We explain what economic geography is and what is its object of study. In addition, its branches of study and other characteristics.
What is economic geography?
Economic geography is a branch of human geography that focuses its study on the relationship between the dynamics of production and consumption of the economy , and the geographical places where they take place.
In other words, try to cross economic activity with the geographical location to be able, among other things, to analyze where certain economic activities are located and why.
The economic geography approach starts from the idea that consumers are mobile and goods are generally produced in the same location. However, there are transport dynamics that take to certain market niches the material they need to consume it.
That is, who is interested in the geographical displacements of the production process , whether at national, regional or global level. Pay attention, in addition, to the different economic systems that exist.
It is a vast social science and transdisciplinary perspectives. Its origins date back to the fifteenth century and the time of the expansion of the great European Empires, interested in cartography and knowledge of the world, and especially the location of available natural resources.
The first formal book of economic geography was Handbook for Commercial Geography (“Manual for Commercial Geography”) by the British George Chisholm, published in 1889. Just like other branches of geography , since 1970 this discipline resurfaced and moved away from its deterministic perspectives initials, thus allowing the emergence of more current knowledge.
Object of study of economic geography
The topics of study of economic geography can be extremely diverse, as is the complexity of the economic circuit in the world. However, we can summarize them in:
- The mode of interrelation between the environment and economic activity.
- The expansion and distribution of the industry in the various regions of the globe.
- The specific trends of national trade and international trade .
- The economies of human populations , organized according to ethnicity, religion , etc.
- The patterns of transport , telecommunications and exchange of goods and services.
Characteristics of economic geography
Economic geography pursues a multidisciplinary perspective , which aspires to face complex phenomena of economics and societies, always from a spatial perspective. Its main concern is the distribution of economic activities on the earth’s surface, and the way in which it influences other human areas.
Therefore, the location, flow (transport) and demographic organization are very recurring elements in their analysis , as well as mathematical and statistical models that make visible the historical, political and cultural trends of geoeconomics.
Branches of economic geography
Economic geography is subdivided into the following branches:
- Historical economic geography . As the name implies, it raises its knowledge based on a synchronous look, that is, gradually over time , to detail how they evolve or where geoeconomic configurations originate.
- Theoretical economic geography . Through descriptions and explanations, this sub-frame attempts to find mental models that allow a better understanding of the economic dynamics in the geographical space , always tending towards abstraction and the general.
- Critical economic geography . Part of the application of economic, philosophical and sociological theories in the study of geoeconomics, to obtain conclusions that allow predictions, interpretations or construct points of view.
- Economic behavioral geography . It enters into economic activities based on the behavior of societies, that is, on the decision-making process of people and their spatial reasoning for economic dynamics. It has nothing to do with psychological behaviorism , despite its name.
Importance of economic geography
In a globalized and diverse world like the contemporary one, economic geography is one of the main scientific tools to face the complicated flow of raw materials , industrial assets, capitals and all international economic actors on the planet.
In addition, it offers the ideal perspective to understand the modes of economic and commercial exploitation that States undertake , always influenced by their geographical location and by their positioning within the economic , political, financial and socio-cultural blocks in which the world is divided and organize
Auxiliary sciences of economic geography
Economic geography is not a closed discipline in itself, but often collaborates with and draws on other social sciences and other branches of geography itself, which are mainly:
- The economy , to identify and study the processes of production and satisfaction of human needs;
- History , when it comes to understanding the economic evolution of the world and the way in which socio-economic and socio-cultural trends are structured over time;
- Demography , to employ population analysis and the constitution of both individual and collective consumption;
- Politics , useful when addressing the dynamics of power of humanity, the main causes of any social and geographical configuration;
- Earth sciences , to understand where, how and why resources are found (the raw material, for example) in the various regions of the planet.