Geography 400 at ric
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The Voices of China's Workers

TED Talks In the ongoing debate about globalization, what's been missing is the voices of workers -- the millions of people who migrate to factories in China and other emerging countries to make goods sold all over the world.


Our collective understanding of modern industrialization and globalization needs to go beyond the binary of "oppressors" and "victims."  This lecture explores the voices and lives of Chinese workers that we so often simply see as simply victims of a system, but are full of ambition and agency. 

 

Tags: industry, globalization, labor, China, TED. 


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Allen's insight:

This is an interesting video.  Leslie Chang was able to gain such perspective from the girls who work in China's factories.  Learning about how the girls are optimistic about their future.  They don't want the Coach Bag or IPhone they are making- it would take months for them to afford it...  They want an education and social mobility.  It was uplifiting to hear that factory workers want education and more out of life, however as mentioned- they are "invisible"  We (Westerners) avoid the idea that people in China working for next to nothing in response to our lifestyle and demands. This also makes you think about when you see a product that is considered an 'American Classic'  it does not mean made in America.        Elizabeth Allen  

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Ryli Smith's comment, May 5, 2013 2:55 PM
In these Chinese factories, they don't view these jobs as harsh or poor treatment because this is better than how they would be doing back in their villages. They want these jobs so bad because they will give them a better life. Also, you have to remember that not all of these Chinese factory workers want to have an iPhone or a Coach purse or Nike shoes, because those things don't have any worth in their culture.
Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 2014 5:26 PM

The plight of Chinese workers today is incredibly great. This TED talks explains the situations many in China find themselves in the terrible conditions they must work in. While us in the west see this as unthinkable China's model for success and expansion comes at the cost of their workforce who are subjugated to poor working conditions as very low pay. The real hope for this to change is for the nation as a whole to become wealthy enough that these workers will be able to demand fair wages and work environments. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 17, 2014 11:08 PM

These workers do see their jobs as opportunities. This video is a great eye opener for people who tend to fall into the trap of looking at globalization as a system of haves and have nots. 

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Worker safety in China

This is an incredible video because of the shocking footage of blatant disregard for worker safety.  This can lead to an interesting discussion concerning how China has been able to have its economy grow.  What other ways has China (or Chinese companies) been "cutting corners?"  How does that give them a competitive edge on the global industrial market?     

 

My heart was in my throat watching this video. Is that the procedure for demolishing the entire building? Ironically this was to clear way because the Olympics were being held in Bejing. There is some irony here, representatives from other travelling down that main road would be appalled to see these working conditions. And for little pay on top of risking their lives.   According to the National.ae.com, close to 80,000 people died in 2010 due to unsafe working conditions.

Elizabeth Allen


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Jason Schneider's curator insight, April 2, 2015 9:45 PM

China has one of the strongest economies in the world. However, I think sometimes, China takes that for granted. They think that just because they have a strong economy, they don't have to worry about safe working environments and they have nothing to lose if something happens to someone. As much as I'm sure China gives good paychecks to manufactured workers because of its wealth, there are some jobs, such as this one, that they think they don't have to pay enough. However at the same time, it's not China's fault. Sometimes, it's the workers faults for not using common sense while working, I'm a firm believer in "work smarter, not harder."

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 1, 2015 4:32 PM

Well nobody ever accused China of being a Union favoring country.  These people are risking their lives because its their job.  This is a country where you have very little leeway to argue for benefits.  If they want to do this, then come to the US.  Although I wonder why they don't just use dynamite?  Faster and few people are involved.  

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 14, 2015 9:37 PM

Based on the video and the safety of the Chinese workers they tame no precautions to staying safe. If they have this much lack of safety for themselves then how do they regard the safety of the people around them. As China is and has cities up and coming to mega cities with high rises and exponential expanding then how do they create their buildings? As fast as they went up and the city was created then how stable are their buildings?

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Globalization, Corporations and Franchises

Globalization, Corporations and Franchises | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it

McDonald's and Starbucks can be seen as emblematic of the forces of globalization and the 'victors' of process as forcefully displayed in this graphic.  The local distinctive menu (not to mention the chef with a flair) typically loses out to the replicable, standardized and the familiar.  How come?  When is this not the case?  How does this change economics or culture? As a counter-point to globalization benefiting the chains, see how 'Yelp!' is reducing chains market share at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/how-yelp-is-killing-chain-restaurants/2011/10/03/gIQAokJvHL_blog.html

 

 

Many compnaies have to adapt to different cultures. Globalization is part of going outside the norm. Or what is considered the norm in one country is far different than the norm of another.  For business' to strive they have to satisfy the needs of the consumers.  Elizabeth Allen


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M1 ECOM - EJCAM 2015's curator insight, February 11, 2015 3:50 PM

Le graphique ci dessus  représente l'importante des entreprises agro-alimentaires américaines dans le phénomène de Mondialisation : concernant les ventes,  McDonald's arrive en première position suivi de Burger King et KFC. Mc Donald's est l'emblème de l'implantation américaine dans les pays du monde entier. 

