Distribution Patterns of Economic Activities

Distribution Patterns of Economic Activities
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  • 0:01 What Are Economic Activities?
  • 1:35 Distribution Based on Location
  • 2:32 Distribution &…
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

After watching this video, you should be able to describe what determines the distribution of economic activities, both historically and currently. A short quiz will follow.

What are Economic Activities?

Economic activities are actions that involve the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services at all levels within a society. Generally, the more economic activity is happening in a place, the more economically developed that place is likely to be. And economic development is directly related to how people live: the quality of their health care, education, freedom and determination, living standards, and so-forth. So, economic activity is extremely important.

Economic activities can be distributed in lots of ways. Countries have different flows of economic activities and different primary industries. Economic activities are distributed in certain patterns within countries and within cities. And economic activities are distributed that way for a reason.

Are you close to your suppliers? Are you close to your customers? How close are you to your competitors? Sometimes you want to be close by so that people can compare prices in a high demand area, and sometimes it's better to move into an area where there are few competitors and you can dominate a market. What transport links are available nearby? What communication links are available? Even if it's a matter of just how fast the internet is, not if it exists. And how expensive is a particular location?

All of these questions combined together are what determines the distribution of economic activity. In the modern world, economic activity is distributed worldwide, and the patterns can be extremely complex, indeed. Today, we're going to talk about how and why economic activity is distributed the way it is.

Distribution Based on Location

Businesses and other economic activities are distributed in ways that make the most sense for the business. At one point or another, all businesses had to choose a location to work in. And there are always many factors that went into that choice.

Sometimes location is determined by where raw materials or resources are available. This was especially true hundreds of years ago when there were less transport and communication options. Agriculture would be positioned where there was a lot of water for irrigation and fertile soil for growing. Fishing activities would be positioned where there were... fish. And mining activities to this day have to be positioned where there are the most lucrative things to mine.

Manufacturing is perhaps the most variable. But when manufacturing first began in high volumes during the Industrial Revolution, location was important for manufacturing, too. You needed to be close to your suppliers of raw materials, whether mines, steel works, or forests, and you would also want to be close to your buyers, whether retailers or actual consumers.

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