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Geography Glossary


Appropriate Technology the concept that technology and machinery in economically developing countries need not imitate that of the economically developed countries, particularly in terms of cost, and that indigenously designed products from local raw materials makes better sense for investment.

Backwash Effect - exploitation of the peripheral poor areas in order to sustain economic growth in the rich core. This often involves a flow of resources and labour from the periphery to the core. The long-term effect of such a flow out of the periphery is polarisation, as poor areas continue to get poorer and rich core areas gain more wealth.

Bilateral Aid - aid which goes from one government to another.

Colonialism - the principle or practice of having or keeping colonies. Includes the economic, political and social policies by which colonies are governed by the sovereign state.

Comparative Advantage - cost advantages of a country or region for the production of manufactured goods. Such advantages include abundant resources or human skills.

Core Area - Central, more prosperous area/region, which tends to attract 'investment and control functions eg HQ of TNCs

Centrally Planned Country - a socialist country such as China and Cuba where all resources, industry, housing and infrastructure are owned and managed by the state.

Cold War - a term used to describe the tense and mutually untrusting relationship between the former USSR and the USA from 1945 to the end of the 1980s when eastern Europe broke up and moved towards democracy.

Co-operative - an organization formed by a group of people who share their tools, planning and profits

Cumulative Causation - theoretical process which leads to the formation of core and periphery areas. New economic development in the core often simulates local economy and attracts migrants searching for work. The cumulative effects of movements of people and resources increases wealth in the core

Cycle of Poverty - vicious spiral of poverty and deprivation. Poverty leads to inadequate schooling and poorly paid employment. Children growing up in such areas start off disadvantaged and so the cycle continues.

Decentralization - the dispersal of services and industry, often as a result of government intervention from one area, usually the capital city and surrounding area, to areas needing economic growth to reduce regional imbalance.

Development Agencies - organisations which work towards the improvement of opportunities and standard of living for countries in the ELDCS.

Developed Countries - economically more advanced countries characterised by high standards of living, large industrial and service sectors and high GNPs

Developing Countries - countries where the GDP is inadequate for generating investment in agriculture and industry. Characterized by low standards of living, large primary sectors and low GNPS.

Downward Spiral - Process of decreasing wealth in peripheral areas as people and resources move out of the periphery into the richer core areas.

Dual Economy - the existence of traditional subsistence activities alongside international high-tech business in an ELDC.

Economic Gap - Differences in levels of economic prosperity between nations, as measured by indices such as GNP.

Economic Migrant - person leaving her/his native country to seek better economic opportunities and so settle temporarily in another country.

Endemic Diseases - a disease confined to a particular environment eg malaria in humid areas.

European Union - the former European Community since the signing of the Maastricht Treaty.

First World - the group of countries mostly located in the Northern and Western Hemispheres which have high standards of living.

Formal Sector - where people work to receive a regular wage and are assured certain rights eg paid holidays, sickness leave. Government recognizes work in format sector for tax purposes.

Free Market Economy - an economic system where individuals and firms privately hold methods of production. The market then determines the levels of supply and demand.

Free Trade - International Trade that takes place without trade barriers eg tariffs, quotas and so allows the free movement of goods and services between countries.

GATT - General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, body set up in 1948 to decide the world rules on trade. Replaced by the World Trade Organization in 1995.

GDP - Gross Domestic Product. Total value of goods produced and services provided in one year in a particular country excluding foreign earnings from investments.

GNP - Gross National Product. Total value of goods produced and services provided in one year in a particular country including foreign earnings from investments.

Growth Corridor/Pole - an area where governments deliberately encourage investment and resources to stimulate economic development.

Import Substitution - the development of local industries and production to replace imported goods, reduce imported goods, reduce dependency on imports, conserve foreign exchange and improve the balance of payments of a country.

Informal Sector - work done (both paid and unpaid) without the official knowledge of the government and therefore without formal control.

Indigenous - native

Intermediate Technology - technology which may be more expansive and efficient than traditional methods but is still smaller in scale and more labour intensive than technology transferred from developed countries.

IMF - International Monetary Fund

Mercantilism - economic theory prevalent in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries which stresses the importance of trade and commerce as a source of a nation's wealth. Depends on wealth and power through exports and the possession of precious commodities eg gold, silver.<.p>

Multilateral Aid - aid given from a group of countries or an international organization eg World Bank, M.

Neo-colonialism - control, by an outside power, of a country that is in theory independent - especially through the domination of its economy.

Newly Industrialising Country (NICS) - countries which have developed their industries very rapidly in recent years. eg Taiwan: GNP per capita between US$ 1 0003000.

NGO - a non-governmental organization involved in development. eg Oxfam, Save the Children, Christian Aid.

OECD - Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Set up in 1961 by a group of mainly EMDCs to develop both each other's economic growth and that of developing countries.

Outworkers - people who work for an industry in their own homes rather than in a factory.

Oversea3 Development Administration (ODA) - aid wing of the UK Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It manages Britain's development assistance to around 150 developing countries as well as Central and Eastern Europe and the former USSR.

Periphery - area which is geographically remote from a central core area. The periphery often suffers from a lack of resources and wealth and can occur at local, regional, national and global scales.

Pricing Mechanism - allocation of scarce resources through price in a competitive society.

Protectionism - EMDCs patent new technology, which ensures that ELDCs remain dependent on transnational companies for their industries.

Regional Imbalance - where regions within a country experience different rates or levels of development. This can be measured by GNP per capital rates of employment and other social and economic indicators. eg North/South divide in Italy.

Second World - group of countries with centrally planned economies.

Spread Effects - when benefits from development spread from the core to the peripheral areas. This concept is often associated with the growth pole theory.

Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) - a set of conditions imposed on countries borrowing money from the World Bank. These often result in the government of the borrowing country having to cut national spending.

Subsistence Sector - the part of the economy which does not enter trade. The production of agricultural produce for the consumption of the family.

Sustainability - Long-term management of the environment in order to maintain its natural resources.

Tariff - a tax or duty charged by a government on imported goods.

Third World - Group of developing countries characterized by low incomes and low levels of social and economic development. These countries are mostly located in Africa, Asia and South America.

Trade Bloc - group of countries united to promote common economic interests. Transnational Company - organization with interests, assets and production in more than one country. Usually based in an EMDC.

Urban Bias - policy of investing in cities at the expense of rural areas in the view that industrialization was necessary for development.

World Bank - agency set up by the United Nations in 1945 to make loans to poorer countries. It lends for terms of 15 years which -is longer than commercial creditors.

World Trade Organization - set up in 1945 to replace GATT. Main interests include decreasing tariffs and opening up markets, agreeing trade on services and trade - related intellectual property rights (TRIPS)


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