China announces it will relax its one-child policy and abolish labor camps, the state-run Xinhua news agency reports.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
|Suggested by Kara Charboneau|
China announces it will relax its one-child policy and abolish labor camps, the state-run Xinhua news agency reports.
"I recently saw this map in a Washington Post article about modern day slavery and was immediately was struck by the spatial extent and amount of slaves in today’s global economy. As stated in that article, “This is not some softened, by-modern-standards definition of slavery. These 30 million people are living as forced laborers, forced prostitutes, child soldiers, child brides in forced marriages and, in all ways that matter, as pieces of property, chattel in the servitude of absolute ownership.” This map shows some important spatial patterns that seem to correlate to economic and cultural factors."
This Washington Post article got me thinking about the geographies of supply chains. The growing spread of the informal economy (a.k.a.-illicit trade, black market, etc.) has created opportunities for exploitation. Many argue that free trade was created this power differential between the laborers who create these mass-manufactured products and the global consumers. These critics argue that fair-trade, not free trade, with lead to sustainable economic growth and minimize social injustice. Here is a NY Times article about how Mauritania is now confronting it's slavery past and present.
Questions to Ponder: What economic and cultural forces are needed for slavery to thrive? What realistically could be done to lessen the amount of slavery in the world today? How are your spending habits part of the system?
Additionally, this TED video (archived on scoop.it here) is a chilling glimpse into the worst and darkest side of the global labor system.
Factories are finding that years of doing business overseas has withered what once was a thriving textile and apparel work force in the United States.
Historically, waves of immigrants came to the United States to work in textile mills. Since 1990, 77% of manufacturing jobs have been outsourced to places with lower wages as the industry has become automated. Today though, specialty items that still need to done by hand are coming back to the U.S. and wages in that sector are rising as American consumers want a "made in the USA" label.
"Recent news stories discussed why geography is important to an informed and engaged society. To those of us in the geospatial profession, basic geography education is an essential foundation to encouraging young people to enter the workforce in surveying, photogrammetry, GIS and other disciplines in our field."
While many in the geography education business bemoan student's lack of global awareness as a rationale for geography education, this is the key angle that I feel we should be pushing: the workforce. We currently are not producing enough students with geospatial skills in the United States to fill the jobs (one of the problems with geography being classified as a social science). Now that is a practical reason to support geography that non-geographers can understand.
Laxmi's story of being kidnapped and trafficked in Nepal is not an isolated case but, as this graphical account shows, things are not always what they seem.
Teaching about human trafficking and child slavery can be very disconcerting and uncomfortable. How much of the details regarding these horrific situations is age-appropriate and suitable for the classroom? The BBC is reporting on events with sensitive stories to both give a human face to the story, while protecting the identity of under-aged victims (to read about the production of this comic, read Drawing the News.) I encourage you to use your own discretion, but I find this comicbook format an accessible, informative and tasteful way to teach about human trafficking in South Asia to minors. It is a powerful way to teach about some hard (but important) aspects of globalization and economics.
As geographer Shaunna Barnhart says concerning this comic, "It moves from trafficking to child labor to pressures for migration for wage labor and the resulting injustices that occur. There's differential access to education, gender inequality, land, jobs, and monetary resources that leads to inter- and intra-country trafficking of the vulnerable. In the search for improved quality of life, individuals become part of a global flow of indentured servitude which serves to exploit their vulnerabilities and exacerbate inequalities and injustice. Nepali children 'paid' in food and cell phones that play Hindi music in 'exchange' for work in textile factories - cell phones that are themselves a nexus of global resource chains and textiles which in turn enter a global market - colliding at the site of child labor which remains largely hidden and ignored by those in the Global North who may benefit from such labor."
If Pyongyang is as bent on war as it wants us to believe, why is it keeping the inter-Korean Kaesong industrial complex open?
