DEVELOPMENT

Industrial Growth and Decline

Industrial Growth and Decline

Some parts of the world are seeing a rise in industrial growth while others are suffering a decline.

Industrial Decline

The United Kingdom used to have a strong manufacturing tradition, producing a huge number of ships, cars, trains and household products. However in recent years most factories have closed down as companies relocate overseas, and now the UK generates much of its revenue from financial services.

Some UK companies claim they have been forced to relocate to countries like China because working regulations have become more stringent here. For example, the EU recently stipulated that no one should work more than 48 hours per week, in effect banning overtime. Health and safety regulations are also much stricter in the EU than in South East Asia, for example. Companies claim that trying to ensure they fulfil these regulations is putting them out of business.

Industrial Growth Economic Boom

Here in the UK, most people also have a right to strike – that is, to withdraw their labour. Some companies claim this makes it very difficult for them to operate, so they choose to move to zones where workers are either unable or unwilling to strike in case they lose their jobs.

In order to encourage companies to invest, some countries set up tax-free zones, where goods may be imported, exported or manufactured without having to pay duty. In Europe there are a number of such zones, including Shannon in Ireland and Brussels in Belgium.

However, despite these initiatives, Europe is losing huge amounts of jobs to China, which is transforming at an extraordinary rate. All over China new factories and cities are popping up, and China’s exports are shipped all over the world. China has gone from being a relatively poor developing nation to one of the richest countries in the world in a matter of decades – though there are great extremes in the country, mainly between conditions in the city and those in the countryside.