacture o f c otton c loth a nd o ther textiles from materials sourced from Britain's expanding empire. So, with labor from the countryside a nd i nputs from the Empire, Britain grew into the world's first major industrial capitalist economy, a transition that was accomplished through a thorough restructuring o f its spatial a nd social organization and that o f its imperial possessions. B ut i t is n ot to Britain t hat we look for the first systematic attempts to 'scientifically' describe and analyze the emerging spatial patterns o f industrial capitalism: it is instead to its continental rival, Germany. Here we find a relatively wealthy farmer in Mecklenburg, northern G ermany, experimenting with farming methods o n his estate a nd w ondering about the most rational spatial organization o f agriculture. The farmer - Johann Heinrich von Thiinen was considering perhaps that most basic 14 TRADITIONAL ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHIES T he two chapters t hat follow explore traditional economic geography a nd i ntroduce t he m ajor models t hat have been b uilt to explain observed spatial ordering. C hapter 2 considers t he early a ttempts t o explain the location o f e conomic activities, while C hapter 3 examines t he various ways in w hich these models - and t he a ssumptions t hat u nderpin t hem - have been developed in m ore r ecent work. W hile r ecent w ork has developed increasingly complex a nd s ophisticated ways o f u nderstanding e conomic patterns a nd t he processes t hat p roduce t hem, i t remains r ooted i n the same tradition o f r ationalism t hat g uided t he early location theorists. W hile we seek to present a broadly sympathetic view o f this work, a t t he e nd o f t he s ection we explore some o f t he major limitations o f t raditional economic geography, i n t urn, a nticipating t he s ubsequent shifts in t he i ntellectual development o f t he field. Again, however, we w ould e mphasize n ot o nly t he limits b ut also t he l ingering value in these m ore t raditional approaches. 2 TRADITIONAL LOCATION THEORY !'I We a rgued in C hapter 1 t hat changes in the ways in which we t hink a bout e conomic life a nd its geographies are intimately tied to changes in t he c ontext i n w hich t hose ideas emerge a nd develop. I n t his chapter we sketch o ut t he historical origins o f a n umber o f key ideas t hat have proved extremely influential i n d escribing a nd e xplaining the geographies o f economic life. The chapter is a bout ideas a nd t he m en w ho d eveloped t hem. T hat t hey are men is n ot i ncidental a nd t heir p osition i n s ociety h ad a n i mportant b earing o n t he c oncepts a nd theories t hat t hey helped to develop. W e s tart i n e ighteenth c entury E urope, w hen t he region experienced a series o f major changes i n e conomic life. T he s o-called I ndustrial R evolution o f t he l ate e ighteenth c entury b uilt u pon t he l ong A gricultural R evolution which, from 1700 onwards, w rought a set o f i nterrelated a nd cataclysmic changes i n t he o rganization o f food p roduction i n the countryside. These included t he e nclosure o f p reviously o pen fields, t he d ecline i n c ommonly h eld land (in effect t he p rivatization o f t he ' commons'), t he i ntroduction o f t echnologies a nd knowledges such as t hreshing machines, crop rotation systems, d rainage s ystems a nd a nimal b reeding for ' improved s tock,' a nd a massive displacement o f p oor p eople from t he c ountryside. T he I ndustrial Revolution, generally d ated f rom t he 1 780s, is t he n ame given to t he d eep transformations in p roduction t hat first <?ccurred in Britain. Innovations i n t he design o f furnaces used i n s melting ores (especially iron ore) were key, a nd c ombined w ith t he a pplication o f coal fueled steam engines to usher in the factory age. Textile mills, with advanced looms, were o f p articular i mportance a nd e mployed m any i n t he m anufacture o f c otton c loth a nd o ther textiles f rom materials sourced from Britain's expanding empire. So, w ith l abor from t he c ountryside a nd i nputs f rom the Empire, Britain grew into t he w orld's first major industrial capitalist economy, a transition t hat was accomplished t hrough a t horough r estructuring o f its spatial a nd social organization a nd t hat o f its imperial possessions. B ut i t is n ot t o B ritain t hat we l ook for t he first systematic a ttempts t o 'scientifically' describe a nd analyze t he e merging spatial patterns o f i ndustrial capitalism: it is i nstead to its c ontinental rival, Germany. H ere we find a relatively wealthy farmer in Mecklenburg, n orthern G ermany, experimenting w ith f arming m ethods o n his estate a nd w ondering a bout t he m ost r ational spatial organization o f agriculture. The...
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