The Republic of Italy is located in Southern Europe. In Italy, the economy of the North and the economy of the South are dramatically different. This difference is reflected in the population breakdown of Italy. In fact, more than two-thirds of Italy s 57.6 million people live in the urban north. For my third module paper, I will discuss Italy s economy. Concentrating on the role that manufacturing and services play in the economy of Italy.
In Italy agriculture is not a huge aspect of Italy s economy. Today, only about ten percent of the population works in agriculture. In fact, agriculture accounts for about less than six percent of Italy s Gross Domestic Product. The bulk of the agricultural services in the country are located in the south. The biggest problem for agriculture in Italy is a lack of land, since Italy s land mass coupled with its population makes it difficult to find land for agricultural uses. Though agriculture in Italy is not a major piece of the economy pie, Italy is still considered a world leader in the production of grapes and olives.
Just as there is not much agriculture in Italy, there are even fewer precious metals. With virtually no gold, silver, platinum, copper, zinc, tin, bauxite, aluminum, or lead, it would appear that Italy would have a problem. However, Italy s economy has flourished in the absence of such precious metals. In fact, the lack of quality iron ore in Italy slowed industrial growth. Without iron ore, steel production for machines, railways and other industrial products was hindered. As a result, Italy did not get fully industrialized until after World War II.(Geographic). The lack of precious metals caused Italy to look elsewhere for necessary materials. In the time of the Romans, They would go to other countries conquer them and bring back goods and materials needed by Italy. Now however, trade is the means for getting the goods that Italy is not blessed with.
According to figure 9.16 in the text, The World Industrial Belt, which is an imaginary belt that is located a long 40 degrees N longitude; the belt with extends from 20 degrees N to 60 degrees N(Fellman, Getis, Getis 328). This belt goes all the way across the globe and includes all the major industrial areas of the United States, Europe and Asia. Northern Italy is located right along the World Industrial Belt. This location among other the industrial countries of Europe coupled with the location on the Mediterranean Sea has made trade a vital part of Italy s economy. This inclination towards trade is seen in the roads, major airports, and railroads of Italy. Italy has 100 percent motorable roads, rail lines are numerous, and its airport in Rome has helped to make Rome a third-rank financial center. Rome s presence as a financial center can be traced to the trade routes of the area. The only trade route from the west goes directly into Rome, and carries about 100 to 200 tons of cargo annually(Atlas 62-63). Another trade route runs all along the eastern Italian coast and also carries about 100 to 200 tons of cargo annually. The Composition of Trade breakdowns in the Atlas show that eighty-five percent of Italy s exports are Manufactured Articles, and the other fifteen percent is split between Food, Beverages, and Tobacco, Raw Materials, Fuel & Related Products, and other goods(Goode 61). The breakdown for imports are similar seventy-two percent of the imports are Manufactured Articles, ten percent to both Food, Beverages and tobacco and another ten percent to Raw Materials. Both the imports and exports of Italy primarily come from and go to other European countries.
Manufacturing and Services
In Italy, services are a large portion of the economy. Services actually account for about sixty to sixty-nine percent of the Gross Domestic Product. To understand this further you must know what is considered a service, services are tourism, hotels, restaurants, service trades, transport and communications, domestic workers, financial services, motor vehicles, and public administration. When you think of Italy, it s easy to see why services would make up more than two-thirds of the GDP. The most exciting service would have to be tourism. Italy has so many great places that people all over the world would love to visit. The ruins of Ancient Rome are great tourist attractions people come from all ends of the earth to see the Coliseum and other Roman ruins. The Vatican also draws millions of people to Italy. The most high profile business in Italy would be the fashion. Italy is known throughout the world as one of the places for fashion. Italian designers seem to be setting the trends; this can be seen at the numerous fashion shows in Italy. Even the rural areas draw tourist, wine tasting tours in Europe are a dream come true for many wine lovers. Another prestigious service would be the manufacturing of automobiles. Italian cars companies, like Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Lamborghini, Lancia and Maserati are known across the globe for their sports cars.
The economy of Italy is a one that is intertwined with those of several other countries, and as long as the world economy is doing well Italy should prosper as well. However, seeing that Italy deals heavily in trade and that a large portion of the GDP comes from luxury items, sports cars, tourism and high fashion they need to pay close attention to the economic well being of its partners. Seeing that many of Italy s goods cater to the rich of its own and other countries I think that the economy of Italy will always be a strong one. The rich will always be rich and have money to spend, so having such luxury items like cars and tourist spots should help to keep the economy steady.
Fellmann, Jerome D., Arthur Getis, and Judith Getis. Human Geography.
McGraw Hill, New York. 2001
Hudson, John C. Ed. Goode s World Atlas. Rand McNally & Company. 2000
Italy. Merriam-Webster s Atlas.
Italy Economy. Geographic.org.