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Industry is the leading role of material production; all enterprises that are engaged in the extraction of minerals, the production and processing of materials and energy, the production of machines.

Industries are divided into different groups depending on their characteristics. There are groups on the purpose of products, on the use of raw materials, production technology. The key industries in this classification are the extractive and manufacturing industries.

Also, industries differ in a different way:

Heavy industry. It includes mining, part of the engineering industry, the chemical industry, as well as energy, metallurgical and building materials. Light industry. It includes all types of light and food industries.

Each branch and industry is characterized by a different degree of capital intensity, labor intensity, material intensity, energy intensity, water intensity and science intensity. They can even be completely different within the same industry for different industries.

For the chemical industry, the most material-intensive are the extraction of chemical raw materials, the production of mineral fertilizers, and various types of acids and alkalis. The opposite is non-material-intensive, which are typical for the perfumery and cosmetics, pharmaceutical, photochemical industries, as well as for the production of reagents.

The role of industry in history

With the development of capitalist society, the role of industry constantly increased, which was especially evident during the industrial revolution at the end of the 18th-19th centuries, at the time of the greatest activity and development of the mining industry, the construction of new plants and factories, as well as the rapid increase in capacity, an unprecedented increase in energy consumption of any species, and as a result - the maturation of environmental problems. The Industrial Revolution was marked by the invention of the steam engine, the mass production of textiles, the construction of railways, the invention of the telegraph, and more.

The rapid growth of industry in the late XIX and the first half of the XX century. allowed it to take a key place among the branches of material production in terms of the value of products.

By 1950, by 1950, industry surpassed agriculture by a factor of two in value, and by the end of the century, by 7-8 times.

It is worth noting that agriculture remains the leading industry only in those countries that have not been able to go through the process of industrialization. In developed countries, agriculture and the extractive industry remained leading only until the industrial revolutions took place in them. This happened in almost all developed countries before the beginning of the 20th century.

By the beginning of the XXI century. the largest share of industry - at the level of 50-60% of GDP is typical for developing countries that have mineral reserves of world importance. It is on their basis that these countries are developing an export-oriented extractive industry. This is also true for some countries with economies in transition.

The share of industry in the economy gradually decreased, this was provoked by the search for alternative types of energy, the intensification of production, a decrease in its energy intensity, and most importantly, the active development of the service sector. The share of industry was reduced to 20-40%. This trend has become characteristic of the beginning of the XXI century.

The share of industry in GDP for developed countries decreased to 15-20 in 2020 vs 23% in 2000. According to data provided by the US CIA, the share of industry in the world economy in 2009 was 30.6% of the world gross product, the service sector - 63.4%, while agriculture accounted for only 6%.

Extractive industry and its branches

The mining industry includes industries based on the process of extracting raw materials and fuel from the earth's interior, forests and water bodies.

The mining industry includes:

  • Getting electricity. All sectors involved in the mining industry. Lumbering and forestry. Hunting, fishing, harvesting of marine life.

  • Often, logging and forestry are considered together with woodworking, separating the forestry and woodworking industries.

  • The main enterprises of the extractive industry in the electric power industry include power plants, in mining - quarries, mines, cuts, shafts, mines, in logging - timber enterprises, in hunting and fishing trades - farms and artels.

Industry is the most material-intensive branch of the world industry, which annually produces several tens of billions of tons of various types of minerals and a large amount of ferrous and non-ferrous ores, building materials, etc. However, it is worth noting the fact that the number of mined minerals at the beginning of the XXI century. has doubled compared to 1970. At the same time, the cost of extractive industry products is only 10% of the world industry, since the price of extracted raw materials is in most cases quite low.

Quarrying and mining accounts for at least 1% of the gross world product. Mineral consumption is concentrated in just a few regions of the world. Here, countries such as the USA, Canada, the EU, Japan, Australia, in which at least 15% of the total population of the earth live, together they consume most of the metals that are produced in the world.

61% aluminum, 60% lead, 59% copper, 49% steel account for 15% of the world's inhabitants.