News reports coming out of North Korea are grim and threatening right now. However, this Washington Post article argues that it might be all for show. The Kaesong Industrial Complex was opened in 2002 as a gesture of peace. Located just across the northern side of the border, it is staffed by South and North Koreans (South Korea get super cheap labor, North Korea gets an infusion of currency, both get positive PR). The Kaesong Industrial Complex continues to operate with the permission of the North Korean government. Were that to ever change and North Korea shut down this joint venture, THEN we'll know that they are serious. Watch this short video for an overview of the geopolitical situation on the Korean peninsula as of March 2013.
Executives have recently focused attention on Silicon Valley's workplace culture. While companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo operate by their own set of rules, what happens there may influence how many Americans work.
How does the spatial layout of a workplace impact productivity and corporate culture? "Google has spent a lot of time studying what makes workplaces innovative and casual interactions are important. Sullivan lists three factors to make that set companies apart: learning by interaction, collaborations and fun." Spaces that encourage interaction and collaboration increase productivity. Spaces that are 'fun' help facilitate a vibrant community and deepens worker loyalty.
"77 Photos of the mass production of the Earth's natural resources. In the picture above, a Tibetan villager works in a salt field. Salt has been the most common food preservative, especially for meat, for thousands of years."
Coal, steel, gold, iron, copper, aluminum and oil are all incredibly important commodities. Agricultural products such as rice, cotton, corn, wheat and coffee all travel far beyond their area of origin. Where do these resources come from? How are they produced? This gallery of 77 pictures is a fantastic tour of the resources that are key cogs in the global economy.
In a surprising move, President Obama proposed during the State of the Union address to increasing the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.
This made many people ask the question "how many countries have minimum wages?" Nearly all countries in the world have a minimum wage or a partial minimum wage.
What would the perfect immigration system look like? We asked three economists to dream big.
This is an intriguing podcast focused on how to best manage national borders if the only goal were to strengthen the economy (they center the conversatri on the United States). These economists envision plans with more incentives to attract a labor force that is more highly-skilled is crucial to having a rational migration policy. How how you manage the borders if you were in charge? How would your plan strengthen the country?
Of all the changes announced by the 2011 census, one of the most startling is the rapid change in the ethnic composition of London's population.
The fact the immigrants moving to the UK have flocked to London is not surprising (View a map of the census data). Immigration isn't the only component to this situation. White Britons are also leaving London in large number, prompting some to refer to this as "White Flight." Today, white Britons are no longer the majority population within London (but still the largest ethnic group). Some feel that this story has gone underreported and deserves more analysis. What elements of human geography should an observer of this situation use in their analysis?
A different perspective of Paul Harvey's "God made a Farmer." In reference to the foreign-owned Chrysler Corp. that showed a similar video that aired during ...
As a cultural production this is fascinating reshaping of the original Chrysler Super Bowl commercial. The original doubles as a tribute to a rural America of yesteryear and American labor. This one acts as a critique on the status on Latino workers in the United States. The audio is the same, with images that conjure out entirely different messages (here is an irreverent parody).
And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer. God said, "I need somebody willing to ge...
This Super Bowl commercial for trucks also doubles as a tribute to a rural America of yesteryear in general, and for farmers more specifically. While some may object to the overtly religious references of video, I feel that it reflects the cultural ethos of the Midwest, but more importantly, the market research shows that this religious appeal would resonate with the truck-purchasing demographic that this commercial is trying to influence. This commercial was cleverly critiqued in this video, "See God made a (Latino) Farmer" and in this irreverant parody.
A Greek exit from the euro has become a bomb fizzling at the heart of the eurozone. What could happen if it explodes?
This is still all speculation, but this speculation is grounded in the very real possibility that Greece may leave the Eurozone. This one possible scenario would have a profound ripple effect throughout the European Union and beyond. This interactive explores each of these 8 possible results.
Flashmob en Madrid (España) organizado por el programa de radio CARNE CRUDA 2.0 Martes y jueves, 16:00, http://www.carnecruda20.es Lunes, miércoles y viernes...
