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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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economic

The last Blockbuster: ‘I’m proud that we’ve survived’

“The company was founded in 1985 in Dallas, Texas, and it was worth billions of dollars at its peak, employing dozens of thousands of people. It was so popular across the US that, in 1989, a new store was opening every 17 hours. The rapid rise of digital services such as Netflix, which launched in 1999, and online retailers, like Amazon, made Blockbuster’s video and DVD business model practically obsolete.”

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

In my neighborhood, as in neighborhoods around America, there is an old Blockbuster building that is used to sell fireworks before the 4th of July and Halloween paraphernalia in October.  Most of the year however the property is a vacant lot where you might find police officers filling out their paperwork in the parking lot.  If video killed the radio star, Netflix killed the Blockbuster store.  Creative destruction leaves littered industries that, because of technological innovations, are no longer viable (if you want a deep dive into the demise of Blockbuster that goes beyond the obvious rise of streaming technology, this article by Retail Dive is solid).  

In addition to technological changes, some product shifts hint at societal and demographic changes (see this witty article about the demise of mayo). 

GeoEd TAGS: globalization, industry, economic.

Scoop.it Tags: globalizationindustry, economic.

Iqaluit’s population turns to Amazon Prime

Sky-high food prices in the North have led many residents of Iqaluit to turn to Amazon Prime to save on necessities. But is that a sustainable solution?

Source: globalnews.ca

Nunavut is remote…far more remote than most of our students can imagine.  They live over 1,000 miles from any city with half a million people.  The entire territory is enormous, but sparsely populated with only 36,000 people.  Try to image getting commercial goods to such a remote location.  The Canadian government has invested heavily to subsidize systems to get food products and other necessities to Nunavut.  Still, the transportation costs are so high, and the numbers are so few that economies of scale can’t help this situation. 

Enter Amazon Prime in 2005, and the online retail giant began offering free shipping for “Prime” customers for a flat yearly subscription fee (today $99 in the U.S.).  This was simply too good to be true for many customers in far-flung settlements in Nunavut.  Amazon, probably not anticipating the overwhelming transportation costs associated with a place like Nunavut, in 2015 stopped offering Prime membership for Nunavut customers that do not live in the capital city of Iqaluit.  Still, the capital city looks to Amazon Prime more so than the Canadian or territorial government as their lifeline to the global economy.  Some even argue that Amazon Prime has done more to improve the standard of living  and providing food security for Nunavut residents than the government.            

Scoop.it TagsCanada, distanceindigenous, poverty, development, economicfood, food distribution, density.

WordPress TAGS: Canada, distance, indigenous, poverty, development, economic, food distribution, density.

OPEC’s Worst Nightmare: Permian Is About to Pump a Lot More

"An infestation of dots, thousands of them, represent oil wells in the Permian basin of West Texas and a slice of New Mexico. In less than a decade, U.S. companies have drilled 114,000. Many of them would turn a profit even with crude prices as low as $30 a barrel. OPEC’s bad dream only deepens next year, when Permian producers expect to iron out distribution snags that will add three pipelines and as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day."

Source: www.bloomberg.com

Overall global commodity prices are impacted by countless local production costs. A large shift in how business is done in one place (in this example, Texas’ Permian Basin) can have reverberating impacts on the local productions of other places that focus on that same global commodity (OPEC).  

GeoEd Tags: energy, resources, economic, political ecology.

Scoop.it Tagsenergy, resources, economic, political ecology.

Job openings in U.S. down

On the last business day of May 2018, the number of job openings edged down to 6.6 million from a revised April level of 6.8 million, a series high. Combined, over one-third of those job openings were in professional and business services (1,190,000) and health care and social assistance (1,119,000).

Source: www.bls.gov

I’m not sharing this article because of the monthly fluctuations in labor.  The interactive chart in this article is an excellent visualization of the shifts in labor in the various economic sectors. 

Tags: laborvisualization, economicindustry

WordPress TAGS: labor, visualization, economic, industry.