It is noteworthy that per capita consumption is also concentrated around residents of developed countries: 22 kg per inhabitant of the United States. aluminum per year, in India - 2 kg., and in Africa - 0.7 kg.

As part of the extractive industry, about 75% of the total production falls on the mining industry. This industry is characterized by high capital intensity and energy intensity. Its share is 1/5 of all production fixed assets, in other words, as much as mechanical engineering, and twice as much as the share of the chemical and petrochemical industries.

For the extraction and enrichment of minerals, about 7-10% of the world's oil, gas, coal production and electricity production are needed annually. Due to these circumstances, the mining industry has a negative impact on the ecological situation in the environment. At the beginning of the XXI century. more than 900 million tons of metals were mined all over the world, after which 6 billion tons of waste rock remained. It is important to understand that the amount of waste is constantly increasing as the percentage of metals in some ores decreases.

There are 3 tons of waste per one gold ring.

Qualitatively improve the situation in the mining industry can be the production of metals from secondary raw materials, due to the lower energy intensity than from mines. At the same time, it is quite remarkable that for some metals the level of processing not only does not grow, but also continues to decline rapidly.

Manufacturing industry.The group of manufacturing industries includes industries that are engaged in the processing of raw materials. The manufacturing industry is divided into branches, but this depends on the feedstock and its industrial origin. In addition, there are industries that process agricultural raw materials.

The share of copper in world production, which was obtained through secondary processing, is 13% at the beginning of the 21st century. and in 1980 already 20%.

4% of the world's zinc is produced from recycled raw materials.

According to the intended purpose of products, the manufacturing industry is divided into the following industries:

  • Engineering. 

  • Chemical industry. 

  • Light industry.

  • Agro-industrial complex.

The table below shows the manufacturing industry

Heavy industry consists of manufacturing industries. Their share is 90% of the total industrial output in the world economy. Specialized industries that are similar to each other in terms of the purpose of their products, the commonality of the raw materials used or the technology, their extraction, use, etc., are grouped into complex industries. Heavy industry includes: fuel, electric power, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, metalworking, building materials. Light industry: textile, clothing, leather, fur and footwear. Processing industry: all sectors of the agro-industrial complex, including meat, food, dairy, fish, forestry.

The manufacturing industry provides almost the full range of products both in terms of cost and types.

Mechanical engineering is one of the key industries. It accounts for about 40% of the value of world industrial output. The chemical and food industries are significantly inferior to mechanical engineering. They account for approximately 15%. Light industry and a group of wood processing industries occupy only 9-10%, metallurgy and the electric power industry close the list with 5-7%. Based on the foregoing, it can be concluded that most of the manufacturing industries exceed the entire mining industry in terms of the cost of production.


The most important branch of consumption of ferrous and non-ferrous metals is mechanical engineering. In turn, it includes: general engineering, which specializes in the production of industrial equipment, transport engineering, the electrical and electronic industry, instrumentation, the production of weapons and military equipment, as well as some other industries. It often happens that mechanical engineering also includes the production of metal products.

Ever since the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries swept the developed countries of the world. the branch of mechanical engineering began to play a very important role in all economic activity of mankind. The share of mechanical engineering in the total volume of industrial production has increased, in the production of the manufacturing industry of developed countries from the usual level of 1/3 to 2/5 or more.

The share of general was 37%, transport - 35%, electrical engineering - 30%.

It is quite expected that by the end of 2020, mechanical engineering will account for almost half of the industrial production of developed countries.

In the first half of the XIX century. humanity thought about creating separate specialized branches of engineering. Thus, there was an urgent need to separate the production of locomotives, machine tools, mining and metallurgical equipment. At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. these ideas have come to fruition. Particular importance was given to the automotive, electrical, instrument-making and other industries.

