Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Heavy industry does not have a single fixed meaning compared to light industry. In general, heavy industry is viewed as more capital intensive, as requiring a larger fixed facility, and as having a larger environmental impact than light industry.
Heavy Industry in Academia and Research
In the academic study of economics, heavy industries are often differentiated from light industries as heavy industries are capital intensive, and light industries are labor intensive. Light industries are easier to relocate than heavy industry, and can be built with less investment.
This definition is not exclusive, however, as some sources refer to heavy industries as referring to the weight or volume of the products handled. The British Geographic Society, for example, listed several potential ways of measuring heavy versus light industry. One measure is the weight per cost of their products. For instance, one dollar buys more mass of steel or fuel than of drugs or textiles. Another is the weight of material handled per employee or the cost of materials as a proportion of gross value output.
Heavy Industry in Law and Government
Heavy industry is often defined by governments and planners in terms of its impacts on the environment. These definitions concentrate on the seriousness of any capital investment required to begin production or of the ecological effect of its associated resource gathering practices and by-products. In these senses, the semiconductor industry is regarded as "heavier" than the consumer electronics industry even though microchips are much more expensive by weight than the products they control.
Heavy Industry in Firm Names
In Asia, many conglomorates call divisions or companies responsible for capital-intensive manufacturing (shipbuilding, mining, industrial machinery) their "heavy industry" group. See for example, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry of Fuji Heavy Industry/
- Morris Teubal, Heavy and Light Industry in Economic Development The American Economic Review, Vol. 63, No. 4. (Sep., 1973), pp. 588-596.
- Some Definitions in the Vocabulary of Geography, IV, British Association Glossary Committee, The Geographical Journal, Vol. 118, No. 3. (Sep., 1952), pp. 345-346.
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