The Root Causes of Food Insecurity

Why are some communities more vulnerable to hunger and famine? There are many reasons, which together add up to food insecurity, the world’s no.1 health risk.

Source: www.youtube.com

This video is an excellent summary of the geographic factors that lead to food insecurity and hunger and the main ways NGO’s are trying to combat the issues. This is an incredibly complex problem that, at it’s heart, is a geographic issue that can challenge student to synthesize information and make the connections between topics.

 

Scoop.it Tags: food, poverty, economic, political, food desert, agriculture, food production.

WordPress TAGS: food, poverty, economic, Political, food desert, agriculture, food production.

China is trying to turn itself into a country of 19 super-regions

"China’s urbanization is a marvel. The population of its cities has quintupled over the past 40 years, reaching 813m. By 2030 roughly one in five of the world’s city-dwellers will be Chinese. But this mushrooming is not without its flaws. Restraining pell-mell urbanization may sound like a good thing, but it worries the government’s economists, since bigger cities are associated with higher productivity and faster economic growth. Hence a new plan to remake the country’s map.

The idea is to foster the rise of mammoth urban clusters, anchored around giant hubs and containing dozens of smaller, but by no means small, nearby cities. The plan calls for 19 clusters in all, which would account for nine-tenths of economic activity (see map). China would, in effect, condense into a country of super-regions."

Source: www.economist.com

This type of plan would have been politically and economically unthinkable in years past, but the time-space compression (convergence) has made the distances between cities less of a barrier.  High-speed transit in the form of bullet trains link cities to other cities within the cluster more tightly together and the threshold of the functional region expands.  While some of these clusters are more aspirational, the top three (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing) are already powerful global forces. 

Scoop.it Tags: urbanregions, transportation, megacities, economic, planning, China, East Asia.

WordPress TAGS: urban, regions, transportation, megacities, economic, planning, China, East Asia.

Displacement from Gentrification

Source: www.youtube.com

How does gentrification displace longtime residents?  How does the community change during the gentrification process?  What are the impacts to residents (current and former) of the gentrification process?  This is one young man’s story about gentrification in San Francisco’s Mission District. 

 

Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economic

Chile’s Energy Transformation Is Powered by Wind, Sun and Volcanoes

“Once energy dependent, Chile is on track to become a renewables powerhouse with the potential to export electricity. Chile is on track to rely on clean sources for 90 percent of its electricity needs by 2050, up from the current 45 percent.”

Source: www.nytimes.com

The definition of a natural resource changes as the societal and technological context shifts.  Firewood was once the most important energy resource and now there are tree removal companies that haul are paid to haul away what some would consider very valuable goods. The coastal breeze of the Pacific, the harsh sun of the Atacama desert, and the rugged volcanic landscapes of Chile were never an energy resources…until they were made so by technological advancements and shifting economic paradigms.  As this article and embedded video demonstrate, Chile and South America are fully investing in the transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to renewable energy resources.

 

TagsChileSouth America, industry, sustainabilityeconomic, energy, resources, unit 6 industry.

Geo-economics of the Thai Canal

A group of influential Thai officials is promoting the construction of a long-envisioned megaproject, known as the Thai Canal. If built, it would transform the regional maritime dynamics and give Thailand a substantial stake in global trade. Yet, as ambitious as the project it, there are equally credible drawbacks that could reshape the geo-economic fortunes of Southeast Asia.

Source: www.youtube.com

The Straits of Malacca is an incredibly busy waterway.  Around 20% of global trade and 30% of the world’s crude oil travel through this tiny choke point.  At its narrowest, the Straits of Malacca is less than 2 miles wide and as Asian economies grow, alternative shipping lanes are becoming more attractive.  China is looking to bankroll a canal that would bisect the Malay Peninsula and reduce their dependency on the Straits of Malacca.  This is still uncertain, but would represent a major geo-engineering project that

 

Perspectives: What are the positives and negatives of this plan for Thailand?  China?  The United States? 

 

Tags: Thailand, Southeast Asiatransportation, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

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