Fujita on Losch on Space

by darribas

Last week, at the 53rd ERSA conference in Palermo, I had the pleasure to see Professor Masahisa Fujita deliver his keynote speech. In his last slide, he paid a tribute to German economist August Losch, one of the pioneers in introducing space into economic analysis and a person with a fascinating life. For my records, I’ll copy here the first paragraph of the epilogue in his book “Economics of Location“. Very powerfull stuff.

If everything occurred at the same time there would be no development. If everything existed in the same place there could be no particularity. Only space makes possible the particular, which then unfolds in time. Only because we are not equally near to everything; only because everything does not rush in upon us at once; only because our world is restricted, for every individual, for his people, and for mankind as a whole, can we, in our finiteness, endure at all. The extent of this horizon differs, of course, from man to man. But in economic affairs, as in all other affairs, our ken is limited for acting intelligently and for finding our way through the complexities of life. And even within this little world, we are familiar with not more than its innermost circle. Depth must be bought with narrowness. Space creates and protects us in this limitation. Particularity is the price of our existence.

A. Losch, 1943

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