- For other uses of this term, see Industry (disambiguation)
An industry is generally any grouping of businesses that share a common method of generating profits, such as the "movie industry", the "automobile industry", or the "cattle industry". It is also used specifically to refer to an area of economic production focused on manufacturing which involves large amounts of upfront capital investment before any profit can be realized, also called "heavy industry."
Industry in the second sense became a key sector of production in European and North American countries during the Industrial Revolution, which upset previous mercantile and feudal economies through many successive rapid advances in technology, such as the development of steam engines, power looms, and advances in large scale steel and coal production. Industrial countries then assumed a capitalist economic policy. Railroads and steam-powered ships began speedily integrating previously impossibly-distant world markets, enabling private companies to develop to then-unheard of size and wealth. Following the Industrial Revolution, perhaps a third of world's economic output is derived from manufacturing industries—more than agriculture's share, but now less than that of the service sector.
Table of contents
List of industries and prominent companies
- Wilshire 5000 Index market cap size: 11% + 5% ()
- Wilshire 5000 Index market cap size: 22% ()
Health Care and Social Assistance (62)
- Wilshire 5000 Index market cap size: 13% ()
Health care is the second largest category in the Wilshire 5000.
Modern misusage of the word
Industry is commonly understood as business, population and workforce. With no doubt, industries means more than one industry. Despite this common sense, the 21st century youth generation has mistaken the word as a substitute for clothing company, possibly inspired by big-name companies like World Industries and Skin Industries.
Today many small t-shirt labels borrow the word for their names, knowing their company is composed of less than 10 teenagers, hardly an industry, let alone industries.
Marxism and industry
Control of industry became a key point of Marxist theory. The labor theory of value holds that the worth of a given object exists only because of the work that somebody has exerted to set it into its current state or form. Unimproved, natural objects such as trees and rocks generally have little value; but if wood is carved into a piano, or rocks are built into a house, then the resulting object suddenly has value because of this labor.
Marxists hold that the relationship between the bourgeois capitalist class—those wealthy enough to invest significant capital in industry—and the proletarian laborers who work for them is fundamentally parasitic; that the capitalists, in essence, receive free money far beyond their original investment by paying workers far less than the full value of the objects that their labor produces. Marxists therefore advocate that the workers themselves should own the means of production—capital assets such as factories and equipment used for production. In Leninist countries such as the Soviet Union, this plan was implemented by making all capital assets owned by the state collective—theoretically, by the workers themselves.
Maoism, the economic philosophies of Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, agrees with previous Marxist thought on industry, but prescribes a different solution. Instead of workers or the collective owning the factories, Maoism advocates a resettlement of the populace into rural areas and a return to a decentralized agrarian way of life.