It is noteworthy that before the start of the First World War, Western Europe dominated the world of mechanical engineering. It is important to note that it was more than twice the size of the United States in the production of engineering products. However, the events of World War II could not but have a negative impact on the further development of engineering on the continent. Thus, the leading place, naturally, was occupied by the United States. The Second World War redistributed forces in this industry. The states occupied leading positions in many indicators until the second half of the 20th century. Western Europe was able to rise only in the mid-1950s. She was able to restore her position on the world stage. But by the end of the twentieth century. Western European countries accounted for only 19% of world engineering production. The mechanical engineering industry occupies a leading position in terms of the cost of production in developed countries. Mechanical engineering accounts for 35-40% of the total value of industrial products and up to 1/3 of all workers in the industry.

Mechanical engineering is a science-intensive branch of the modern industry, all the achievements of scientific and technical progress, if possible, are first of all introduced into this industry. It is important to understand that the range of this industry is huge, it has several million copies. No country in the world can produce so many products on its own.

Mechanical engineering determines not only the sectoral structure of industry, but also its localization. First of all, mechanical engineering is characterized by the deepening of the specialization of production and the expansion of its scale. Mechanical engineering leads among other industries in the use of computers and other computer equipment. It is precisely because of these circumstances that science-intensive branches of engineering prefer to be localized in those places where a highly developed scientific base prevails. The second point is that for the production of machine-building products, it is necessary to spend many times more labor time than in other industries. From this point of view, we can say that mechanical engineering is a labor-intensive industry. Another factor is that mechanical engineering has a high metal consumption, because of this, enterprises in the engineering industry primarily focus on its centers. However, it should be noted that in the era of scientific and technological revolution, the orientation of factories towards metal decreased due to an increase in the labor intensity and science intensity of the industry. Further, it should be summarized that the stages of production of machine-building products are carried out to a greater extent at individual enterprises. Moreover, the role of specialization and cooperation becomes very significant, since special importance is attached to transport communication between industries. And, finally, the specifics of many engineering enterprises are also important, since the priorities of consumers depend on it.

Throughout the twentieth century. the volume of products produced by engineering has only increased, talking about a hundredfold increase worldwide in total, three hundred times for the United States, engineering in Western Europe has increased 33 times, and in Japan over the past 100 years it has increased 5500 times. Another very important redistribution of forces in the world mechanical engineering took place in the last 25 years of the 20th century. It is based on the increased volumes of machine-building production in Japan, and after it in some other countries of the Pacific region, which caused the displacement of leaders such as Western Europe and the USA.

World economic crisis 2008-2009 caused a negative value, according to the CIA for the first time in many years (-2.7%).

Speaking about the unprecedented scale of the growth of the machine-building industry, it must be said that it was the growth of capital investments that caused this. As a result, it became possible to significantly intensify the already operating equipment, but also to modernize the forms and methods of organizing machine-building production.

The leaders of the world mechanical engineering are the USA, Japan and Germany

The above-mentioned countries produce the most diverse engineering products. In addition, the top ten also includes France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, China, Canada and Brazil.

On the economic map of the world, four main regions that are engaged in mechanical engineering can be identified:

North America. This is the part of the world where the bulk of the world's engineering products are produced. Foreign Europe (in relation to the CIS). This is a region that is engaged in mass production of engineering products, where most of the mass engineering products are produced, in which the latest industries are developed. East and Southeast Asia. The region to which Japan and China belong, where mass engineering products are combined with products of the highest technology. Countries with economies in transition, which are characterized by a large volume of production of machinery and equipment, while they are far behind in scientific development.

The share of developing countries and countries with economies in transition in world engineering is very small. It fluctuates around 7% at the beginning of the 21st century. It is noteworthy that in some countries mechanical engineering is currently developing at a rather rapid pace, such countries include Argentina, India, Brazil, Mexico, as well as a number of new industrial countries, which is largely based on the construction of branches of Western TNCs in these states.

The cost of production in the global engineering industry is currently dominated by a completely new industry - electronics. The electronic industry in the modern world is considered an innovative branch of mechanical engineering. In such countries as Japan, the USA, Korea, the electronics industry has taken a leading position. Since 1997, in the states, the products of the electronic industry have been separated from the electrical industry, and its share in the machine-building complex has been constantly increasing.In 1980, the share of electrical products accounted for 20.1%, in 2000 it was already 28.6%, and in 2020, according to all forecasts, this figure will be 38.9%.

