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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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globalization

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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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.

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

 

When Rich Places Want to Secede

At the core of Catalonia’s separatist movement is an argument that a country’s better-off regions shouldn’t have to pay to cover their less productive counterparts.

 

As a relatively rich region with its own independence movement, Catalonia’s not alone: A small set of secession movements in historically productive areas, most visibly in Europe, say they’d be better off on their own, and more are pointing to Catalonia’s example to regain momentum.

The common wisdom used to be that separatist movements mostly came from weak minorities that rallied around racial or ethnic injustices. “With globalization, that changed significantly,” said Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, a professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics (LSE). “Virtually everywhere in the world,” movements have swapped out the “identity card” for the “economic card.”

Inequality between regions is baked into the entire concept of modern nationhood—if subsidizing poorer parts of a country were motivation enough to split off, every region would have done it by now. Plus, there are economic perks to staying together: Trade is easier across internal borders, and diversified regions diffuse risk.

 

Tags: Cataloniaeconomic, political, devolution, autonomyEurope.

Source: www.theatlantic.com

How a Texas grocery chain kept running after Hurricane Harvey

“One of my stores, we had 300 employees; 140 of them were displaced by the flooding. So how do you put your store back together quickly? We asked for volunteers in the rest of the company. We brought over 2,000 partners from Austin, San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley. They hopped into cars and they just drove to Houston. They said, we’re here to help. For 18 hours a day, they’re going to help us restock and then they’ll go sleep on the couch at somebody’s house.”

Source: www.linkedin.com

Natural disasters complicate the logistics that make our modern economy run.  We take these flows for granted–until they are disrupted. This article is a excellent view into how to operate when disaster strikes. 

 

Tagseconomicindustry, laborglobalizationplace, transportation.

Amazon Is Building a Colossal Warehouse Where America’s Biggest Mall Once Stood

“The Seattle-based internet book seller Amazon just announced plans to open an enormous fulfillment center in the North Randall, Ohio. This is a big deal for the small community which has suffered greatly since the Randall Park Mall, once the largest in America, shut down due to retail sales moving online. Amazon is actually building its new warehouse on the same land where the mall once stood. The irony of this is lost on no one.”

Source: gizmodo.com

Questions to Ponder: Where is the geography in this new development?  What economic forces are shaping and reshaping places?

 

Tagseconomicindustry, laborglobalizationplace, transportation.

Self-driving technology and highway trucks with no one at the wheel

Technological innovation and automation are transforming entire industries. As self-driving trucks hit the road, what could possibly go wrong?

Source: www.youtube.com

What jobs can be automated?  This is a question I ask all of my students because job disruption is something that every future wage earner should consider as they plan out their careers.  Would you be outsource-able? Could technology render your skill set unnecessary in the future?  What are the impacts of creative destruction on the economic, cultural, and political characteristics of a place?  How would those changes impact regions? 

 

Tagseconomicindustry, laborglobalizationtransportation, unit 6 industry.

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