I have previously posted on how successful flashmobs often times use public places in a way that symbolically merges the meaning of that space with the message of the that place. This is a fabulous example of that and I find it incredibly moving and poignant, given the recent economic woes of southern Europe.
As Jordan Weismmann said about this flashmob in the Atlantic, "I'm not sure if this video is more heartbreaking or heartwarming, but it pretty well captures what's going on in Europe's economy right now. While the day-to-day drama of the continent's debt crisis has subsided, painful austerity measures have helped leave huge swaths of the population jobless. In Spain, unemployment is at 25 percent."
Many teachers use Billy Joel's classic song and music video Allentown as a teaching tool to introduce the topic of deindustrialization in the Rust Belt of the United States. This alternative music video version adds some useful teaching images to help students contextualize the lyrics. Another song to consider using is Telegraph Road by Dire Straits; the song follows a town as it industrialized and as it later deindustrialized.
The problems with the economy are not universally spread throughout society. Certain segments are impacted more than others by the current struggles, especially when with look at axes of identity, such as class, gender and ethnicity. While planning on a blue-collar job in the 1950s could have been a solid career plan for a young man in the United States, not so in the 21st century.
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.
A film from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, adapted from the 1958 essay by Leonard E. Read.
This year's Geography Awareness Week's theme was "Declare Your Interdependence!" The GAW poster for 2012 focused on the Geography of a Pencil and this video works together nicely as a supplement to that poster. You may see the economics of capitalism and globalization in a less optimistic light than Leonard Read, but the theme of interconnectedness makes this a great resource.
If you were moving abroad, what would you want to know? Find out the results from the largest ever global independent survey of expats. Gain a unique insight into how expat life differs across the globe.
The labor market is increasingly becoming a global market. These countries are the leading places for expatriate workers based on economic and experience factors (according to a survey by HSBC). You can adjust the criteria to see how these 30 countries as destinations for workers that aren't afraid to move internationally.
The 17-nation bloc had a jobless rate of 11.6 per cent in September, while inflation eased slightly in the last month.
Although some countries in the Eurozone have lower unemployment rates like Austria (4.4%) and Germany (5.4%), more are in the worst collective tailspin since the creation of the common currency. Spain has the worst unemplyment rate at 25.8% of the adult population out of work. It has taken a nasty cultural and political turn as resentments and frustrations are boiling over in the Eurozone. Some are derisively referring to the struggling southern European countries as P.I.G.S. (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain).
TED Talks For the past two years, photographer Lisa Kristine has traveled the world, documenting the unbearably harsh realities of modern-day slavery.
This is a chilling glimpse into the worst and darkest side of the economic systems of geography and labor in the world. It is estimated that there are more than 25 million people who today live in state that can be described as modern-day slavery. We should not discuss slavery only in the past tense, and yet it conflicts with how most people conceptualize the world today.
Questions to Ponder: How can this even be happening in the 21st century? What geographic and economic forces lead to these situations portrayed in this TED talk? What realistically could be done to lessen the amount of slavery in the world today?
Rising numbers of people of Indian origin born in the West are moving to the country their parents left decades ago in search of opportunity and a cultural connection, reports the BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan.
Since 2005, the Indian government has been encouraging people of Indian descent and former Indian nationals to return to India. For many Indians living in the UK, there are more and better economic opportunities for them within India. Migrants have many reasons for moving (including cultural factors), but the primary pull factor is most certainly India's ascendant importance in the global economy and rising IT industries.
The Kauffman Foundation's Samuel Arbesman on his new book, The Half-Life of Facts.
This is an interview, Samuel Arbesman,the author of The Half-Life of Facts explains how population density and place matter in forming a creative economic workforce. Urban centers act as drivers of innovation and advancements and attract the more ambitious and daring workers. Additionally, this map on the expansion of the printing press (discussed in the interview) is also a great map to show how technological innovations can spur cultural diffusion.