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Lecture 3

Week 3 Lecture 1 GEOG 2200 2013 Notes.docx

15 Pages

Course Code
GEOG 2200
John Milton

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Page1GEOG 2200 Global ConnectionsJohn Milton Instructor SeptemberDecember 2013Week 3Lecture 1 Consumption and Beyond Connections through Consumption and ManufacturingWe are all connected in a complex web of relationsas consumers as workers as citizens of states and even as capitalists through our investments in the market We all are part of the economic worldWe are all consumersWhile we operate at different scales in different ways as consumers we truly operate at the global scale and not necessarily out of choice either As I have said before read the label of the clothing that you consider buying Where is it from What about the new electronics What does the shipping box say on the outside How about the new furniture that you are considering buying Behind each such label lies a complex story that couldand often doesspan continentsWe all consume things Consumption can be defined as those processes involved in the sale purchase and use of commodities Mansvelt 20056 Therefore we are not talking about the manufacturing process per se Consumption is the end goal of production or more accurately it is the other side of the coin to the manufacturing or production process We are told that we live in the consumer society that our economy is consumer driven and it is For most people it is a central feature of contemporary society although it is often takenforgranted But while such everyday activities may seem mundane and trivial Crang 2005 would argue they are of considerable economic and cultural importanceCompanies produce goods to sell If they dont sell the products they produce these companies cease to exist In economic terms the sale of commodities is crucial in enabling firms to generate revenue and profit fuelling the process of economic growth through the circuit of capital Major corporations and brands such as CocaCola McDonalds and Nike focus increasingly on marketing and sales activities while outsourcing actual production to a range of suppliers at the global scale The spread and influence of such brands has become an important dimension of the process of globalization raising concerns about the creation of a global consumer culture erasing the distinctiveness of local cultures and placesThe advance economies of the world including Canada are described as mass consumption economiesThe consumer and hisher spending habits are seen as driving the economy The retail sector has become increasingly important as a source of employment particularly in the core economies In the US for example retail is the second largest industry in terms of paid employment accounting for 124 of all business establishments and nearly 12 of all employment Particular retailers such as a Costco or WalMart also exercise great power over other manufacturers and suppliers through their supply chains In cultural terms the consumer is often cited as the reason for producing goods and organizing services in particular ways But the implications of these changes can be serious Miller 1995 wrote that in this sense the consumer has become a kind of global dictator with the demands of affluent northern consumers in particular determining how goods are produced and services are delivered throughout the world economyPage2
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