The Spirit and Purpose of Geography

By S. W. Wooldridge; W. Gordon East | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY

Say Lords, should not our thoughts be first of commerce? My Lord Bishop, you would recommend us agriculture?

WILLIAM BLAKE, King Edward the Third.

ECONOMIC geography so-called has its place in syllabuses of geography and is not unfamiliar to the layman. At first sight its content and purpose are self-evident, once it is grasped that geography is concerned not merely with the position of places and the shapes of countries, but also with man and his works in so far as they are related in place. Production and trade in all their manifold aspects are not only in some sense facts of geography, but they reflect in striking fashion the geographical differentiation of the surface of the earth. Here, by common consent, is a branch of our subject both important and useful, and the existence of a wide and growing range of texts, bearing the comprehensive title "economic geography," would appear to characterize clearly its field. Let us glance briefly at some of these to see what is currently accepted before turning to certain difficulties and ambiguities which invite discussion, since these are not merely points of nomenclature, but must affect our thinking over the whole field of geography.

The term "economic geography" appears to have been first used in 1882 by the German Gotz to distinguish his work from "Commercial Geography" which had the earlier start. This latter raises no special problems: its purpose is frankly practical rather than philosophical, scientific or educational in the wider sense. Commercial geography presents summaries, periodically brought up to date, of the production and trade of the principal commodities of the world, set against its variegated geographical background. Rarely does it essay more

-103-

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The Spirit and Purpose of Geography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • List of Sketch Maps 9
  • Preface 11
  • Chapter I - The Nature and Development Of Geography 13
  • Chapter II - The Philosophy and Purpose Of Geography 25
  • Chapter III - Physical Geography And Biogeography 39
  • Chapter IV - Geography and Maps 64
  • Chapter V - Historical Geography 80
  • Chapter VI - Economic Geography 103
  • Chapter VII - Political Geography 121
  • Chapter VIII - Regional Geography and The Theory of Regions 140
  • Chapter IX - Conclusion 161
  • Note on Reading 167
  • Index 171
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