According to some economists, manufacturing is a wealth-producing sector of an economy, whereas a service sector tends to be wealth-consuming. Emerging technologies have provided some new growth in advanced manufacturing employment opportunities in the Manufacturing Belt. Manufacturing provides important material support for national infrastructure and for national defense.
On the other hand, most manufacturing may involve significant social and environmental costs. The clean-up costs of hazardous waste, for example, may outweigh the benefits of a product that creates it. Hazardous materials may expose workers to health risks. Developed countries regulate manufacturing activity with labor laws and environmental laws.
Across the globe, manufacturers can be subject to regulations and pollution taxes to offset the environmental costs of manufacturing activities. Environment laws and labor protections that are available in developed nations may not be available in the third world. Tort law and product liability impose additional costs on manufacturing. These are significant dynamics in the on-going process, occurring over the last few decades, of manufacture-based industries relocating operations to "developing-world" economies where the costs of production are significantly lower than in "developed-world" economies.
Manufacturing may require huge amounts of fossil fuels. Surveys and analyses of trends and issues in manufacturing and investment around the world focus on such things as: the nature and sources of the considerable variations that occur cross-nationally in levels of manufacturing and wider industrial-economic growth; competitiveness; and attractiveness to foreign direct. In addition to general overviews, researchers have examined the features and factors affecting particular key aspects of manufacturing development. They have compared production and investment in a range of Western and non-Western countries and presented case studies of growth and performance in important individual industries and market-economic sectors.
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