Excessive concentrations of industry lead to a disparity in economic development between regions. In addition, over-concentration of industry causes serious environmental over-loading, particularly in terms of pollution and congestion, and a consequent threat to health and a reduction in the quality of life. In most countries the crux of the problem remains at the national and regional levels, where the development of reasonable industrial patterns within overall environmental development plans has still to be achieved.
Emerging technologies offer the promise of higher productivity, increased efficiency, and decreased pollution, but many bring risks of new toxic chemicals and wastes and of major accidents of a type and scale beyond present coping mechanisms, especially in the case of transportation of hazardous materials and the disposal of toxic wastes.
The social consequences of industrialization are, in many cases, little more than a transfer to the urban industrial environment (by population movement) of problems of destitution and need that had previously existed in the rural environment, where, being less concentrated, they were usually less noticeable. Where stagnant and depressed agricultural communities force into the industrial centres uprooted peasants and tribesmen in numbers far beyond available opportunities for gainful employment, urban growth tends to reflect not the expansion of industry but the wretchedness of agricultural conditions and the high incidence of under-employment in rural areas. In countries with rapidly increasing rural population, this disproportion between employment opportunities and labour supply in the industrial areas, increasing constantly through new influxes from the country, has exercised a depressing effect on urban levels of living, to the extent that in some cases the newcomer to the town has merely substituted urban misery for rural poverty.