Isabella El-Hage's curator insight, March 18, 2015 5:03 PM

This article links to Unit Three through "Globalization". This image shows how McDonald's and Starbucks has connected different parts of the world. Even these two power stores are seen everywhere, and some may argue it can result in place-lessness, this image shows how it can interconnect different countries. Starbucks depends on 19 different countries to make a single cup, and gets products from some of the richest and some of the poorest countries. McDonald's is seen around the world, and adapts to the different countries it has stores in. McDonald's employs more than 1.5 million people, and makes $41 billion in revenue. These two global stores are examples of globalization. 

Raychel Johnson's curator insight, May 24, 2015 9:07 PM

Summary: This graph shows where Starbucks and McDonald's is mostly consumed, as well as the revenues that they make compared to other restaurants as well as the country of Afghanistan. It also shows where the resources come from that go into one cup of coffee. This graph really emphasizes how pop culture has diffused across the world, and how it affects economies and how it ties in many different countries into the simple process of making a cup of coffee. 

 

Insight: This is a pretty clear example of globalization and how things like food can spread to become a part of worldwide culture. This also shows the division of labour by showing where the coffee, paper, and sugar come from that go into coffee. This can demonstrate which countries are developed and developing through the division of labour.

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Turbulence on the Mekong River

Turbulence on the Mekong River | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
The Mekong River was once a wild and primitive backwater. Today, growing demands for electricity and rapid economic growth are changing the character of what is the world's 12th-longest river.

 

Economic progress for some often entails job loss and environmental degradation for others.  The once isolated and remote Mekong is experiences some impacts of globalization with residents having mixed feelings about the prospects. 

 

The technological resources from the Mekong River are needed to keep up with population demands suchs as electricity.  However in building dams, the wildlife and naturalness on the river is being stolen.  Farmers and fishermen fear that fish will be destroyed and blocked by the dams.  They are already noticing effects from upstream- the work China has done on the river is effecting Laos' societies.  Elizabeth Allen


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Emma Lafleur's curator insight, April 30, 2013 8:03 PM

It seems to be a theme that across the bored, people are building things that directly and negatively impact the environment and the local people. There are always two sides to the problem. On one hand, the dam can help with the development of Laos because it will bring in money, but it will also destroy the fish population and therefore many fishermen will lose their jobs and people will lose a food source. It is a difficult problem because Laos needs money because there is a lot of poverty in this rural country and the fishermen do not add a whole lot to the economy, but the people need a way to survive and make money for their families as well. It's a problem that I think will be around for generation to come.

Al Picozzi's curator insight, November 26, 2013 11:35 AM

Seems the price of modernizing will be the local economy that as existed here for centuries.  It is not a small industy either, it is according to the report a billion dollar fishing industry.  However with a growing population and a demand for electricity the river is the perfect source for this power.  This globalization, like all globalization, will help some and will hurt some.  What you have to ask yourself is will it help more than it hurts?  Will it help in the long run, over time?  For everyone involoved in globalization these answeres are never the same everywhere.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 15, 2014 9:21 PM

The Mekong river is a river that many fisherman in Laos depend on for food and income. Plans to build dams that will cause the fish to seek an alternate route to migrate upstream. Critics of the dams say that the dams will cause the fish to abandon the Mekong river and go through their neighboring rivers, leaving the residents without a source of income. Many in favor of the dams say the reverse, that building the dams will boost economy and cause the area to flourish.

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Brazil's economy overtakes UK's

Brazil's economy overtakes UK's | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
Brazil has overtaken the UK as the world's sixth largest economy, the Centre for Economics and Business Research says.

 

The "BRIC" countries are surging forward and are seen as major players in the global economy (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Brazil just recently past the U.K. as the 6th largest economy.  China passed Japan not more than a year ago.    Furthermore, Russia and India are poised to pass the traditional European economic powers (U.K., Germany, France and Italy) by 2020.  In this restructuring of the global economy, what will the impacts be on various regions of the world? 

 

The statistics prove that Brazil is higher ranking economically that the UK. Brazil is succeeding economically. It must have to with their natural resources and financial gains of exporting goods.  Brazil is economically expanding.  Elizabeth Allen


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Cam E's curator insight, February 11, 2014 11:46 AM

BRIC has always interested me as an alternative to the traditional centers of economic power. The four BRIC countries are all powerful up and comers and their positioning all around the world and lack of cultural commonality make them a very intriguing force.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 11:55 AM

The rise of the BRIC countries shows that the global economy is changing due to globalization. Now that transportation is cheaper, communication is more fluid, and economies can intermingle easier than before, countries can be more competitive with previous economic powers. I find it interesting that it is likely that in the next century we will see the US slipping further down this list.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 1, 2015 8:01 AM

While this may seem surprising, this event should not be taken as such. Countries such as China, Russia, India and Brazil are becoming more powerful with the passing of each day. The biggest challenges to the United States are China and Russia. They are the only nations who can compete with us on both a political and economic scale. Russia is currently causing the most issues. Putin is an agitator on the world stage. I truly believe that it is his desire to recreate the great Russian Empire of old. His continued medaling around the globe will be a serious threat for the foreseeable future. China is the longer term threat. They are the only ones who possess the economic abilities to compete with us. Brazil and India, while growing are still not any were near us in terms of political or economic strength. Our government should do all it can, to foster good relationships with these nations. Especially sense are relationships with China and Russia are problematic at the moment.