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1.2.10 Summary

  • The shift of the world's manufacturing base from developed to developing economies in the 1970s heralded the beginning of a new global division of labour and the rise of global factories to produce for Western markets. The search for ever-cheaper labour sources undertaken by multinational firms established a new geography of low-cost manufacturing operations which, to this day, remains controversial.

  • The rise of subcontracting as the most flex
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1.2.6 Defining global markets

Global markets for manufactured goods, as opposed to, say, primary commodities such as oil and timber, arose largely in the second half of the twentieth century as trade between countries intensified. The lowering of transport costs and the relative fall in trade barriers enabled firms in one country to compete with a domestic rival in another. The supply of manufactured goods across the globe as a result of worldwide demand, principally from the affluent economies, thus heightened competitio
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1.2.5 Offshore fragments of industry: a pro-market standpoint

From a pro-market standpoint, global market forces and the competitive pressures that they generate leave businesses with no choice but to take advantage of lower labour costs elsewhere. In the textile business or the toy business, lower wage costs are the key to profitability; if your competitors find a cheaper labour source, you either follow their example or go out of business. It is not, so the argument runs, because managers lack integrity or compassion that there are now more manufactur
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1.2.3 Activity 2

Before you read on, I would like you to dwell for just a moment on the significance of this shift from direct investment by Western firms to the establishment of subcontracting ties with overseas partners. Aside from outside firms being able to p
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material within this unit.

Table

Box 4: Four Scenarios for 2050, Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, 22nd Report, Energy– The Changing Climate, June 2000. Crown copyright material is reproduced under class licence number C01W0000065 with the p
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2.4 Natural science valuation: towards ecological restoration

While the previous two subsections dealt with the social sciences, the ideas of ecology represent more the natural sciences tradition. In the early years of controversy around how to practise sustainable development, some concern was expressed about the perceived bias towards social rather than natural sciences. Bryan Norton (1992), for example, is critical of the social scientific approach. He argues that reliance on standard economic and other social scientific tools will not be enough to e
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • describe environmental matters regarding obligation and entitlements from a ‘caring’ perspective;

  • appreciate the significance of environmental consequentialist ethics in conversations around developing care;

  • identify and compare formal and less formal expressions of environmental responsibility;

  • understand ‘accountability’ in the context of environmental issues;

  • ide
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2.4 Summarising conversation as what matters

Brian Wynne suggests that fundamental dichotomies associated with environmental matters underpin modern society – society versus nature, the social versus the natural, social knowledge versus natural knowledge, expert knowledge versus lay knowledge (1996, p. 45). The metaphor of conversation helps to move us beyond these dichotomous constructs and allows us to focus more on the integral relationships enmeshed in nature matters, relationships that I would argue are central to environmental r
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5.3.4 Plan testing and validation

It is one thing to have a plan; it is another thing to have a plan that you can rely on to work. There is an old military maxim that ‘A plan only gets you into first contact with the enemy. After that, you fly by the seat of your pants’ (Anon). A 1993 IBM report on business continuity planning confirmed this when it revealed that ‘half of the plans failed completely or substantially when they were first tested’ (IBM, 1993, p. 5).

The IBM report identified three categories of pla
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5.5 Emergency planning as an organisational management function

If emergency services' EPOs plan to respond to other people's emergencies, people managing a business activity with major incident potential have a different perspective. They have to respond to emergencies within their own organisation. In effect, if an incident occurs, the organisation is itself in a crisis, with functionality impaired. All of this comes into the corporate governance area and the implications of internal control. This requires companies to ensure that they have a sound syst
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4.1 Human predation and extinctions

There are a number of ways in which humans have altered ecosystems, that have led to the decline of particular species. We will leave to one side any major interference such as felling forests to provide land for agricultural and urban development, and instead begin by looking at examples where we have eroded or eradicated stocks of particular species. This has notably been a consequence of the over-exploitation of food species (prey items). Predators do not normally eliminate their prey (see
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2 Altering the environment

Later in this unit we will be considering a number of ways in which humans alter their environment.

Question 3

In what ways do you think we are altering the environment?

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1 Legacies and inheritance

There is no doubt that each one of us affects the lives of those who surround us. Many of our interactions with others are very obvious to us and could be described in terms of personal, professional and social relationships. But there are other, often unnoticed, interactions: the mother taking her children to school, the man buying his paper, the youth at the bus stop – all people we see regularly and only notice when they are not there. Younger people are often very worried about what oth
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3.2 The agreement to protect the ozone layer

After a decade of controversy about the possible effects of CFCs, in 1985 British scientists discovered over the Antarctic a quite unexpected ‘hole’ in the ozone layer which was the size of the USA. This helped to galvanise the international community into action (though some who took part in the negotiations claim it played little part). By 1987 the first international agreement to control substances damaging to the ozone layer, the Montreal Protocol, was established. Interestingl
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5 Conclusion

The issue of climate change draws attention to the power of human activity to transform the planet in its entirety, and it is brought into sharp focus by the predicament of low-lying islands like Tuvalu. As we have seen in this unit, the issue of rising sea level and other potential impacts of changing global climate also point to the transformations in the physical world that occur even without human influence. Oceanic islands provide a particularly cogent reminder that the living things wit
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • identify the economic issues faced by developing countries in mutilateral trade negotiations;

  • describe these issues from a developing country perspective;

  • explain how the economic power of nations impinges upon the ability of states to negotiate settlements that are beneficial to them.


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Module team

The Open University course team

Course Team Chair of Production

Gillian Rose, Professor of Cultural Geography

Course Team Chair of Presentation

Chris Brook, Senior Lecturer in Geography

External Assessor

Peter Jackson, Professor of Human Geography, University of Sheffield

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References

Dickens, P. (1986) Global Shift: Industrual Change in a Turbulent World, London, Harper Row.
Harrison, A., Britton, T. and Swanson, A. (2004) Working Abroad: The Benefits Flowing from Nationals Working in Other Economies, Paris, OECD.
New Internationalist (2004a), ‘IMF / World Bank: the Facts’, March, no. 365.
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2.1 Learning from video footage

You might think that learning from audio-visual sources is very different from learning from written sources yet, somewhat surprisingly, it is much the same. This section of the unit will help you to think about how you can turn the very familiar, but usually passive, process of watching a video into the active process of learning. Watching the video will involve the skills of engaging with the material and making sense of it for yourself, just as if it were written materials. The advantage o
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1.3 Activity 1

Activity 1

Before you read on, I would like you to dwell for just a moment on the significance of this shift from direct investment by Western firms to the establishment of subcontracting ties with overseas partners. Aside from outside
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