Geography 1400F/G Final: Exam Notes

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Lecture 6: Global Inequalities and Development
What is inequality?
-“Growing inequality is one of the biggest social, economic and political challenges of our time” - The
-The condition or an instance of being unequal or uneven
-Inequality occurs at various geographic scales:
Dimensions of inequality
-Wealth (remember this is broader than income)
-Health (and life expectancy)
-Social and basic necessities of life (e.g. food, water, etc.)
-Degree of technology and industrialization
Development Indicators
-Infant mortality rate
-Life expectancy at birth
-Total fertility rate
-Population growth rate
-Adult literacy
-Annual GDP per capita
Differences in Communication Connectivity
-Phone main lines
-Cellular subscribers
-Internet users
Income Inequality Within Country
-Large gap between urban and rural incomes
-Increasing gap over time
How can global inequality be explained?
Shape of Continents
-Civilization developed in some areas and not others
-Question: Why did civilization diffuse across great distances in certain regions but not in others?
-Answer: The shape of continents
-Diamond (1997): Agriculture technology spread easier in regions with an east-west alignment than north-
south due to similar climatic conditions
-Eurasia - east west
-Africa and America - south west
-Guns, germs and steel enabled europeans to dominate those they came into contact with
-Basic geographic circumstances give societies the ability to spread globally and dominate others
-Key Point
-Correlation between physical geography and human patterns (distribution, density, etc)
-Physical geography is related to development and inequality
-Relationships between economic development and:
-Climate (temperate ideal)
-Proximity to coast lines (access to water)
-Plays an enabling or constraining role
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-Temperate areas 100km of sea-navigable waterways produce 50%+ of global economic output – although they
account for only 8% of inhabited area of the globe
Dependency Theory
-Relies on a Marxist understanding of the colonial period
-For many human geographers, colonialism and subsequent relationships between ‘more’ and ‘less’ developed
countries best explains global inequalities
-All countries have a colonial history
-Even those that do not were affected by Europe’s dominance 1500-1945
-Colonialism led to economic dependence on the more developed countries
-Recently aid intended to promote development has just increased dependence
-Indigenous cultures and social structures became secondary to European structures
-Less powerful countries have lost power and control over their own affairs
World Systems Theory Wallerstein (1979)
-Examines global political, economic and social systems as an explanation for global inequalities
-Based on capitalism
-Vertical movement is difficult as other states have vested interests in keeping countries dependent
-Some areas have to remain underdeveloped for others to become developed
-Core countries are located in the north
-3 groups:
1. Core-countries (“the halves”)
-Are richer and more developed
-Far reaching political and economic power
-Advanced technologies and military power
-High living standards
-Strong enough to exploit or dominate other countries
-Receive the surpluses from elsewhere
-Canada, France, Germany, US, and UK
2. Semi Peripherals
-Partially dependent
-South Africa, Brazil and Argentina
3. The peripheral countries (“the halve-nots”)
-Are poor and less developed
-Wield little or no political, economic and military power at a global stage
-Population that is overwhelmingly poor and low standard of living
-Too week to ward off exploitation or domination by other countries
-Fiji, Mali, Sudan, Cambodia etc.
-Summary of world systems model:
-Peripheral countries are held captive by core countries, most notably:
-Draining their resources
-Deprived of growth by remaining largely food and raw material exporters
-Remaining importers of manufactured products
Some Recent Explanations
-Entrenched cultural narratives – undermine fairness, tolerance, and inclusion
-Rules of the economy – magnify unequal opportunity and outcomes
-Persistent prejudice – discrimination against women, ethnic, etc.
-A failure to invest in and protect vital public goods (e.g. education, and natural resources)
-Unequal access to government decision-making and resources
Aspects of Inequality
Identifying Global Inequalities
-The myth of race played an important part in european colonization of inferior races
-Some terminologies
-“First” vs “Second” vs “Third” World
-Global “North” vs Global “South”
-“Rich” vs “Poor” nations
-“More developed” vs “Less developed”
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-Less Developed World – A spectrum, categorized by:
-Relatively high rates of mortality and fertility
-Relatively low rates of literacy and industrialization
-Often best by political problems stemming from poor government, and ethnic or other rivalries
-Limited demographic data of quality
Specific Inequality: Income/Wealth Inequality
-Income inequality is the most visible aspects of a broader and more complex issue
-In developed and developing countries the poorest half controls less than 10% of wealth
-Estimated that half of the world’s wealth is in the hands of 1% of the population
Canada - Income Inequality
-Top 10% of Canadians median net worth grow by 42% since 2005 to $2.1 million in 2012
-Bottom 10% of Canadians median net worth shrink by 150%
-In 2012, their debts outweighed their assets by $5,100
-Bottom 50% of Canadians own 6% of the wealth
-Bottom 30% own 1%
Measuring Development
Defining Development
-Economic and social development has been measured in reference to GDP per capita or GNI per capita
-Serve as measurements of economy and of social development in health, education and quality of life
-Disagree with the measurements because it doesn't consider the spatial distribution of economic benefits or the
real life conditions
-For less developed countries the GDP may tell a lot about the wealthy minority
Measuring Development
-World development report measures development based on economic criteria
-Divides countries into; low income, lower middle income, upper middle income and high income
-Reflects a developmentalist bias which suggest as countries become technologically advanced they should
increase their GNI
-World bank admits that this measurement alone does not measure welfare or development
-Still provides a good understanding of global differences
Measuring Human Development
-UN’s human development report is meant to complement the GNI
-Concept of development focuses on the satisfaction of basic needs and environmental issues
-Uses data to conduct a HDI based on three development goals: life expectancy, education and income
-2010 HDI began incorporating inequalities (gender, income, health and education)
-Ranks countries relative to others
-Concerned with how development effects the majority poor in less developed worlds
-Measured from 1.000 - 0.000
-The worlds HDI has increased over time
1. Economic Growth Measures
-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - total value of all goods and services produced in a country
-Components of GDP
-Y = C+I+V+(X-M)
-Government spending
-Limitations of GDP
1. Wealth distribution - poverty in Canada is 21% of pop is “poor”
2. Non-market transaction
3. Underground economy
4. Non-monetary economy
5. Quality of goods
6. Quality improvements and inclusion of new product
7. Stability of growth
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