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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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development

Factfulness

"The three authors of Factfulness explain why they decided to write the book that is now available in 24 languages."

Source: www.youtube.com

I just finished Hans Rosling’s book, Factfulness.  It was an absolutely delightful read (who wouldn’t want to imagine hearing Hans Rosling’s voice while relaxing on the beach?).  So much of the populace have outdated paradigms about the world and too many have an overly pessimistic worldview that everything is getting worse.  This is why FACTFULNESS is so needed day.  This term is used to describe a fact-based, data-driven worldview that is not overly dramatic, or fear-based.  In so many ways, the world has been consistently getting quantifiable better; this derived from an optimistic perspective, but a factful understanding of the world today.  This book is his clarion call to understand the world as it actually is and is the culmination of his professional achievements.  Now that he has passed away, it feels like a major part of his lasting legacy.  If you’ve ever used his TED talks, Gapminder, the Ignorance Project, or Dollar Street resources, this is a must read.

 

Tagsstatistics, models, gapminderdevelopment, perspective, book reviews.

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Why Is It So Hard for Clothing Manufacturers to Pay a Living Wage?

“In the garment industry, stories about workers who barely eke out an existence on ‘starvation wages’ are legion: Factory workers in New Delhi often describe living in makeshift hovels ‘barely fit for animals.’ A young woman from Myanmar might wrestle with the decision to feed her children or send them to school. In Bangladesh, sewing-machine operators frequently toil for 100 hours or more a week, only to run out of money before the end of the month. Workers have demanded higher pay in all those countries, of course, sometimes precipitating violence between protesters and police. Companies in general, however, have preferred to sidestep the issue altogether. In fact, no multinational brand or retailer currently claims to pay its garment workers a wage they can subsist on.”

Source: www.racked.com

In some ways this isn’t the right question to be asking.  While clothing brands don’t want the bad PR from low wages, like all businesses, they are incentivized to minimize their inputs and maximize their profits.  If capitalistic logic were completely unrestrained, this situation would never change as long as their are low-skill workers.

 

Questions to Ponder: What institutions have the ability to change this situation and what are effective ways to bring about change?  Where are textile industries located in the international division of labor?  How do sweatshops impact the places where they locate in the international division of labor? 

 

Tagsdevelopment, laborglobalization, economicindustry, poverty

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.

Source: www.youtube.com

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

Obesity: not just a rich-world problem

“Obesity is a global problem, but more people are getting fatter in developing countries than anywhere else. If current trends continue, obese children will soon outnumber those who are undernourished. Nearly half of the world’s overweight and obese children under five years old, live in Asia. And in Africa, the number of overweight children under five has increased by nearly 50% since 2000. Hunger still blights many parts of the world. But the share of people who do not have enough to eat is in decline. Globally one in nine people in the world suffer from chronic undernourishment. One in ten are obese. If current trends continue, the share of obese children in the world will surpass the number of undernourished by 2022. Africa has the fastest-growing middle class in the world. A move from traditional foods to high-calorie fast food and a more sedentary lifestyle is driving the rise in obesity. Health systems in Africa, more focused on treating malnourishment and diseases like malaria and HIV, are ill equipped to deal with obesity-related illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. “

 

Tagsmortality, medicaldevelopmentfood.

Source: www.youtube.com

As Venezuela Collapses, Children Are Dying of Hunger

“Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. But in the last three years its economy has collapsed. Hunger has gripped the nation for years. Now, it’s killing children. The Venezuelan government knows, but won’t admit it. Doctors are seeing record numbers of children with severe malnutrition. Before Venezuela’s economy started spiraling, doctors say, almost all of the child malnutrition cases they saw in public hospitals stemmed from neglect or abuse by parents. But as the economic crisis began to intensify in 2015 and 2016, the number of cases of severe malnutrition at the nation’s leading pediatric health center in the capital more than tripled, doctors say. 2017 was even worse.”

