Class Notes (838,347)
Canada (510,861)
Geography (946)
GEOG 2RC3 (90)

4 Canadas Economic Geography.docx

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Walter Peace

Canada’s Economic Geography -middle economic power -not as high as China or US -smallest economy of G8 countries (US, Japan, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Canada) -Canada/US each other’s largest trading partner -78.9% of Canada’s exports in 2007 went to the US -Canada – net exporter of commodities (US is the net importer) -general sector model of economic development -evolution of an economy/society from pre-industrial to post-industrial 1) Decrease in primary sector employment (resources) 2) Increase, then decrease in secondary sector employment (manufacturing) 3) Increase in tertiary sector employment (services) **diagram -gross domestic product (GDP): a measure of the value of goods and services produced by the domestic economy -primary sector – 6.2% of GDP -secondary sector – 17.3% -tertiary sector – 76.5% -staples theory of economic development -economic growth based on export of natural resources -resource-based economy driven by external demand -classic exports of Canada – fish, fur, timber (Harold Innis, 1930) -economic region: a geographic area characterized by distinct economic activities (ex: industrial region, agricultural region) -regional disparities: long-term, chronic differences between regions as measured by objective indicators of well-being (income, employment) -ex: Atlantic Canada vs. Industrial Heartland -heartland-hinterland (core-periphery) -an abstract theory that explains how the capitalist economic system evolved into distinct spatial units -heartland/core regions: favoured areas; industrialized, urbanized -Canada – southern Ontario, southern Quebec; Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowland -hinterland/periphery regions: resource producing regions which supply core regions with raw materials, energy, food -Canada – Atlantic Canada, Territorial North -core region – southern Ontario/Quebec -upward transitional region – BC -downward transitional region – Atlantic Canada -resource frontier – Territorial North -Western Canada is varied -space economy: the distribution and location of economic activities -spatial pattern of resource extraction and the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services -economies of scale: benefits/advantages/savings associated with increasing level of output -as output increases, the per unit cost of production decreases -apple analogy – 1 is 25 cents, a bunch is 10 cents each -significant trends since 1970s: 1) Natural resources no longer play a major role in shaping the geography of Canada’s natural economy -still important, but no longer capable of changing the map of settlement or altering regional political power balance -BUT natural resources are the basis for the recent westward shift in the balance of political/economic power – 2011 was the first year that more Canadians lived west of Ontario 2) Deeper integration of Canada/US economies -Free Trade Agreement (1988), NAFTA (1993) -BUT we see the thickening of the border 3) Recognition that Canada’s economic future is tied to the knowledge economy rather than the traditional resource-based economy -recent trends based in globalization -globalization: emergence of capitalism as a truly worldwide mode of organizing economic activity, and as the most powerful basis for allocating resources -earnings/income: -median family income = $68,860 -spatial variation in median family income -Nunavut = $58,590 -Alberta = $86,080 -Newfoundland = $59,320 -NWT = $98,530 -what about income distribution? -top 10% of families – average income $185,000 -bottom 10% of families – average income $10,341 -1980-2000 – top 1% of Canadians have almost doubled their share of the national income from 7.6% to 13.6% -plutocracy: society ruled by the wealthy -Lorenz curve depicts income inequality -line of perfect equality – 45 degree angle -greater curvature – greater inequality -Gini Coefficient – higher value = greater inequality (0 = complete equality, 1 = complete inequality) Poverty in Canada -low-income cutoff (LICO): families spending more than 59% of its income on necessities (food, shelter, clothing) -straightened circumstances -the average Canadian family spends 39% of its income on necessities -some social agencies define poverty as low income relative to the average/median income of Canadians -poverty is relative -other groups define poverty as the inability of a family to buy a prescribed basket of goods (Fraser Institute) -poverty is absolute -policy response to poverty depends on view of poverty – relative/absolute -variation in LICO, depending on size of community and rural/urban Explaining Poverty -culture of poverty -poverty results from the internal pathology of deviant groups -is this blaming the victim? -cycle of poverty -poverty results from individual inadequacies being transmitted from one generation to the next -blaming the victim? -institutional malfunctioning -poverty is rooted in the failure of the state -the state does a poor job in planning for and administering to those in need -is it too easy to blame the state? -inequitable distribution of resources -poverty is the inevitable outcome of capitalism -capitalism features “haves” and “have-nots” -but resources/wealth can be redistributed if the political will to do so exists -labour market theory -poverty is the result of differential wages paid in different job sectors -but this only looks at one segment of society -dealing with many different possible explanations, and it is not possible to point to any one thing – really a combination of these factors -the big picture: -poverty is caused by a range of factors -poverty produces a range of consequences -the causes and consequences are interdependent and difficult to separate -poor because they have a poor education, or have a poor education because they are poor -constellation of factors Trends -increasing number of single-parent (mostly women) families in poverty -for all age groups, more women are poor than men -wage gap -spatial patterns: -local scale – inner city (poor) versus suburbs (rick) -regional scale – regional disparities -changing profile of socio-economic status -shrinking of the middle class -rich get richer, poor get poorer -socio-economic stratum no longer looks like a pyramid *diagram Poverty in Hamilton -1/5 Hamilton residents lived on incomes below LICO in 2000 -poverty concentrated below the escarpment -60% of families experienced an overall decrease in average income between 1990 and 2000 -specific population groups experienced disproportionately higher levels of poverty -visible minorities, Aboriginals, disabled, youth, seniors, single mothers -ultimately, poverty is a product of income levels and affordability -1996-2006 – poverty rate declined to just under 90,000 people -2001-2006 – number of full-time workers living below the poverty line increased 22% to 10,155 -rise of the working poor -LICO thresholds: -1 person – $20,778 -3 persons – $31,801 -5 persons – $43,791 -7 persons – $54,987 -figures tend to underestimate the number of people who are poor -should be skeptical of these numbers -preoccupation with numbers – lose sight of the fact that there are people behind them -2006 – median individual income $26,404 -Beasley neighbourhood -population 5,000 -unemployment 45% -average household income less than half the Hamilton average -poverty rate 2.5x higher than the city average -56% below the LICO -social assistance rate 23x the provincial average -poorest neighbourhood in Hamilton, one of 20 poorest in Canada What to do? -National Council of Welfare -public cost of poverty in Canada - $25 billion a year and increasing, while the poverty rate remains unchanged -federal government urged to take a long-term investment approach to prevent poverty – focus on education -“Canada could save billions of dollars
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