What is Industry?
In its broadest sense, industry is any work that is undertaken for economic gain and that promotes employment. The word may be applied to a wide range of activities, from farming to manufacturing and tourism. It encompasses production at any scale, from the local—sometimes known as cottage industry—to the multinational or transnational. In a more restricted sense, industry refers to the production of goods, especially when that production is accomplished with machines. It is this limited definition of industry that is embodied by the notion of industrialization: the transition to an economy based on the large-scale, machine-assisted production of goods by a concentrated, usually urban, population of workers. Manufacturing, which literally means "making by hand", has come to describe mechanical production in factories, mills, and other industrial plants. The Continuing Industrial Revolution
The experience of some of the world's oldest and largest industrial economies demonstrates the stages of industrialization. In the pre-industrial economies of the United Kingdom and the countries of Northern Europe, most activity was directed towards commerce, concentrating on trading with countries in their empires. Some people still lived at a subsistence level, concentrating on the production of food. In the future, industrialization is likely to increase most in the countries that are regarded as economically less developed (ELDCs), such as Brazil, China, and India. These countries have large internal markets and a growing middle class, amongst which the demand for consumer goods is rising. At the same time, they are seeking to emulate the Tiger economies by exporting manufactured products to the developed countries of the world, where the importance of manufacturing is declining.
These figures stand in marked contrast to those of the ELDCs. In India, for example, 65 per cent of the workforce is engaged in primary industry, 19 per cent in secondary, and 11 per cent in tertiary. Not all ELDCs display similar figures, however-much depends on their history and their links with the rest of the world. Scale of production and Technology
The early years of industrialization witnessed the replacement of small-scale craft production with large-scale factories. However, industries that depended on variable product lines, such as fashionable clothes, continued to produce goods by hand. Even today, small firms are still a very important component of the economy. The introduction of mass-production techniques and robotic assembly has resulted in the growth of component industries. These supply parts to other industries that are devoted to assembling the finished product. The motor-vehicle industry, which has been greatly refined by the Japanese, "just-in-time" production methods ensure that components arrive at car factories as they are needed, rather than accumulating in large, wasteful, and expensive stockpiles. This approach makes vehicle production more responsive to the market, and therefore more competitive.
De-industrialization describes the decline in the contribution made by manufacturing industry to a nation's overall economic prosperity. The process might better be termed re-industrialization, because the shift is not away from industry altogether, but from secondary to tertiary and quaternary industry. In other words, a de-industrializing economy moves away from the manufacture of goods and towards the provision of services. Those countries to industrialize first—the UK, France, and the United States—are now undergoing de-industrialization. The ascendancy of the service economy in the context of the post-industrial society is characterized by a number of apparently negative features, such as a decline in manufacturing employment and a dependence on imports across a wide range of sectors. Although the loss of the...