 

Tagsmortality, medical, developmentfood, poverty, Venezuela, South America.

Source: www.nytimes.com

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.

Source: www.youtube.com

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

 

Divided island: How Haiti and the DR became two worlds

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share a border, and an island. But the two countries are very different today: the Dominican Republic enjoys higher quality of life for many factors than Haiti. I went to this island and visited both countries, to try and understand when and how their paths diverged.

Source: www.youtube.com

This video is an exciting debut for the new series “Vox borders.”  By just about every development metric available, the Dominican Republic is doing better than Haiti, the only bordering country on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with the DR.   

 

Questions to Ponder: How does the border impact both countries?  How has sharing one island with different colonial legacies shaped migrational push and pull factors?

 

Tags: Haiti, Dominican Republic, video, poverty, development, economic, labor, migration, political, borders.

Singapore passport becomes ‘most powerful’ in the world

Historically, the top ten most powerful passports in the world were mostly European, with Germany having the lead for the past two years. Since early 2017, Singapore has tied for number one position with Germany. For the first time ever an Asian country has the most powerful passport in the world. It is a testament of Singapore’s inclusive diplomatic relations and effective foreign policy.”

 

Tag: SingaporeSouthEastAsia, politicaldevelopment.

Source: www.channelnewsasia.com

Who else is high on the list of the most powerful passports in the world?  This tier system is based on the number of visa-free entries available to the holder of the visa:

1. Singapore

2. Germany

3. Sweden

3. South Korea

4. Denmark

4. Finland

4. Italy

4. France

4. Spain

4. Norway

4. Japan

4. United Kingdom

5. Luxembourg

5. Switzerland

5. Netherlands

5. Belgium

5. Austria

5. Poland

6. Malaysia

6. Ireland

6. USA (that’s tied for 19th for you competitive sorts)

6. Canada

7. Greece

7. New Zealand

7. Australia

The World Bank is eliminating the term “developing country” from its data vocabulary

“In the 2016 edition of its World Development Indicators, the World Bank has made a big choice: It’s no longer distinguishing between ‘developed’ countries and “developing” ones in the presentation of its data. The change marks an evolution in thinking about the geographic distribution of poverty and prosperity. But it sounds less radical when you consider that nobody has ever agreed on a definition for these terms in the first place. The International Monetary Fund says its own distinction between advanced and emerging market economies “is not based on strict criteria, economic or otherwise.” The United Nations doesn’t have an official definition of a developing country, despite slapping the label on 159 nations. And the World Bank itself had previously simply lumped countries in the bottom two-thirds of gross national income (GNI) into the category, but even that comparatively strict cut-off wasn’t very useful.”

Source: qz.com

Labels and categories are so often problematic, but they are also necessary to make sense of the vast amount of information.  Regional geography is inherently about lumping places together that have commonalities, but acknowledging that many differences from place to place makes the world infinitely varied and complex.  Since we can’t process an infinite amount of complexity, we categorize, for better or for worse.  In education, we are continually trying to show how some categorizations fail, hoping that our students will categorize the information they receive in better ways (non-racist ways for example).  The regional terms we use–Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, etc.—impacts how we think about the world.  Each of those terms highlights a few similarities and ignores some important differences.  The terms More Developed Countries (MDCs), Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs), and Less Developed (LDCs) is how many people have socioeconomically categorized the world’s countries, some preferring developing countries instead of LDCs because it less stigmatizing.  In 2015, many at the World Bank have thought that the term “Developing Countries” obscures more than it reveals.  In 2016, the World Bank removed the term from its database since there are more differences than similarities in the economic structures and trajectories of developing countries.         

 

Questions to Ponder: What are some of the major problems that you see with the term developing country?  Even with its problems, what utility is there in the term?  Will you keep using the term or will you abandon it?  How come? 

 

Tagsdevelopment, statistics, economicindustry.

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