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agricultural labor force

The number of people who work in agriculture. This is important because a large value indicates that the country is likely an LDC dependent on agriculture, while a small value indicates that there are fewer people working in agriculture, meaning that the agriculture is more efficient.

calorie consumption

As a percentage of daily requirement is an important index of development. People in MDCs generally consume more than 130% of their daily requirements, but most people in LDCs barely get enough to sustain themselves. The problem is worst in Africa, where most people do not eat enough.

Core-periphery model

A model of the spatial structure of development in which underdeveloped countries are defined by their dependence on a developed core region.

Cultural convergence

The tendency for cultures to become more alike as they increasingly share technology and organizational structures in a modern world united by improved transportation and communication.

Dependency theory

a model of economic and social development that explains global inequality in terms of the historical exploitation of poor nations by rich ones


a process of improvement in the material conditions of people through diffusion of knowledge and technology

Energy Consumption

An indicator of development. MDCs tend to consume much more energy per capita than do LDCs. This will be important in the future because as LDCs begin to industrialize, there will be a great strain on the world's energy supply

Foreign direct investment

Investment made by a foreign company in the economy of another country.

Gross domestic product

the dollar amount of all final goods and services produced within a country's borders in a year.

Gross national product

The total value of goods and services, including income received from abroad, produced by the residents of a country within a specific time period, usually one year.

Human development index

Indicator of level of development for each country, constructed by United Nations, combining income, literacy, education, and life expectancy

Ladder of development

theory by Rostow that assumes all countries can reach the same level of development and that all will follow a similar path.

Less developed country

Also known as a developing country, a country that is at a relatively early stage in the process of economic development.


A new form of global power relationships that involves not direct political control but economic exploitation by multinational corporations

Purchasing Power Parity

a measure of how many units of currency are needed in one country to buy the amount of goods and services that one unit of currency will buy in another country

W.W. Rostow

in 1960 proposed a widely cited model for economic advancement. Generalizing on the "sweep of modern history," he theorized that all developing economies may pass through five successive stages of growth and advancement.

Technology Gap

The contrast between the technology available in developed core regions and that present in peripheral areas of underdevelopment.

Technology transfer

The communication of specific plans, designs, or educational programs necessary for the use of new technologies from one society or class to another. (p. 358)

Third world

underdeveloped and developing countries of Asia and Africa and Latin America collectively

Second world

the communist and state-planned countries of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and China (Cold War)

First world

the largely democratic and free-market states of the United States and Western Europe (Cold War to today)

World systems theory

economic and political connections that tie the world's countries together

Acid rain

rain containing acids that form in the atmosphere when industrial gas emissions (especially sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) combine with water


A process involving the clustering or concentrating of people or activities. The term often refers to manufacturing plants and businesses that benefit from close proximity because they share skilled-labor pools and technological and financial amenities.

Agglomeration economies

The savings to an individual enterprise derived from locational association with a cluster of other similar economic activities, such as other factories or retail stores

Break-of-bulk point

A location where transfer is possible from one mode of transportation to another.

Canadian industrial heartland

the St. Lawrence Valley - Ontario Peninsula. The region has several assets: centrality to the Canadian market, proximity to the Great Lakes, and access to inexpensive hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls.

Commodity chain

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

Comparative advantage

The ability to produce a good at a lower opportunity cost than another producer

Circular and cumulative causation

a process through which tendencies for economic growth are self-reinforcing; an expression of the multiplier effect, it tends to favor major cities and core regions over less advantaged peripheral regions


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


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

Economic base

A community's collection of basic industries.

Economies of scale

factors that cause a producer's average cost per unit to fall as output rises


Big commercial center for importing and exporting commodities.

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

Fixed costs

Expenses that remain the same for a period of time; must be paid regardless of the quantity of a good or service produced/sold.

Footloose industry

industry in which the cost of transporting both raw materials and finished product is not important for the location of firms


principles for mass production based on assembly-line techniques, scientific management, mass consumption based on higher wages, and sophisticated advertising techniques

Four Tigers

South Korea (largest), Taiwan (moving towards high tech), Singapore (Center for information and technology), Hong Kong(Break of Bulk Point): Because of their booming economies.

Greenhouse effect

warming that results when solar radiation is trapped by the atmosphere

Growth poles

economic development, or growth, is not uniform over an entire region, but instead takes place around a specific pole.

Rimland Theory

Nicholas Spykman's theory that the domination of the coastal fringes of Eurasia would provided the base for world conquest.

Industrial revolution

the transformation from an agricultural to an industrial nation


the basic structure or features of a system or organization

International division of labor

The process where the assembing procedures for a product are spread out through different parts of the world

International organization

an international alliance involving many different countries

"Just in time" manufacturing

a manufacturing system in which materials used for manufacturer and/or sale are produced precisely at the time they are needed. As a result, no costly storage of inventory is required. Electronic record-keeping and communication about inventory and needs has made this system possible

Labor-intensive industry

An industry for which labor costs comprise a high percentage of total expenses.

Least-cost location theory

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

Manufacturing export zones

host country establishes areas with favorable tax and trade arrangements in order to attract foreign manufacturing operations


Factories built by US companies in Mexico near the US border to take advantage of much lower labor costs in Mexico.

Market area

The area surrounding a central place, from which people are attracted to use the place's goods and services.

Market orientation

The tendency of an economic activity to locate close to its market; a reflection of large and variable distribution costs.

Multiplier effect

An effect in economics in which an increase in spending produces an increase in national income and consumption greater than the initial amount spent.


A trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico that encourages free trade between these North American countries.


The procuring of services or products, such as the parts used in manufacturing a motor vehicle, from an outside supplier or manufacturer in order to cut costs

Resource dispute

disagreement over the control or use of shared resources, such as boundary rivers or jointly claimed fishing grounds

Silicon Valley

a region in California south of San Francisco that is noted for its concentration of high-technology industries

Specialized Economic Zones

specific area within a country that has tax incentives & less stringent environmental regulations are implemented to attract foreign business and investment

High-technology corridors

areas alone or near major transportation arteries that are devoted to research, development, and sale of high technology products

Substitution principle

Principle that maintains that the correct location of a production facility is where the net profit is the greatest. Therefore in industry, there is a tendency to substitute one factor of production (e.g., labor) for another (e.g., capital for automated equipment) in order to achieve optimum plant location.

Time-space compression

the social and psycological effects of living in a world in which time-space convergence has rapidly reached a high level of intensity

Time-space convergence

the idea that distance between some places is actually shrinking as technology enables more rapid communication and increased interaction between those places.


The deliberate killing of a place through industrial expansion and change, so that its earlier landscape and character are destroyed.

Trade-route site

a place for a city that is at a significant point on transportation routes.

Transnational corporation

A company that conducts research, operates factories, and sells products in many countries, not just where its headquarters or shareholders are located.`

Ubiquitous industry

a market-oriented industry whose establishments are distributed in direct proportion of population

Weber, Alfred

Creator of the model that states that the optimum location of a manufacturing firm is explained in terms of cost minimization.

World cities

a group of cities that form an interconnected, internationally dominant system of global control of finance and commerce

Fourth-level cities

dependent centers, provide relatively unskilled jobs and depend for their economic health on decisions make in the world cities, regional command and control centers, and specialized producer-service centers. Four subtypes of dependent centers can be identified in the United States

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