Clearly, a good economy is, among other things, diverse.
Monday, August 3, 2015
Light and Heavy
I've been thinking about two things that commonly have the adjectives "Light" and "heavy" attached to them. Specifically, rail, and industry. While light and heavy rail have disputes on the border between these two, both are transportation systems involving a track, and a train that rides upon them. The light rail systems typically involve fewer cars, are more passenger oriented, and stop more frequently. The heavy systems are more cargo-oriented, have many more cars, and stop less frequently. Industry, meanwhile, comes from the Latin word industria, meaning "productivity." Light industry tends to be companies that require less capital to start up, produce more consumer goods than industrial ones, and use the results of heavy industry as its primary feedstock. Heavy industry tends to be more expensive to set up, starts with raw ores, and produces primarily industrial goods. As examples, steel is heavy industry, whereas soap dispensers made of steel are light industry. A national economy requires all four of these things. A lack of heavy rail means that all goods transportation are made with relatively inefficient means, be it muscle-based transportation (by humans in the poorest of economies, by animals in slightly richer ones), or by massive trucks that cause massive smog. A lack of light rail hinders the movement of human beings. Even the car-based transportation in my part of the world is inefficient, as the downtown region inevitably clogs on a daily basis, resulting in transport taking an extra hour, or in particular aggravating times, two. A lack of heavy industry means that all goods are based on things you can farm or import. A lack of light industry took down the communist economies, as at first, the nearly starving peasants were happy to be working at all, but eventually, the inability to buy things other than food and shelter started to grate on people. The economy resorted to military keynesian policies, meaning that lots of people were making tanks, who then had basically nothing they could buy with those wages.