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Industrial Sites: Land, Labor & Capital

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has an M.A in instructional education.

A range of factors must be considered for an industrial landscape to function adequately, including land use, labor, and the amount of capital it will make or use. Learn more about industrial parks and the factors that go into their construction and operation. Updated: 10/28/2021

Industrial Parks

In today's lesson, we're going to take some time to figure out what factors go into deciding where to set up industry. For instance, my neighborhood has a rather large industrial park, an area of land developed as a site for factories and other industrial businesses. It includes companies that turn out everything from railroad ties, to airplane parts, to decals, to cosmetics.

There've been many times when I've driven by it and wondered why all these industries decided to set up shop in what is usually considered rather rural Pennsylvania. To answer my question, a social scientist would most likely point to land, labor, and capital.

For starters, we need to nail down that maximization of profits is the most important factor when it comes to where to place an industry. Yes, many companies are interested in the welfare of the community or helping to strengthen the national economy, but when push comes to shove, they want to see their dollar stacks rising.

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  • 0:08 Industrial Parks
  • 1:08 Land
  • 2:30 Labor
  • 3:05 Capital
  • 3:55 Lesson Summary
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Land

One of the main ways to do this is to choose the correct land on which to build your industrial site. When discussing land, most industries want to be situated near the raw materials needed to produce their products. This is simply called proximity to inputs. For example, the forests of the Northeastern US supply some pretty good wood for lumber. This is probably one of the reasons the railroad tie facility located in our industrial park chose Pennsylvania over places like the plains of the Midwest.

Also, most industries want land that offers ease of transportation. The closer you are to transportation services, the cheaper shipping will be. Stated simply, what good is it to be close to raw materials if you can't get your finished products shipped off to customers without paying an arm or a leg?

Another simple fact is that industries look for land that is cheap. That's probably another reason the industries of my area chose to locate here. Land in rural Pennsylvania is a much cheaper than land surrounding New York City.

Of course, manufacturing industries don't usually venture too far into the countryside. After all, they need access to public utility services and some conveniences. In other words, infrastructure, or buildings, roads, and power supplies, are very important in site consideration.

Labor

Leaving our discussion on land, let's move onto labor. For our purposes, labor will denote a body of wage earners.

When deciding on a site, industry will take into account the supply of skilled, yet cheap labor within the area. This idea of finding cheap yet skilled labor has been the cause of much capital flight, a large-scale departure of financial assets and capital from a nation due to political or economic reasons. In other words, when an industry leaves a nation because it can find cheaper skilled labor in another nation, this is referred to as capital flight.

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