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Rescooped by Karen Kelly from Geography Education!

Japan's Geographic Challenge

Stratfor examines Japan's primary geographic challenge of sustaining its large population with little arable land and few natural resources. For more analysi...

Via Seth Dixon
Kevin Cournoyer's comment, May 1, 2013 12:51 AM
Unlike other larger, more geographically diverse countries, Japan is faced with the problem of a general lack of farmable land and natural resources. The fact that the country is itself an island does not make things any easier for it in an economic sense. The way the country is divided up also makes for a difficult political situation, as mountain ranges create division, and therefore, political disunity.
The proximity of the Korean peninsula and China to Japan is also important to examine. Whenever Japan wishes to acquire natural resources and other economically beneficial materials, Korea is the conduit through which Japan tends to invade the mainland, usually China. Because of this, we can see how Japan’s geographic location may cause strained relationships with its neighbors, both politically and economically. Alienating two of its closest neighbors would clearly be a disastrous move for Japan, but it may be seen as necessary due to its unfortunate geographic location.
Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, November 27, 2013 5:31 PM

It would make sense to me that for a place like Japan to sustain itself successfully, it would have to have some help from other areas with more resources.  Again with the concept- people don't choose to be born, or where they are born... To be born in Japan is as unchosen by that person as it would be in any other country.  I don't think people should have to pay for resources that they do not have available, especially because they are on an island/island chain that simply doesn't have what they need.  I am really repulsed by the bartering system because of absolute indication of beyond excessive surplus and profit and greed and all that garbage that humanity reeks of.  Yeah some people are happy, but we could be completely unburdened of all negativity if we banded together to rid the world of negativity itself.  I know that Japan would be happy to receive everything that they need for no cost, but I also know that many people would be willing to work, and more willing to work, if they didn't have expenses to pay for... it would really be serving their life's purpose as a component of humankind if they worked to help others, rather than to pay their monthly rent.  I don't have a clue how I would go about organizing a movement to transform this idea into a reality, but I'll work on that.  In the mean time, I would advise supranationalism for Japan, and hope that with the alliance of other countries, they can band together and make deals that work for the greater good of their country, population, and the world.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, April 10, 2014 10:58 AM

This short video did a great job in explaining why Japan became expansionist in the decades leading up to WW II.  The mountainous nature of the islands and lack of arable land challenges Japan to provide food for its people.  To understand Japan you must understand her geography, this helps to understand why a country acted the way it did in the past and can be a predictor of future actions. 

Rescooped by Karen Kelly from Geography Education!

Does democracy stifle economic growth?

TED Talks Economist Yasheng Huang compares China to India, and asks how China's authoritarian rule contributed to its astonishing economic growth -- leading to a big question: Is democracy actually holding India back?


This compelling TedTalk explores the links between economic development and governmental style, oversight and influence.  While the speaker mainly discusses politics and economics in the context of China and India, Pakistan, Russia, North and South Korea are all mentioned.      

Via Seth Dixon
Matt Mallinson's comment, November 21, 2012 11:11 AM
Democracy can stifle economic growth. War will definitely stifle economic growth. North Korea doesn't look like they're going to stop fighting South Korea, if only they would combine their lands, they would probably be a much better nation as one.
Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 2:17 PM

For Americans the idea that democracy can be anything but sunshine and rainbows is a hard pill to swallow. There is evidence that supports the contrary. Although democracy has the moral high ground, authoritative governments can grow at a faster rate because it does not have to address resistance where democracy fosters debate and dissent. In India, millions of people will not agree on everything and therefore progress can be slow going. 

Rescooped by Karen Kelly from Geography Education!

The End of Cheap China

The End of Cheap China | Global education = global understanding |
TRAVEL by ferry from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, in one of the regions that makes China the workshop of the world, and an enormous billboard greets you: “Time is Money, Efficiency is Life”.


China’s economic growth has been explosive. Many people predicting the economic future have used current growth percentages and trajectories to extrapolate into the future. The question that we should ask is: how long can China continue to grow at this current pace? Many signs are pointing to the difficulty that China will have in sustaining these levels of growth. The era of China being the world’s go-to source for cheap manufacturing is dependent on current geographic variables, variables that the economic growth is altering.


Manufacturing prices are rising, especially in the coastal provinces where factories have usually been agglomerated (also known as Special Economic Zones --SEZs). The more success that China has in manufacturing, land prices will go up, environmental and safety standards will increase. Collectively, this will mean that labor costs for the factories will also be increasing as Chinese workers are not only producing but also becoming consumers of manufactured goods with an increased standard of living. This is changing the spatial patterns of employment in China and will impact Chinese manufacturing’s global influence. Sarah Bednarz recommends this article as “a needed update on the new international division of labor (NIDL).”  For more on the topic, see Shaun Rein's book, "The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends that will Disrupt the World."

Via Seth Dixon
Roland Trudeau Jr.'s comment, July 29, 2012 10:48 AM
As these laws increase and so does the economy it would seem more work will be pushed out of China. Perhaps in the future China will not be the go-to place for cheep labor. That is excellent news for all those effected by these horrible conditions, but given the loss of jobs with the rise of standards, they may not be so happy.
Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:30 PM

I think this is a very important article. All our estimates on China's growth assume that they will continue to operate the same as they grow more and more. We can see that when economies grow, the standards of living rise,, wages rise, the middle class grows and the cost of production will rise. In the late 19th and early 20th century the United States had cheap labor and was one of the worlds leading producer of goods, but as workers clamored for more money, better working conditions and social programs our cost of producing rose to a point where it was cheaper to outsource labor. With China growing, other countries are more attractive to business looking to protect their bottom line.

Jason Schneider's curator insight, April 2, 2015 9:43 PM

The most popular nations of China and the strongest economies of China appears to be on the edge of the east side of China such as Shanghai, Fujian, Guangzhou and Liaoning. I believe that their economic growth has something to do with the fact that these counties are off the coast of East China sea so when you have tourists of immigrants from the east side of China, most likely, they will visit these counties that are in the far east of China. Overall, China is a powerful country but they focus more urbanization on the far east of China because it's closer to the water and that's where you'll find tourists and immigrants. Also, manufacturing factories, especially in the far east are extremely wealthy which allows higher wages to workers and it lures more people to work in China which strengthens peoples desires to go to or live in China.

Rescooped by Karen Kelly from Geography Education!

Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class

Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class | Global education = global understanding |
Apple once bragged that its products were made in America. But it has since shifted its immense manufacturing work overseas, posing questions about what corporate America owes Americans.


The economics of globalization are at the core of this article, Apple just happens to be the case-study.  Why are iPhones not produced in the United States?  While it would be easy to simply cite cheap labor, it is more complicated than that.  Unfortunately for those hoping to rekindle American industry, the problems run deeper than that.  The ability to recruit sufficient highly-trained engineers, flexibility and speed in production are all factors that are decisively in China's corner at the moment.  Big picture, how are these economic factors reshaping the world we live in? 

Via Seth Dixon
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