Power of Place Ch. 1, part 1, QS


From the Preface


1. What is meant when some say the human world is “flat”?

Scholars use the term “flat” to refer to our rapidly globalizing world. Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist, has been the most effective popularizer of the “flat” world. He published a book about globalization in 2005 called “The World is Flat”.



2. Explain DeBlij’s hesitation to agree that the world has become flat.

DeBlij is reluctant to promote the idea that far-flung areas and peoples around the world have become more and more similar.  This is because he is a world traveler and scholar who has observed the astounding differences in standards of living of people in poor countries compared to those of inhabitants of rich countries.


3. How is globalization related to flattening?

Globalization, the rapid international transfer of and access to economic goods, services and information, has caused the flattening.


From Chapter 1


4.  What does DeBlij mean by the global “core”? 

The global “core” is comprised of the rich, industrialized countries of the world.


5. Do people who live in the core comprise the majority of humanity? No.


6. How does “place” remain important in the face of “flattening”? Place refers to the circumstances into which a human is born and raised. It has an extremely important effect on how that person will be able to enter into a globalized world. The circumstances include: access to education, access to sufficient nutrition, knowledge of the English language, access to infrastructure that we can take for granted in the global core (electricity, internet, roads, ports, potable water).


7. Who are the locals and globals? Which group is more subject to place? Which group is growing more rapidly?

Locals are inhabitants of the poor countries of the world. Their lives are more subject to, or controlled by, place. Their aspirations largely depend on the poor circumstances into which they are born. We, residents of the rich countries of the world, are globals. Compared to locals, our horizons are boundless. Locals are growing more rapidly.


8. By 2100 Earth’s population is projected to be 10 billion. That’s an increase of 3 billion from today. Will most of those people be locals or globals? Locals


9. Why does DeBlij state thatglobalization and mobility are synonymous”?

Globalization has made urban areas in poor countries especially attractive destinations for migrating locals. When a multinational corporation like Nike opens a factory in eastern China, that is an example of globalization. The jobs in that factory represent good jobs for Chinese citizens who were raised in poor agricultural villages in the country’s interior. Locals around the world are emigrating from their native villages to seek greater economic opportunity in the nearest large urban area. Some of them make epic journeys to the global core to seek even greater opportunity.


10. Who are mobals? What distinguishes them from locals?

Mobals were born as locals. When they left home to seek greater economic opportunity in urban areas and/or the global core, they became mobals.


11. Distinguish between transnational refugees and transnational mobals.

Transnational mobals immigrate to urban areas and/or the global core seeking economic opportunity. Transnational refugees are driven from their homes because of political instability or conflict.


12. How do globals “control the fates of locals as well as mobals”?

Globals control the majority of economic activity around the world. They control resources, labor and the distribution of resources, labor and economic goods and services. They also consume most of the economic goods produced in the global economy. The consumer decisions of globals influence the availability of jobs in poor countries. If you buy Nike shoes, your purchase influences the availability of jobs, for mobals, in eastern China. If you drink organically-produced coffee, your preference influences the price paid to coffee growers, locals, for coffee grown in the highlands of Guatemala.



13. Look at the “global core” on Figure 1.1. What does DeBlij mean by “core”? “Periphery”?

Core = Rich, industrialized countries of the world.

Periphery = Poor, non-industrialized countries of the world.


14. Compare the core and periphery’s populations and share of annual income.

the global core contains approximately 15 percent of

the global population but records nearly 75 percent of the world’s annual income (in terms of gross national income, based on World Bank data). The periphery represents 85 percent of the planet’s population, accruing just 25 percent  of total income.”


15. Do mobals live in California?  Where do they send their remittances? To achieve what?

California’s population includes a large population of people who migrated from the global periphery. Many of them send some of the money that they earn in California back to their native villages.  These remittances support family and friends. These mobals have an immigrant experience very different from the US population of European descent. Those migrants largely cut ties with their homelands and did not send remittances to them.


16. How did 9/11 affect the movement of mobals to the US?

After 9/11, the US government understandably wanted to prevent potential terrorists from coming across our borders. Unfortunately, this interrupted a process of comprehensive reform of immigration between the US and Mexico. And so, the US’ efforts at prevention of the migration of terrorists made it more difficult for mobals from Mexico to legally immigrate to the US.


17. What do the circled numbers represent on Figure 1.1? What processes occur at those points? Be certain that you know the names, locations and actors at each of those points.

The circled numbers show international borders between the global core and periphery where core governments recently have raised barriers to limit the number of undocumented migrants/mobals who migrate from the global periphery to the global core.


18. Explain how South Africa’s former policy of apartheid can be found throughout the world presently.

South Africa’s apartheid policy created regions and borders that limited the movement of its citizens.  The movement of the country’s black, coloured and Asian citizens were effectively controlled by the white minority. Currently, countries in the global core establish policies that restrict the international migration of mobals. Keeping locals in their place and restricting mobals to the greatest degree possible perpetuate the global dichotomy represented by the map.”


19. Look at Figure 1.2. Why does DeBlij include it?  What point is he trying to make?

Figure 1.2 shows the world population distribution. DeBlij uses it to make a few points. First he points out that the “World Island” which includes Asia and Africa has long held the majority of humanity, especially East Asia and South Asia. Second, East Asia and South Asia continue to hold the majority of humanity. Third, the decimation of the indigenous inhabitants of Americas and Australia and the growth of European populations in those areas represent a major change to the world population distribution.  However, the World Island continues to be the home of most of humanity.