It is important to note that the share of the export component in the production of all electronic goods is large. As part of the industry, a huge share in value is occupied by the production of various computer equipment, approximately 40-45%. The main share is provided by large companies in the USA, Japan, as well as some countries in Southeast Asia, a smaller share is made up of products from Western Europe.

Transport engineering

Transport engineering is the second most important branch of modern engineering. Transport engineering is divided in turn into two areas - civil and military. The automotive industry leads the industry in terms of cost and output. Almost half of all cars in the world are currently produced by the four largest companies. These include: General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota. Accordingly, the main producing countries are Germany, USA, France and Japan. It should be noted that the global economic crisis of 2008-2009. significantly affected the automotive industry.

In January 2009, German car production fell by 34%, while exports fell by 39%. The biggest blow fell on the automotive industry in Italy, the fall was more than 50%. In the US and UK, sales fell by 37%, in Sweden by 36% and in France by 14%. Meanwhile, China, India, and Brazil received the least blow. the cars they produce are affordable.

Aerospace industry

The aerospace industry is one of the most modern branches of engineering and consists of a huge number of different industries. It is a knowledge-intensive high-tech industry that requires serious scientific and technical developments and large investments.

ARCP is a branch of mechanical engineering that appeared in the era of scientific and technological revolution and combined the previously created aviation industry and the latest rocket and space industry. In this industry, there are aircraft and helicopter manufacturing, rocket science, the production of spacecraft, the production of engines, as well as aviation instrumentation. It is noteworthy that only a few states have the entire set of subgrowths. Naturally, their economies are highly developed.

All ARPC production facilities are science-intensive, labor-intensive, with a high proportion of employees of engineering and technical specialties with higher technical education among the personnel. All over the world, there are only three centers for the development of this industry - Russia, the USA, the EU, they are the ones that have research bases and an experimental base, as well as design bureaus and industrial enterprises that ensure the development and production of aviation and space technology. The high level of science intensity is due to the technical difficulties of this product.

It is possible to locate large ARCP enterprises within individual countries only if a huge research center and institutions that train such specialists are located in the given country. In addition, it is important that the company is interested in the military-strategic priorities of the country.

In the United States, a special government program has been developed, which is funded from the budget and is aimed at developing new technologies. It should be noted that about 50% of all government subsidies fall on the aerospace industry. The aviation industry was originally formed as a military industry, and only after some time aircraft factories began to produce aircraft for civil aviation. In the modern world, planes and helicopters are made in 20 countries, but the United States holds the lead. They control more than 2/3 of the world civil aviation market. The largest transnational companies in the world are Boeing, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies. In addition to the USA, the leading positions in this market are also occupied by Russia, France, Great Britain, and Germany.

In the global civil aviation market, Russia occupies only about 1%, while at the same time in the military aircraft market - 25%. General mechanical engineering includes plants for the production of machinery and equipment for all branches of the national economy.

General engineering is a group of engineering industries that are characterized by average consumption of metal, energy, and a low level of labor intensity.

General engineering enterprises produce technological equipment for various industries, including oil refining, chemical, paper, timber, construction, etc. The predominant positions are occupied by specialized enterprises that are associated with the production of blanks and the assembly of structures, assemblies, and parts supplied as a set. The industry's products are quite diverse and in demand by all countries of the world, but only four countries of the world are engaged in its production - the USA, Germany, Japan and Russia. The United States has the largest engineering companies in the world.

The world's largest engineering companies are presented in the table below

The share of general mechanical engineering in the overall structure of the machine-building complex is slowly decreasing in the USA and Japan. Their performance declined by approximately 2% and 4%, respectively, from 2000 to 2020.

Germany, on the contrary, is increasing the share of general engineering. According to forecasts, by 2020 the share of this country will increase to 28%. About 4,500 companies operate in the general engineering industry of this state, which specialize mainly in small-scale production. It is noteworthy that the success of these companies is largely dependent on external demand.

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