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The 20 year history of NAFTA

The 20 year history of NAFTA | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
In the 20 years since it entered into force, the North American Free Trade Agreement has been both lauded and attacked in the United States. But to properly assess NAFTA’s record, it is important to first be clear about what the agreement has actually done. Economically speaking, the answer is a lot.


NAFTA was the first comprehensive free-trade agreement to join developed and developing nations, and it achieved broader and deeper market openings than any trade agreement had before.

NAFTA did that by eliminating tariffs on all industrial goods, guaranteeing unrestricted agricultural trade between the United States and Mexico, opening up a broad range of service sectors, and instituting national treatment for cross-border service providers. It also set high standards of protection for patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.

NAFTA ignited an explosion in cross-border economic activity. Today, Canada ranks as the United States’ largest single export market, and it sends 98 percent of its total energy exports to the United States, making Canada the United States’ largest supplier of energy products and services. Mexico is the United States’ second-largest single export market. Over the past two decades, a highly efficient and integrated supply chain has developed among the three North American economies.  Intraregional trade flows have increased by roughly 400 percent.

North Americans not only sell more things to one another; they also make more things together. About half of U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico takes place between related companies, and the resulting specialization has boosted productivity in all three economies. NAFTA has also caused cross-border investment to soar.

In spite of this impressive economic record, NAFTA has its critics. Most of those who attack it on economic grounds focus on Mexico, not Canada, and claim that the partnership is one-sided: that NAFTA is Mexico’s gain and America’s pain. But the economic data prove otherwise.


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Gary Yarus's curator insight, February 19, 2014 8:24 AM

A good review for those concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, September 21, 2014 7:42 PM

It is interesting to see exactly what NAFTA has done for North America.  Making trade easier and free between the three countries helps all the economies included.  Free trade between each other means less costly goods.  Also resources can be used from different countries and manufactured in steps not all in one place.  All of the negative comments about it being a one sided deal between the United States and Mexico can be argued with numbers about how it is in fact not a one sided agreement and both countries are benefiting from NAFTA being put in place.

David Lizotte's curator insight, January 24, 2015 3:55 PM

I found this to be an extremely interesting article. I'd say I have a basic comprehension of economics, so I am trying to expand my horizons and learn more about the topic. This article was clear, well-written/structured, and was a good read for someone not so experienced in Economics. 

I find the NAFTA agreement to be quite useful. The article did a good job at portraying many of the pros the agreement puts forth. It is clear that the three nations involved benefit. Throughout the article I was wondering if the agreement had been modified to accommodate todays new technology, trade goods, etc... The article then went and discussed this topic.The article did so through stating the importance in NAFTA branching out in other trade agreements, with nations in the Pacific as well as Nations in the EU. What's neat about this is how whether Mexico or Canada making the trade... all nations involved in the NAFTA agreement benefit. 

What I want to know however is where do these jobs, that this agreement creates are set geographically? I can only assume they are predominately in the South West (in regards to Mexico) and in the North/mid North West (in regards to Canada). Who are the people working these jobs? It seems like they'd be the immigrants themselves, not so much existing citizens. Does this create a problem amongst the masses? 

It seems as if NAFTA could benefit from expanding its trade market. This is something I am interested in reading more about and perhaps keeping up to date with. Side note... in regards to USA being able to buy capital in the countries "cross-border investment," and vis versa, I find it extremely useful and creative. 

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NYTimes Video: City of Endangered Languages

NYTimes Video: City of Endangered Languages | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
New York has long been a city of immigrants, but linguists now consider it a laboratory for studying and preserving languages in rapid decline elsewhere in the world.

 

This is an excellent video for showing the diffusion of languages in the era of migration to major urban centers.  It also shows the factors that lead to the decline of indigenous languages that are on the fringe of the global economy and the importance of language to cultural traditions.   Article related to the video available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/nyregion/29lost.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1317132029-I36HNrdg4+dXkbgUQXnK6w


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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, January 29, 2014 10:25 AM

This article and video were very interesting.  They point out how a city full of immigrants can help preserver a dying language.  The work being done to learn about and preserve these obscure languages is great.  The fact that in New York you will hear language spoken more there than in their home country is astounding to me and very interesting.  This fact is key to preserving these language as they are from areas of the world were the technology level is much lower and less likely to be preserved.  It is also interesting as it shows where people are coming from to live in NY.  The city draws immigrants like a sponge draws in water and this adds to the cultural mosaic that is NY city.

