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Geography 1400F/G Study Guide - Final Guide: Subsistence Agriculture, Cultural Landscape, International Inequality

Course Code
GEOG 1400F/G
Godwin Arku
Study Guide

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Geography 1400 Final Exam Notes
Lecture 6
Growing inequality is one of the biggest social, economic, and political challenges
What is inequality?
oAn instance or the condition of being unequal or uneven
Dimensions of inequality: income, wealth, education, health, gender, political, social,
Explaining Global Inequalities
Two categories of answers:
oUnderstanding why certain areas of the world experienced cultural development
and agricultural domestication
oUnderstanding the relations between different parts of the world since European
Evolution of Culture and the Domestication of Agriculture
Two key developments facilitated the formation of early social groups
Early way of life: hunting, gathering, scavenging
The Beginnings of Civilization
Agricultural and cultural developments lead to civilization
Civilization: a culture with sophisticated economy, political system, and social structure
oThe beginning of global inequality
oThose who experienced civilization developed more
What specific changes gave rise to the beginnings of civilization?
oHydraulic hypothesis: introduction of irrigation increased agricultural
oCoercion: population pressure forced intensification of agriculture
oClass differences: developed as a consequence of wealth accumulated by those
who owned domesticated animals
oClimate challenges: warming climate restricted rainfall causing farmers to
Early civilizations: involved changes in non-material culture
The Shape of the Continents
Why did civilization diffuse across great distances in certain regions but not in others?
oAgricultural technology spread easier in east-west alignment than north-south
due to similar climate (e.g. easier for Eurasia than for Africa and the Americas)
Physical geography is related to development and inequality
Relationships between economic development and
oClimate (ideal temperature)
oProximity to coast lines (access to water), navigable waterways
oThese play an enabling or constraining role
Dependency Theory
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Colonialism and relationships between more- and less- developed countries best
explains inequalities
Colonialism led to economic dependence
World Systems Theory (Wallerstein)
Global political, economic, and social systems explain current global inequalities
More developed countries (core) benefit from these systems by receiving surplus
produced elsewhere (semi-periphery and periphery)
Vertical movement is difficult as other states have vested interests
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, ethnics, etc.
Failure to invest in and protect important public goods (education, natural resources)
Unequal access to government decision making and resources
Identifying Global Inequalities
Less developed world:
oHigh rates of mortality and fertility
oLow rates of literacy and industrialization
oPolitical problems from poor government, and ethnic or other rivalries
oLimited demographic data of quality
Specific Inequality: Income/Wealth Inequality
Income inequality is most visible aspect of a broader issue
oHalf of the world’s wealth is in the hands of 1% of population
Top Solutions to Income Inequality
Asia: improved education, tax policy, redistribution
Europe: tax policy, improved education, redistribution
North America: tax policy, improved education, redistribution
Latin America: improved education, tax policy, social welfare policy
Middle East & North Africa: job creation, tax policy, social welfare policy
Sub-Saharan Africa: job creation, workforce development, improved education
Consequences of Inequality: Population and Food
Access to food is unevenly distributes across space
Lack of food can be in terms of quantity (undernutrition) or quality (malnutrition)
Food aid does little to help as it does not address the root cause of the issue
oCan create dependency
oCan reduce incentive to grow food
Explaining Food Shortages
Traditional explanations: overpopulation, inadequate distribution of supplies, physical
or human circumstances
Contemporary explanations
oEconomic: inflated food prices, encourage farmers to grow exports not staples
oPolitical: underinvestment in rural areas, disease, population growth
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oClimate: variability effect (El Nino effect – drought and flood, climate change
Food Inequality Solutions
Improve the quality of peasant farming
Reorient farming towards staples
Consequences of Inequality: Refugees
Refugees: individuals forced to move from their homeland
Flow typically from less developed to more developed countries
Some flow to countries close by
Current migrations caused by political issues (e.g. civil war, ethnic war)
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) addresses issues related to
Refugees: The Problem of Today
1. Problem of legitimacy of refugees in host society
2. Differentiating ‘legitimate’ and ‘false’ claimants
3. Logistical difficulties in counting refugees (provided inaccurate data)
4. Infrastructure to contain them
5. Need for aid and support
6. Security concerns
7. Health implications
8. Cultural implications
Refugees: Key Characteristics
Majority are women and children
Most move to adjacent country, but some move far away
Most live in a country economically less developed
Refugees: Solutions
UNHCR solutions:
oVoluntary repatriation
Challenge: they may not want to go back due to state of country
oLocal settlement
Challenge: integration can be difficult
oResettlement in some other country
Challenge: must find which countries are willing to host them
Recent suggestion: attacking the underlying causes of the problem
oChallenge: ignores the needs of the current people who are affected
Dangers of Inequality (*KNOW)
1. Excluded people feel disenfranchised
2. Society prone to conflict threatens peaceful societies
3. Reduces sustainability of economic growth
4. Weakening of social cohesion and security
5. Encourages inequitable access to and use of global commons
6. Undermines democracies
7. Cripples hopes for sustainable development
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