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Commodity Chain

Series of links connecting the many places of production and distribution and resulting in a commodity that is on world market


with respect to a country, making progress in technology, production, and socioeconomic welfare

Gross National Product (GNP)

The total value of all goods and services produced by a country's economy in a given year.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

The total value of goods and services produced within the borders of a country during a specific time period, usually one year.

Gross National Income (GNI)

The total value of goods and services produced by a country per year plus net income earned abroad by its nationals; formerly called "gross national product"

Per capita GNI

The Gross National Product of a given country divided by its population.

Formal Economy

The legal economy that is taxed and monitored by a government and is included in a government's Gross National Product.

Informal Economy

Economic activity that is neither taxed nor monitored by a government; and is not included in that government's Gross National Product

Modernization Model

Maintains that all countries go through five interrelated stages of development, which culminate in an economic state of self-sustained economic growth and high levels of mass consumption.


the geographical situation in which something occurs; the combination of what is happening at a variety of scales concurrently


The entrenchment of the colonial order, such as trade and investment, under a new guise.

Structural Adjustment Loans

Loans granted by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to countries in the periphery and the semi periphery in exchange for certain economic and governmental reforms in that country

Structuralist Theory

A general term for a model of economic development that treats economic disparities among countries or regions as the result of historically derived power relations within the global economic system.

Dependency Theory

Based on the idea that certain types of political and economic relations (especially colonialism) between countries and regions of the world have created arrangements that both control and limit the extent to which regions can develop.


When a poorer country ties the value of its currency to that of a wealthier country, or when it abandons its currency and adopts the wealthier country's currency as its own.

World Systems Theory

Social change in the developing world is linked to the economic activities in the developed world.


When a family sends a child or an adult to a labor recruiter in hope that the labor recruiter will send money, and the family member will earn more money to send home.

Vectored Diseases

A disease carried from one host to another by an intermediate host.


Vectored disease spread by mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite in their saliva and which kills approximately 150,000 children in the global periphery each month

Export Processing Zones

Zones established by many countries in the periphery and semi-periphery where they offer favorable tax, regulatory, and trade arrangements to attract foreign trade and investment.


Those U.S. firms that have factories just outside the United States/Mexican border in areas that have been specially designated by the Mexican government

Special Economic Zones

specific area within a country in which tax incentives and less stringent environmental regulations are implemented to attract foreign business and investment

North American Free Trade Agreement

an alliance that merges Canada, Mexico and the United States into a single market


the encroachment of desert conditions on moister zones along the desert margins

Island of Development

Place built up by a government or corporation to attract foreign investment and which has relatively high concentrations of paying jobs and infrastructure.

Nongovernmental Organizations

International organizations that operate outside of the formal political arena but that are nevertheless influential in spearheading international initiatives on social, economic, and environmental issues.

Microcredit Program

Program that provides small loans to poor people, especially women, to encourage development of small businesses.

Industrial Revolution

The term applied to the social and economic changes in agriculture, commerce and manufacturing that resulted from technological innovations and specialization in late-eighteenth-century Europe.

Location Theory

a logical attempt to explain the locational pattern of an economic activity and the manner in which its producing areas are interrelated.

Variable Costs

costs that change directly with the amount of production

Least Cost Theory

Model developed by Alfred Weber according to which the location of the manufacturing establishments is determined by the minimization of three critical expenses: labor, transportation, and agglomeration.


a process involving the clustering or concentrating of people or activities


the process of industrial deconcentration in response to technological advances and/or increasing costs due to congestion and competition.

Break-of-bulk point

A location along a transport route where goods must be transferred from one carrier to another. In a port, the cargoes of oceangoing ships are unloaded and put on trains, trucks, or perhaps smaller riverboats for inland distribution.

Just-in-time Delivery

Method of inventory management made possible by efficient transportation and communication systems, whereby companies keep on hand just what they need for near-term production, planning that what they need for longer-term production will arrive when needed

Intermodal Connections

Places where two or more modes of transportation meet (including air, road, rail, barge, and ship).


Process by which companies move industrial jobs to other regions with cheaper labor, leaving the region to switch to a service economy and to work through a period of high unemployment.


With reference to production, to outsource to a third party located outside of the country.


The South and Southwest regions of the United States


Centers or nodes of high-technology research and activity around which a high-technology corridor is sometimes established.

Distance Decay

The effects of distance on interaction, generally the greater the distance the less interaction.

Locational Interdependence

theory developed by economist Harold Hotelling that suggests competitors, in trying to maximize sales, will seek to constrain each other's territory as much as possible which will therefore lead them to locate adjacent to one another in the middle of their collective customer base

Primary Industrial Regions

Western and Central Europe; Eastern North America; Russia and Ukraine; and Eastern Asia, each of which consists of one or more core areas of industrial development with subsidiary clusters


world economic system characterized by a more flexible set of production practices in which goods are not mass-produced

Global Division of Labor

phenomenon whereby corporations and others can draw from labor markets around the world, made possible by the compression of time and space through innovation in communication and transportation systems


with reference to production, to turn over in part or in total to a third party

Friction of Distance

The increase in time and cost that usually comes with increasing distance

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