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Not All English is the Same

Not All English is the Same | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

"22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other"


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Lena Minassian's curator insight, January 27, 2015 5:58 PM

This article was actually funny and interesting. You do not really pay attention to the pronunciation of words just because we are surrounded by the same people who say a particular word the same way. Many individuals in the US are in for a culture shock if they leave their respected homes. One word that you have grown up with may be a completely different word in another area. We tend to not focus a lot of attention on the smaller details like this type of grammar and pronunciation so this caught my eye because it was interesting to think about and realize how you say words compared to the rest of the United States.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, January 28, 2015 11:53 AM

to me this is not so shocking but definitely entertaining. i mean between my family their is pronunciation differences. some say tomato others say toma`to right? not all English is the same is a concept that makes perfect sense to me. in other countries such as Italy, a person from the north cannot understand a person from the south because they speak in different dialects. perhaps it has to their with their location, or job types. but it holds true that different parts of a country can speak the same language in different ways. 

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, April 8, 2015 3:04 PM

I've seen this collection of maps a number of times before, but they are just as interesting and informative every time I look at them. It's really a fun exercise in seeing what phrases you use or how you pronounce certain words as opposed to the rest of the country. As a Rhode Islander, the bubbler/water fountain divide was of particular interest to me. I also found it funny that I have the vaguely Western/Midwestern tendency of calling "rotaries" (or what are traditionally called rotaries in my area), "roundabouts". This is especially curious to me, because I generally tend to think of that term as a British one. Could this possibly mean that a lot of British immigrants settled in the Western/Midwestern United States? Or am I just mistaken and buying into a poorly informed stereotype about British people?

 

Whatever the case, these maps are very informative and say a lot about the linguistic differences that occur even within one country. Now granted, the United States is a large country, so there is bound to be a good amount of variation. But it's still fascinating to me just how much variety there can be. The fact that when traveling, your use or pronunciation of a certain word or phrase can immediately identify you as an out-of-towner is very interesting. This is yet another example of the importance of doing your own research in order to avoid making incorrect assumptions. Just because all of the people within a geographic border may live in the same country, it does not mean that their dialects or colloquialisms are all the same. It does not even necessarily mean that they speak the same language. Different immigrant groups (because almost no country is impervious to immigration) settle in different areas and this ends up contributing (in part) to the different dialects and expressions that one finds within geographic borders. 

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The true cost of oil

TED Talks What does environmental devastation actually look like? At TEDxVictoria, photographer Garth Lenz shares shocking photos of the Alberta Tar Sands mining project -- and the beautiful (and vital) ecosystems under threat.

 

This is a visually stunning portrayal of Canadian landscapes.   He shows incredibly gorgeous photographs of the ecosystems of the boreal forest, indigenous cultural landscapes and natural scenery.  This is unfortunately the backdrop for the impacts of industrial extraction of oil from the tar sands of the Athabasca in Canada.  Collectively, this makes for a jarring justaposition of environmental landscapes.


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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, January 29, 2014 10:59 AM

This presentation is very moving on the emotional side of the plight of Canada’s natural resources.  When it comes to oil production no matter where it is it will be dirty, messy and fraught with problems that impact the environment.  The idea that everyone wants oil but they don’t want to mess up their own country to get it is an interesting problem.  Frankly the more developed countries like Canada are more likely to mine the resources responsibly then a country that has little or no environmental protections.  This speaker gives a very impassioned presentation but he offers no alternatives to oil.  Getting oil from a country that has environmental protection laws is cleaner and better then getting it from a country that cares nothing for the environment; it is less accountable and more environmentally damaging to get it from somewhere else.  Pipelines are cleaner ways of moving oil as they seldom leak and don’t crash and spill.  The debate over oil and environmental responsibility will continue until a viable source of clean energy is created. 

Louis Mazza's curator insight, January 28, 2015 12:37 PM

this video shows the beauties to be found in world, and the negative effects that mining for oil can do to these areas. in one region it was home to a type of deer but all they could be found was the deers antlers. that showed that mining for oil was killing all the deer. all these regions are under threat. the largest toxic wastelands on the planet are being created.