To economic activity oriented to the production of goods through the mediation of human action and machinery is called industry.
The definition is almost entirely in opposition to the other economic activities in which there is no physical transformation of the good that is the complete responsibility of the human being, but has more to do with the use of opportunities offered by nature: Agricultural, livestock and mining activities are the most common examples of these kinds of activities.
In any case, it is frequent that the products obtained from nature must be transformed for consumption, so that industrial activity is combined all the time with agricultural or mining, and to a lesser extent with livestock.
Products made within the framework of industrial activity do not always have the same destination: the most frequent division is that established between the goods whose production is intended for the individual consumption for the satisfaction of a need, of those that are used in order to optimize some other economic activity, functioning as work tools.
This is the division between consumer goods and capital goods, which in general is associated with the type of industry that deals with the respective types of goods: the industry typically associated with consumer goods is light or light industry. For instance: food, clothing, medicine. While the one that is related to capital goods is heavy industry.
The light industry has the particularity of using much smaller amounts of partially processed materials, producing smaller objects and therefore with a relatively high added value per unit of weight.
The energy demands of light industrial factories are much lower than those of heavy industry, as well as the size of the buildings in which they are produced. As the fundamental intention is to produce goods whose destination is the consumption of the public, in light industry the product functionality It is as important as its presentation, and its physical characteristics that make it tempting for the potential client.
Light industry involves economic phenomena with characteristics that are its own, very different from the cases of heavy industry. For example, regional economies, typical in some areas of developing countries more associated with agricultural economic activities, have a very small scope in which the development of industries of this type is only possible.
Light industry is much more compatible with Residential areas in which people live, and it is frequent that the level of employment they generate is much higher per unit of product than those of the light industry: this is why usually the countries with the highest level of light industry are the same in which the average salary of workers is very low.
Programs to promote light industry are typical in underdeveloped countries, with an apparent advantage that comes from the external savings that comes from the possibility of substituting eventual imports: however, these programs frequently collide with limitations in terms of matter of supplying foreign exchange to be able to sustain the importation of capital goods, necessary for these productive processes.
Examples of light or light industry
The following list includes a variety of products that are considered part of the light industry:
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