Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.



Income and Wealth Inequality

Inequality is a big, big subject. There’s racial inequality, gender inequality, and lots and lots of other kinds of inequality. This is Econ, so we’re going to talk about wealth inequality and income inequality. There’s no question that economic inequality is real. But there is disagreement as to whether income inequality is a problem, and what can or should be done about it.


There are many of the 35 videos in the Economics crash course set that touch on geographic issues.   This crash course team explains the difference between wealthy inequality and income inequality.  This video also has a nice laymen’s explanation of the GINI coefficient and how it measures inequality.   In another video in the series, they demonstrate how globalization can be seen as the path to economic growth and others see the process of globalization as what has created poverty


Tagsdevelopment, laborglobalization, economicindustry, poverty, crash course


Globalization, Trade, and Poverty

What is globalization? Is globalization a good thing or not. Well, I have an answer that may not surprise you: It’s complicated. This week, Jacob and Adriene will argue that globalization is, in aggregate, good. Free trade and globalization tend to provide an overall benefit, and raises average incomes across the globe. The downside is that it isn’t good for every individual in the system. In some countries, manufacturing jobs move to places where labor costs are lower. And some countries that receive the influx of jobs aren’t prepared to deal with it, from a regulatory standpoint.


There are many of the 35 videos in the Economics crash course set that touch on geographic issues, but I’d like to highlight episodes 16 and 17 especially.  Many see globalization as the path to economic growth and others see the process of globalization as what has created poverty.  In many ways both have a point as demonstrated in the 16th episode of this crash course.  In a follow-up video, they explain the difference between wealthy inequality and income inequality.  This video also has a nice layman’s explanation of the GINI coefficient and how it measures inequality.   


Tagsdevelopment, laborglobalization, economicindustry, poverty, crash course


Drought and Famine

In which John Green teaches you a little bit about drought, which is a natural weather phenomenon, and famine, which is almost always the result of human activity. Throughout human history, when food shortages strike humanity, there was food around. There was just a failure to connect those people with the food that would keep them alive. There are a lot of reasons that food distribution breaks down, and John is going to teach you about them in the context of the late-19th century famines that struck British India.


Famine is exacerbated by natural factors such as drought, but those only stress the system, they rarely cause the actual starvation.  The real failure is that the political/economic systems created by governments and how they handle stains in the food production/distribution systems.  Widespread famines are very rare in democracies and are much more prevalent in authoritarian regimes.  Many of the recent examples have come from collectivation strategies that governments have implemented (currently Venezuela, but historically the Soviet Union and China).  The Choices program has some good resources about teaching current events with the famines today.


Tags: food, povertyhistoricalcolonialism, economic, political, governance, agriculture, crash course


Population, Sustainability, and Malthus

In which John Green teaches you about population. So, how many people can reasonably live on the Earth? Thomas Malthus got it totally wrong in the 19th century, but for some reason, he keeps coming up when we talk about population. In 1800, the human population of the Earth passed 1 billion, and Thomas Malthus posited that growth had hit its ceiling, and the population would level off and stop growing. He was totally right. Just kidding, he was totally wrong! There are like 7 billion people on the planet now! John will teach a little about how Malthus made his calculations, and explain how Malthus came up with the wrong answer. As is often the case, it has to do with making projections based on faulty assumptions. Man, people do that a lot.


This is a succinct summary of Malthusian ideas on population.  What do you think of his ideas?  Any specific parts of his theory that you agree with?  Do you disagree with some of his ideas?  What did history have to say about it?  


Tags: Demographics, population, models, APHGunit 2 population

Possibilism: Crash Course #2

“Possibilism, while accepting that physical environments have some affect on the outcomes for human social orders, they’re not the only factor by a long shot. Today, we’re talking about human agency, and the Human Geographers who developed the ideas that make up possibilism. Individuals and groups make the decisions that shape their societies, and while the world sometimes shapes these social orders, people also increasingly affect their world in return.”


Just like that first Crash Course video on  environmental determinism, this video on environmental possibilism treats complex ideas in a cut-and-dry manner.  All the videos in Crash Course human geography series have an incredibly quick pace and these particular ideas need nuancing and (for most students) time to frame the factors and issues at hand. So if this is someone’s first introduction to environmental possibilism or determinism, they are likely to be both overwhelmed and given a slanted perspective on the topic.  I’m still holding out hope for when this series reaches the thematic content of human geography instead of the theoretical underpinnings of past geographical philosophies.


Tags: crash course, environmental determinism, environmentAPHG, video.    

Environmental Determinism: Crash Course #1

Today we’re talking about how Human Geography has been practiced in the past, how it hitched its wagon to some really bad ideas, and how that kind of thinking still persists in the world today. Basically, we’re starting with a lesson in how not to Human Geographize. Which I don’t think is a real word.


This isn’t exactly what I was hoping for when I heard news of that Crash Course was producing a series of human geography videos, but still has tons of value.  This video on environmental determinism will raise as many questions as it answers.  Personally, I think it is too dismissive of geographers (such as Jared Diamond) than is fair, but there is lot of good in the video and enough in it to feel that this series has some strong potential for the future.  For APHG, it also make be feel optimistic about the future that “we’ve made it to the big leagues” in others eyes and are here to stay.    


Tags: crash course, environmental determinism, unit 1 GeoPrinciples, environmentAPHG, video.    

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