Full text: Modern business geography

THE object of all kinds of industry and commerce is to provide consum- 
ers with the right kinds of goods. The word * consume ”’ sometimes 
means simply “ eat’ ; but it may also mean * use in any way.” In 
this sense every one of us is a consumer. Every day of our lives we 
consume food, shoe-leather, clothing, furniture, pencils, knives, and a 
hundred other things. Whenever we travel we consume a little share 
of a train, trolley car, steamboat, or automobile. When we go to a 
picture show we are among the consumers for whom the theater, the 
films, and the musical instruments were made. In fact, consumption 
is by far the most universal of the four fields of industrial and commer- 
cial geography. Vast numbers of people do not engage in either pri- 
mary production or manufacturing, and many have little to do with 
any transportation except that in which they themselves supply the 
power. But no one can live without being a consumer. It is for the 
sake of ourselves as consumers that we engage in primary production. 
in transportation, and in manufacturing. 
How the character of the consumers influences the market. In the 
ordinary language of business, the consumers are spoken of as * the 
market.” The wholesale market consists of the people who buy goods 
with the purpose of selling them again; the retail market consists of 
the people who buy goods for their own use, or at least with no purpose 
of selling them. Every business man needs to understand exactly 
what sort of market his goods will find. The farmers, for instance, 
raise wheat because there is a good market for it; but if they should 
all raise three times as much as now, the market would be destroyed. 
There would be so much wheat that the price would drop so low that 
the wheat farmers could scarcely make a living. Suppose a merchant 
wishes to sell textiles in the Amazon valley. Since the people there 
are few in number and poor, and live in a warm climate, he may be 
able to sell a small amount of thin cotton clothing; but he finds no 
market at all for heavy, expensive woolens. 
As a rule, backward peoples provide only a small market, while 
progressive peoples supply a large market. In the same way city 
people provide a larger market in proportion to their numbers than 

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