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Industrial Revolution

A series of improvements in industrial technology that transformed the process of manufacturing goods.

Cottage Industry

Manufacturing based in homes rather than in a factory, commonly found before the Industrial Revolution.


Factories built by US companies in Mexico near the US border to take advantage of much lower labor costs in Mexico.

Bulk-Reducing Industry

An industry in which the final product weighs less or comprises a lower volume than the inputs.

Bulk-Gaining Industry

An industry in which the final product weighs more or has a greater volume than the inputs.

Break-of-Bulk Point

A location where transfer is possible from one mode of transportation to another.

Labor-Intensive Industry

An industry for which labor costs comprise a high percentage of total expenses.


A fabric made by weaving, used in making clothing.

Right-to-Work State

A U.S. state that has passed a law preventing a union and company from negotiating a contract that requires workers to join a union as a condition of employment.

New International Division of Labor

Transfer of some types of jobs, especially those requiring low-paid less skilled workers, from more developed to less developed countries.


A decision by a corporation to turn over much of the responsibility for production to independent suppliers.

Fordist Production

Form of mass production in which each worker is assigned one specific task to perform repeatedly.

Site Factors

Location factors related to the costs of factors of production inside the plant, such as land, labor, and capital.

Situation Factors

Location factors related to the transportation of materials into and from a factory.

Post-Fordist Production

Adoption by companies of flexible work rules, such as the allocation of workers to teams that perform a variety of tasks.


The spatial grouping of people or activities for mutual benefit; the concentration of productive enterprises for collective or cooperative use of infrastructure and sharing of labor resources and market access.

Primary Sector

The portion of the economy concerned with the direct extraction of materials from Earth's surface, generally through agriculture, although sometimes by mining, fishing, and forestry.

Secondary Sector

The portion of the economy concerned with manufacturing useful products through processing, transforming, and assembling raw materials.

Tertiary Sector

The portion of the economy concerned with transportation, communications, and utilities, sometimes extended to the provision of all goods and services to people in exchange for payment.

Quaternary Sector

Service sector industries concerned with the collection, processing, and manipulation of information and capital. Examples include finance, administration, insurance, and legal services.

Comparative Advantage

The ability to produce a good at a lower opportunity cost than another producer.

Four Asian Tigers

Asian countries, each of which is currently experiencing rapid economic growth as a result of its industrial base and the exporting of items to areas like the US and Europe (aka Asian Dragons). South Korea (largest), Taiwan (moving towards high tech), Singapore (Center for information and technology), Hong Kong(Break of Bulk Point).

Growth Poles

Economic activities that are deliberately organized around one or more high-growth industries.

Bid Rent Theory

Geographical economic theory that refers to how the price and demand on real estate changes as the distance towards the Central Business District (CBD) increases.

Commodity Chain

Series of links connecting the many places of production and distribution and resulting in a commodity that is then exchanged on the world market.

Economies of Scale

Idea that as a company produces larger numbers of a particular product, the cost of each of these products goes down.


A trading post where merchandise can be imported and exported without paying import duties.

Export Processing Zones

Zones established by many countries in the periphery and semi-periphery where they offer favorable tax, regulatory, and trade arrangements to attract foreign trade and investment.

Fixed Costs

Expenses that remain the same for a period of time; must be paid regardless of the quantity of a good or service produced/sold.


The basic support systems needed to keep an economy going, including power, communications, transportation, water, sanitation, and education systems.

Least Cost Theory

Model developed by Alfred Weber according to which the location of manufacturing establishments is determined by the minimization of three critical expenses: labor, transportation, and agglomeration.

Specialized Economic Zones

Specific area within a country that has tax incentives & less stringent environmental regulations are implemented to attract foreign business and investment. aka Offshore Financial Centers and Manufacturing Export Zones

High Technology Corridor

A type of technopole or center of high-tech manufacturing and information based quaternary industry.

Substitution Principle

Principle that maintains that the correct location of a production facility is where the net profit is the greatest. Therefore in industry, there is a tendency to substitute one factor of production (e.g., labor) for another (e.g., capital for automated equipment) in order to achieve optimum plant location.

Time Space Convergence

The idea that distance between some places is actually shrinking as technology enables more rapid communication and increased interaction between those places.


The deliberate killing of a place through industrial expansion and change, so that its earlier landscape and character are destroyed.

Variable Costs

Costs that vary with the quantity of output produced.

Carrier Efficiency

The positive or negative aspects of each type of transportation.

Resource Orientation

Tendency for an industry or other type of economic activity to locate close to its resources.

Market Orientation

The tendency of an economic activity to locate close to its market; a reflection of large and variable distribution costs.

International Division of Labor

The specialization, by countries, in particular products for export.

Single Market Manufacturers

Manufacturers that produce goods for one type of market or one market location, such as clothing manufacturers shipping to New York City. Tend to cluster near their markets.


The process of industrial deconcentration in response to technological advances and/or increasing costs due to congestion and competition.


Process by which companies move industrial jobs to other regions with cheaper labor, leaving the newly deindustrialized region to switch to a service economy and to work through a period of high unemployment.

Rust Belt

Regions of heavy industry in the north central and northeastern states that experienced marked economic decline beginning in the 1970's after their factories cease to be competitive.

Sun Belt

U.S. region, mostly comprised of southeastern and southwestern states, which has grown most dramatically since World War II.

Transnational Corporation

A company that conducts research, operates factories, and sells products in many countries, not just where its headquarters or shareholders are located.

Footloose Industry

Industry that locate in a wide variety of places without a significant change in its cost of transportation, land, labor, and capital.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Agreement that eliminated all tariffs and other trade barriers between Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Post Industrial

An economy in which the service sector has become more important than the industrial sector.

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