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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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globalization

VIDEO: My Dear Kyrgyzstan

My Dear

Emil is a social media-obsessed entrepreneur in one of the most remote places on earth: An abandoned Soviet mining village in Kyrgyzstan. Emil has returned to put his village on the map as an international tourist destination.” SOURCE: MailChimp

This delightful video shows the former Soviet mining town of Jyrgalan and a local entrepreneur that wants to revitalize the village economy, bring in the outside world, and make is home a tourist destination.  It serves several purposes for a geography teacher.  One, it’s a great portal into a Central Asian country where most of my students don’t have any real reference points.  Two, the video highlights important geographic concepts such as tourism’s impact on indigenous cultures and globalization’s impact on previously isolated locations.  Three, this is a great case study for a cultural landscape analysis.  The video has some incredible juxtapositions; nomads wearing traditional clothes encountering adventure tourists outfitted in Patagonia gear, people in town cutting grass with scythes as well as gas lawn mowers, and traditional architectural styles intermixed with signs of modernity such as satellite antennas.  The physical and cultural landscapes in this are absolutely stunning and worth the twelve minutes of your time.

GeoEd Tags: landscape, Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, video, tourism, globalization.

My_Dear_Kyrgyz

Istanbul’s Proposed Canal: Big Business and Sweeping Consequences

Turkey

“The ambitious Canal Istanbul project could displace thousands of people, imperil the city’s tenuous water supply, and impact ocean life, critics say.”

Source: news.nationalgeographic.com

Istanbul’s location on the Bosporus has been vital to the Byzantine and Ottoman Empire as well as the modern state of Turkey.  This is one of those crucial chokepoints of global commerce like the Straits of Malacca, and the demands on both of these natural waterways will soon exceed their capacity.  Thailand is working on the Thai canal to relieve the pressures on the Straits of Malacca (and enrich themselves in the process); Nicaragua is also seeking to create an alternative to the Panama Canal which is in the process of expanding their locks to accommodate the massive container ships.

Istanbul is likewise looking to find other ways the keep their locational advantage as the gateway to the Black Sea region and beyond.  Projects on this grand of a scale have tremendous real estate, trading, transportation and even tourism impacts. They can also bring negative impacts to the local water supply, wildlife, other environmental concerns.  The bigger the project, the bigger the environmental risks and the greater the economic rewards.

GeoEd Tags: transportation, globalization, industry, economic, environment, political ecology, Turkey.

Scoop.it Tags: transportation, globalization, industry, economic, environment, political ecology, Turkey.

U.S. Trade Numbers

thailand-trade

“We offer a variety of resources on U.S. Export/Import Trade with the World with millions of free datasets.” Source: U.S. Trade Numbers

This data visualization tool is very reminiscent of the Atlas of Economic Complexity.  While the Atlas of Economic Complexity is better for exploring global trade patterns, this site adds a local impact to the global economy.  Users can explore the major port of entries and see what goods are entering or leaving the United States from particular cities as nodes in global transportation networks.  The permeability of borders are an economic necessity to take advantage of the economies of scale.

GeoEd TAGS:   statistics, transportation, globalization, industry, borders, economic.
Scoop.it Tags: statistics, transportation, globalization, industry, economic, borders, mapping.

Why Asia is the center of the world again

"Asians don’t think of themselves as Asian, but as the new Silk Roads re-emerge and propel Asia to the center of the world economy, Asians are rediscovering their greatness and forging a new Asian identity for the 21st century."

Source: www.youtube.com

When discussing global economic growth, it is impossible not to mention Asia. Parag Khanna is the author of the book, The Future is Asian, and in this TED talk he highlights how Asia is growing.  More importantly, he looks at how discrete Asian cultures are becoming more intermixed as the economic infrastructure of Asia becomes increasingly interconnected (a summary article is titled, We are all Asians Now).  His 2009 TED talk, Mapping the Future of Countries, about border conflicts, is an APHG classic.       

 

GeoEd Tags: regions, political, globalization, culture, economic, TED, video.

Scoop.it Tags: regionspolitical, globalization, culture, economic, TED, video.

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.

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.

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

How a Steel Box Changed the World: A Brief History of Shipping

“As the container shipping industry continues to boom, companies are adopting new technologies to move cargo faster and shifting to crewless ships. But it’s not all been smooth sailing and the future will see fewer players stay above water.”

Source: www.youtube.com

This WSJ video, similar to an animated TED-ED video, explains some of the geographic consequences of economic innovation. Containerization has remade the world we live in, and will continue to see it drive economic restructuring.  

 

Tags: transportationlabor, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

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