Discussion topic one
Pakistan, China, India, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, and Vietnam make the list of manufacturing countries of my clothes in my closet. This is despite the fact that most of them have US and UK designer labels such as ‘Bench’ and ‘Sean-John’. Looking at some of the old clothes in parents’ closet, I notice that most of them were made in developed nations such the US, Italy, Mexico, and Canada. This same trend was identical to the findings of two of my friends.
The manufacturing industry has changed over the past few decades and this has lead to globalization of the industry (A+T, p. 211). This change can be understood using the concept of global stratification where the developed countries such as the US are linked to the whole world (Anderson and taylor, Global stratification p.212). Most companies in these developed countries export job opportunities making it easier and cheaper to produce their goods. The cost of labor in poor countries is cheap and people would accept to do just any work in order to get some little cash. Furthermore, the labor force is unskilled and therefore do not deserve much wages as opposed to the labor force in the US, which is highly skilled. This implies that workers in the US would cost the manufacturing companies a lot of money in form of wages and hence reduces the marginal profit. This has been the trend in the manufacturing industry over the past few decades and hence explains why our clothes today are made in undeveloped countries while the old clothes of our parents and our grandparents were made in developed countries.
Global production relates to dependency theory where rich nations through imperialism create platforms where the poor nations will have no option but to depend on them (A+T, p. 217). According to modernization theory the idea of global production is to create and improve technological systems within the undeveloped countries in order to keep them in the spirit of growth (A+T, p. 219). The third theory of global stratification is the world systems theory. Through this theory we can easily understand the concept of global production. The main idea behind encouraging global production is to create a world economic system rather than having national systems. The theory divides nation into three: core, semi peripheral, and peripheral. All these categories are linked together. The core nations extract labor from the peripheral nation whereas they gain maximum profit out of this (A+T, p. 220).
This type of global production has several environmental impacts. The risks entirely lie on the peripheral nations who have to pay more for something that is not their responsibility (Anderson and Taylor, Population, the environment and social change p.412). This means that they suffer at the hands of the rich nation. There is increased degradation which affects the poor nations more compared to the rich nations. The poor nation experience a deprived and exhausted natural resources while the rich nation experience an increased emission of carbon dioxide and other green house gasses.
Discussion topic two
The UNICEF tap water project was initiated in 2007 in New York City with one purpose in mind. That is collect donation from restaurants in order to raise money for for providing clean water to children who need it from all corners of the world. Ever since it was started, 2.5 million dollars have been collected just in the US alone to support the initiative. The project began its fifth year in March 20th 2011 and it has so far proved to not just be a project but a movement. It is beginning to receive broad support from not just its initial supporters but from celebrity, corporate and various states and governments (UNICEF).
The concept behind the project makes people realize how basic fresh water is and compels them to support it. “When you take water give water” (UNICEF). This year, the funds collected for the projects will be used to target children from Central Africa Republic, Togo, and Vietnam. The role that UNICEF is playing in saving the lives of millions of children across the world is worth appreciating. It is dedicated to ensuring and hoping that there will reach a moment when children especially from the developing countries will cease to die from diseases that are preventable. It is working towards achieving one of the millennium development goals whereby by 2015, 50% of the world’s population should be having access to fresh water and sanitation.
Discussion topic three
Just like in social stratification, wealth is one of the dimensions of global stratification (Wiemer Salverda p.34). The gap between the rich and the poor has increased and widened due to the disparities in wealth acquisition. The gap is widened further by the labor market where the poor countries rely entirely on the rich countries to provide opportunities for unskilled labor. This is explained by the dependency theory of global stratification. Once such a system is in place, then the poor nations are left with no choice but to rely on what is availed to them. Other major causes would include education, culture, and development patterns (Giddens p.67).
Possible solution to reduce this gap between the rich countries and the poor countries include crating a system where success of a country would be judged using its effort and skilled labor rather than using the unjust ways of acquiring wealth. This solution is leaned more towards world system theory.
Anderson and taylor. “Global stratification.” n.d. 211-231.
Anderson and Taylor. “Population, the environment and social change.” n.d. 411-418.
Bill & Melisa Gate Foundation. Global Health Program. 5 6 2011
Giddens, Patrick Diamond and Anthony. The New Egalitarianism. Polity Press, 2005.
UNICEF. About the UNICEF tap project. 2011. 9 June 2011
Wiemer Salverda, Brian Nolan, Timothy M. Smeeding. The Oxford Handbook of
Economic Inequality. Oxford: OUP, 2009.