Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: xt (see Rondinelli 1983 as o ne example). .. ~ ~ ::I Six years after Walter Christaller's book was published in Germany, a nd w ith W orld W ar T wo beginning, August Losch's (1906-45) The Economics o fLocation appeared in 1939. This weighty volume was 'written a mid privations a nd w ar' and, according to his biographers, Losch was a 'declared o pponent' o f t he Nazi regime who, sadly, died just as t he w ar e nded (Losch 1954: vii; F unck a nd P arr 1978: 1). Losch's book was translated into English in 1954 a nd was, like t he o ther theoretical works examined in this chapter, highly influential in economic geography i n the English speaking world. I n the preface t o t he first edition, Losch 'proposes t o view all economic activities geographically' (1954: xiii). Like m any h e was interested n ot o nly in explaining contemporary patterns o f location, bur in advocating a normative view o f w hat t he world s hould l ook like. H e wished to be able to determine the 'best location' a nd thus improve w hat h e called ' our sorry reality' (1954: Losch h oped e conomic geographers would be able to 'create' rather t han s imply 'describe,' although he was skeptical o f rigid planning systems, valuing the results o f individual rational decisions made freely (1954: 508). Losch's m ethod was to construct a model from the starting p oint o f individual decision makers. ] hus, for Losch, optimal industrial location is a m atter o f individual enterprises selecting the 'right' location which, for I,osch, means the location 'where the n et profit is greatest' (1954: 27). N et p rofit results from the interplay o f a great many factors, a nd Losch critiqued Thiinen a nd W eber for their one-sided models, working instead toward a compre­ hensive analysis o f l ocation. Losch's b ook takes o n ' economic regions' a nd ' trade' in addition to location. H is c ontributions o n regions begin w ith establishing t he hexagon as an appropriate model o f a m arket area. Losch's regional urban hierarchy is specified differently from that o f Christaller. For Christaller, a higher order place would offer all the goods o f t he central places below it in t he h ierarchy plus additional higher o rder goods. Furthermore, each center o f t he same order would offer precisely the same mix o f goods a nd services. LOsch argued that the K = 3, K = 4 a nd K 7 arrangements identified by Christaller were b ut three o f a vast range o f possible market area arrangements. I n fact Losch identified 150 different structures. Furthermore, combining the different market structures, each made up o f a network o f hexagons, produces a landscape in which certain sectors o f t he landscape are characterized by many higher order centers while other sectors are characterized by relatively few. Losch identified these sectors as 'city-rich' a nd 'city-poor' sectors respectively, although it is the number o f activities o r goods produced ~hich varies between t hem r ather t han t he actual number o f central places (Figure 2.12). O n this basis Losch's model allows for the fact that places at the same 31 TRADITIONAL LOCATION THEORY 32 TRADITIONAL ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHIES level i n t he u rban hierarchy will produce quite different combinations o f goods. The specification o f city-rich a nd c ity-poor regions also allows for the development o f sub­ regions with differing densities o f p opulation. I n effect, Losch developed a variable K model t hat was more flexible t han Christaller's K = 3 a nd so o n specifications and, as some analysts point out, Losch's more complex a nd flexible model w ith its rotating 'nets' o f hexagons could be said t o fit a greater n umber o f actual cases. Losch's b ook was to prove foundational for the eco­ nomic ( and urban) geographers o f t he later 1950s a nd 1 960s i n t he English speaking world. H is c ommitments to a general theory - to figuring o ut h ow space a nd t he laws o f economic behavior interacted - and to a geometrical a nd m athematical m ethod, were deeply influential. cursory acknowledgment, we see significant value in these theorists a nd t heir ideas, in p art t o u nderstand t he development o f the body o f knowledge k nown as economic geography. M ore b roadly though, they represent early a ttempts t o u nderstand a nd e xplain t he s patiality o f capitalism. H ow does the capitalist economy, whether rural o r u rban, agricultural o r industrial, relate t o space? W hat role does space play in the workings o f capitalism a nd w hat kinds o f spatial arrangements a nd flows are associated with its development? Such basic questions have never left economic geography. They still p rompt e conomic geog­ raphers a nd lie b ehind t he t remendous d iversity o f a pproaches t hat n ow characterize a nd enliven the field. EXERCISE 2.1 C ONCLUSIONS P resent day economic geographers c ommonly fail t o see the value in the contributions made by the early G erman l ocation theorists introduced in this chapter. O ur w orld is certainly very different from that o f each o f t he thinkers we have considered. Moreov...
View Full Document

This document was uploaded on 01/24/2014.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online