Sample Exam Questions 


Compare and contrast the effects of globalisation of economic activity on LDECs and MEDCs.



   Globalisation is the increased interdependence or interlinking of the world economy, including cultural similarities. There are many effects of globalisation on MEDCs and LEDCs which are social, economic or environmental. Globalisation has brought enormous change in living conditions and wealth to some countries e.g. China, but not every country has positive impacts of globalisation e.g. Kenya.

In MEDCs, deindustrialisation has been caused by globalisation. This is the increasing displacement of manufacturing by service activities in the economy. A large amount of heavy industry and manufacturing is leaving in search of cheaper land, labour, local materials and weaker government legislation in LEDCs and RICs. In Birmingham, 50% were employed in manufacturing in 1966, but now only 9% are. In 1966 Longbridge employed 22000 but now only 200. This caused high unemployment, a lack of investment and the de-multiplier effect. Housing became socially deprived and there was depopulation of ambitious / skilled people due to the derelict land, litter and air pollution. Now however, in the 21st century, air, buildings and water are cleaner due to less industrial pollution. Brownfield sites are used up (80%) and environmental quality has increased as the built landscape is regenerated. However, car pollution is now increasing air pollution and the incidence of asthma. There is now a booming service industry and many jobs are female orientated. There are flexible working hours and unemployment in Birmingham is now low (5%). However, improved infrastructure and transport is causing more air pollution e.g. more car and aircraft pollution due to more airports and flights. The high rise built environment is clean and safe with good urban conditions.

   A modern environmental problem in MEDCs is urban sprawl – cities spread out due to increasing infrastructure and better communications. This leads to counterurbanisation where people move out of the city to live in the suburbs and then commute into the city each day. This increases car pollution causing many health problems. Urban sprawl is continually putting pressure on the greenbelt and greenfield sites are becoming more and more popular for high tech industry e.g. Blythe Valley business park. High tech industries are not tied to the location of raw materials. A major impact of deindustrialisation is building on greenfield sites e.g. M4 corridor, but there are not enough Greenfield sites so the greenbelt and rural areas are being lost.

   As a result of globalisation more and more factories are TNC owned so there are less low paid manufacturing jobs but more high tech and tertiary / quaternary sector jobs requiring a highly skilled population. There is more flexible working and gender equality. There is also an increase in internet retailing due to improved communications and transport. Materialism also increases as more people want the newest cars and biggest homes.

   However, globalisation in LEDCs has caused many different effects. It has caused great economic growth in China which has led to a growth in GDP. China is the world’s fastest growing economy and has achieved economic growth of 9% a year for over 25 years. Half the world’s clothes and a third of mobile phones are made in Can. However, Kenya is not successful as global economy and globalisation have passed by. There is a very low GDP in Kenya due to a lack of trade with other countries.

Employment changes are also impacts of globalisation. In China, employment has changed from primary to secondary industry to a small amount of tertiary. There are more exports than ever before. However, there is uneven development as the Chinese government deliberately focussed and targeted resources to two large economic growth areas – Hong Kong and Shanghai. There are these two boom areas but the majority of people still work on poor rural farms generating little income. Uneven development has led to small growth poles where employment and income have boomed.

   However, in Kenya there is little income generated as goods can’t be exported due to the restrictions by trade blocs. Kenya receives cheap food products so there is no market for wheat, decreasing income for farmers. On the other hand, trade blocs have allowed one product in, flowers, making them the main sources of income for Kenya. These are transported by plane rather than ships, making them expensive to buy. This backs up the point that aid (cheap food products) is not needed, but that it is trade that is required to increase economic growth.

Globalisation has also caused a rapid spread of infrastructure in China. China’s rail network is expanding rapidly as a $25 billion high speed rail link between Beijing and Guangzhou is being planned and a multitude of new road schemes are in progress. However, there is no need for an increase in infrastructure where there is little trade in Kenya.

   TNCs such as Nike are locating in LEDCs e.g. Vietnam, increasing the number of factories in these countries. These then cause a multiplier effect, brining complex infrastructure. The factories produce large quantities of toxic waste causing sever air, water and traffic pollution. The urbanised areas become covered in smog e.g. China. In Kenya there are a large amount of shanty towns and slums to live in and a million are without water, electricity and decent sanitation due to poverty. The uneven development in China has led to in-migration. Rural to urban migration is the largest scale internal migration taking place anywhere in the world where people search for work and education.

   Globalisation has also caused an increase in child labour in factories such as for Gap. Culture is also changing as there is an increased westernisation in LEDCs , where people want to wear branded goods. Tanzania is an LEDC and very few people go to school because they don’t have enough money so the literacy rates are very low. The poor living conditions also increase birth rates and infant mortality rates. Life expectancy also decreases here but increases in countries that have benefited from globalisation e.g. China 50 – 60. Education is increasing in China where TNCs train the population and therefore incomes and standards of living increase. Birth rate decreases here due to materialism and the cost of raising a child.

   Overall, there are many different effects of globalisation and these vary greatly between MEDCs (less manufacturing) and LEDCs (more manufacturing).