The accidents of original manufacture or of the original location of resources cannot continue as guiding factors in growth when new sources of supply and new distribution of markets are recognized.  Moreover, the neotechnic distribution of power makes for economic regionalism: the concentration of population in the coal towns and the port towns was a mark of a haphazardly organized labor supply and of the high cost of coal transportation. One of the large possibilities for economy here lies in the abolition of cross-hauls: the familiar process of carrying coal to Newcastle. Traders and middlemen gain by lengthening the distance in space and time between the producer and the ultimate consumer. Under a rationally planned distribution of industry, this parasitism in transit would be reduced to a minimum. And as the knowledge of modern techniques spreads, the special advantages in skill and organization and science, once enjoyed by a few countries alone, by England during the nineteenth century above all, tend to become the common property of mankind at large: for ideas are not stopped by customs barriers or freight rates. Our modern world, transporting knowledge and skill, has diminished the need for transporting goods: St. Louis’s shoes are as good as New England’s, and French textiles are as good as English. In a balanced economy, regional production of commonplace commodities becomes rational production; and inter-regional exchange becomes the export of the surplus from regions of increment to regions of scarcity, or the exchange of special materials and skills – like tungsten, manganese, fine china, lenses – not universally found or developed throughout the world. But even here the advantages of a particular place may remain temporary. While American and German camembert cheese is still vastly inferior to the French variety, the gruyere cheese produced in Wisconsin compares favorably with that produced in Switzerland. With the growth of economic regionalism, the advantages of modern industry will be spread, not chiefly by transport – as in the nineteenth century – but by local development. (Mumford 1934:387-8)
MUMFORD, Lewis. 1934. Technique and civilization. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.