Geography of the World Economy

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Geography of the World Economy


the branch of economic geography concerned with the study of the territorial distribution of the world economy as a whole and of its sectors in terms of social and economic formations and in terms of individual countries and large regions, as well as the study of the patterns determining the tendencies of the geographical distribution of the world economy.

Insofar as both a world capitalist economy and a world socialist economy exist, with processes of development that are subject to systematic laws based on different principles, it is essential to analyze the developmental tendencies of the geography not only of the world economy as a whole but also of its capitalist and socialist components taken separately. The same necessity applies to the study of the geography of individual sectors of the world economy.

The general tasks in studying the geography of the world economy are to establish developmental tendencies and to study the factors influencing the distribution of the world economy—both the natural and the socioeconomic factors. Natural factors include natural conditions, natural resources, and the existence of natural means of communication; among socioeconomic factors are the mode of production of material wealth, the economic geographic situation, labor resources, transport and other economic conditions, the level of technological progress, the correlation between industrial and agricultural production, the correlation among subdivisions of industrial production, the level of national income, and the correlation between domestic consumption, exports, and imports. The analysis of the influence of colonial conquests on the one hand and of the collapse of the colonial system on the other is important with respect to the imperialist countries. Attention should be given to the influence of the policies of state-monopoly capitalism on the geography of the economy of the world capitalist system.

In the context of the contemporary scientific and technological revolution, rapid displacements are taking place in the structure of the world economy and its sectors, creating fundamental changes in the geography of the world economy. Thus, the timely study of the structural displacements in the geography of the world economy is extremely important.

Geographers in the socialist countries systematically study the trend of economic competition between the world socialist economic system and the world capitalist economic system, a study that demonstrates the enormous advantages of the former. In the world socialist economic system, the development and distribution of production are decisively influenced by state planning of the socialist economies of the individual countries, coordination of the national economic plans, and close economic cooperation of the countries, based on the international socialist division of labor. Of particular interest is the manifestation of the law which holds that the levels of economic development of the countries of the socialist world system are approaching each other.

The geographers of the socialist countries devote particular attention to demonstrating the extraordinarily important role of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) in the rise of the production of its members, the rational distribution of productive forces, the increase in industrial potential, the development of socialist economic integration, and the strengthening of the positions of the socialist countries in the geography of the world economy. In order to properly study the world capitalist economic system, the geographers of the socialist countries, basing themselves on the nature of the international capitalist division of labor, consider separately the respective tendencies of economic development in the group of developed capitalist countries and in the group of developing countries. They study manifestations of the law of uneven economic and political development, of economic crises in developed capitalist countries, and of the changing correlations of the positions of the individual countries in the distribution of the world capitalist economy and its sectors; and they study the influence on the geography of the world economy of international economic associations of the capitalist states (such as the Common Market and the European Free Trade Association).

With the development of a constructive orientation in economic geography, caused by the elaboration of concrete proposals regarding the most expedient distribution of social production, the forecasting of the development and distribution of the world economy is acquiring ever increasing importance. Forecasting plays an extraordinarily great role in the USSR and other socialist countries: geographers take an active part in working out long-term plans for the development of the national economies of their countries and in making forecasts in the sphere of the geography of the world economy.

The thorough critique of bourgeois conceptions in the geography of the world economy is important, along with the study of the individual positive propositions contained in the works of bourgeois geographers.


Boesch, H. Geografiia mirovogo khoziaistva. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from English.)
Rozin, M. S. “Predmet i zadachi geografii mirovogo khoziaistva.” Izv. AN SSSR: Seriia geograficheskaia, 1967, no. 1.
Mirovaia ekonomika, 2nd ed. Edited by V. A. Maslennikov and A. I. Medovoi. Moscow, 1969.
Oleinik, I. P. Mirovoe sotsialisticheskoe khoziaistvo. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The economic geography of the world economy has changed fundamentally over the last two decades, and the reasons for this changes are related to the characteristics of the most recent phase of the long-run process of globalisation (Easton, 2007).
What completed Durham's metamorphosis was a class called "The Geography of the World Economy," which opened her eyes to the connection between the Western economic system and the global environment.

Full browser ?