Wood___Roberts_2011_Tradional_Economic_G

The weber family his brother max was the famous a

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Unformatted text preview: anufacturing, leaving behind their traditional focus on agriculture. W eber w rote o f the 'enormous displacements' o f his rime, in which 'certain a nd capital, rapidly grow poor i n h uman while others become saturated' (1929: 2). The highly uneven spatial development o f capitalist combined with the rapid growth o f urban centers intrigued Weber, b ut he disapproved o f explanations that rested o n 'cultural and social motives when perchance we are simply fettered the iron chains o f hard economic forces' (1929: 3). Weber was committed t o t he search for rules that governed t he' economic forces' he thought were responsible for the highly uneven spadal organization that he observed emerging d uring t he l atter part o f t he nineteenth century. His task was to explain the location patterns o f i ndustry in o rder ' to disclose the causal relationship between them a nd those large displacing processes which we observe' (1929: 3). W eber focused his inquiry o n t he locational patterns o f manufacturing i ndustry.lhe Industrial Revolution that started i n E ngland had spread t o t he continent and the in the organization and distribution o f economic activiry were widespread a nd dramatic, Weber's foclls o n m anufacturing o r p roduction, rather than distribution, consumption o r finance, was in part a reflection o f his context. But his selection was also a methodological choice: isolating and abstracting an aspect o f the economy in order t o analyze it; and it was strategic in that Weber t hought t hat i t was possible to build a general theory o f location from the locational principles t hat explained the distribution o f p roduction (1929: 5), M anufacturing industries h ad tended t o develop i n areas that were either in, o r close to, the sources o f raw materials, especially coal fields. H ence t he development o f the Krupp iron and steel works in Essen, o ne o f several centers in the R uhr area o f G ermany where coal mines f uded t he development o f heavy industry in the late nineteenth a nd early twentieth centuries (Figure Coal was crucial t o the generation o f steam power b ut a bulky inpUt to the production process. The markets for many industrial goods, norably textiles, were often auite distant from the coalfield industrial 2 .4 Krupp truck works, Essen, Germany, circa 1920 Source: Whitbeck 1934: 398. areas. W ith the advent o f an extensive a nd reliable rail service, industrial products could reach their markets far more efficiently than o n the carts ofThiinen's time o r t he canal barges that he anticipated (see 2.2). By 1909, the year in which he published his most famous work, Theory o fthe Location o fIndustries, G ermany, like other European countries (including Russia) a nd their colonies, were being k nit together by extensive railway networks. Coal and other inpUts could also be carried by rail to the factories, providing them with some flexibiliry to locate closer t o t he markets served. Given the inputs to industry, a nd the loeational flexibiliry granted development o f a rail infrastructure, Alfred Weber was interested i n a factory. T o t hat e nd, he developed a theory o f industrial location that very much reflected his context. Like Thiinen, Weber constructed a model that built o n certain fundamental assumptions. H e assumed an even (similar to ' lbiinen' s isorropic plain) with transport costs related only to distance, bur in contrast t o ' Ihiinen he posited several population centers. Unlike the 'raw material' for agriculture (crudely, land) which Thiinen assumed to exist everywhere a nd be the same everywhere terms o f fertiliry for example), Weber differentiated between ubiquitous raw materials such as air o r water and localized raw materials that were available only at certain locations. Weber assumed, however, that for any one localized raw material, its cost would be the same at any o f its sources. Like 'lbiinen, Weber sought statistical data with which to work. 'Ihiinen h ad the accounts a nd records o f his own estate; Weber had bur a fragmentary set o f data for Germany 21 20 TRADITIONAL LOCATION THEORY TRADITIONAL ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHIES -::: s (0 ex: o D istance J '1! f:! CO~~ \ ~ 0. ..... " ~....q" ~<i:> ..... q" ' " 111 ~e '" " " ~ 0. 2.3 Urban land use Source: based on Garner 1967: 340. A LFRED WEBER Alfred Weber's 90-year life more or less s panned the last h alf o f t he nineteenth and first half o f t he twentieth century ( 1868-1958). W eber was a professor at the Universiry o f Heidelberg, Germany, although he was fired in 1933 for opposing aspects o f Nazi ideology. H e was reinstated in 1945 with the e nd o f hostilities in I n the years between the writings o f'Ihiinen a nd Weber, Germany and much o f Europe had changed dramatically. The Weber family his brother Max was the famous a time when whole districts were transformed into centers o f manufacturing, leaving behind their traditional focus on agriculture. W eber w rote o f the 'enormous displacements' o f his rime, in which 'certain a nd capital, rapid...
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