about interdependence and inequality
These notes are for teachers, to encourage thinking
about global issues, and to stimulate ideas about
how to incorporate these ideas into classwork.
how our local area is interdependent with
Literacy drafting persuasive writing
with purpose and audience.
Global citizenship What moral responsibility
do we have to people in other countries?
Chokky bikkies, inequality, and interdependence
Chokky bikkies is an enquiry which is designed
to enable pupils to understand the concept of interdependence.
In order that pupils and teachers alike can have
the pleasure of a chocolate biscuit at morning break,
we are dependent on lots of people in near and far
places. The enquiry shows that people as far apart
as Ghana and the UK are bound together in a web
of economic, social and environmental relationships,
some for better and some for worse. The key question
is, how are people and places connected to each
Inequality is another fundamental geographical
It can be:
one soil is better than another for growing
- economic one area generates more wealth
- social family relationships are different
in different places
- political some people have more power
It happens between places too, either:
- very locally between houses
- locally between different parts of a town or
- regionally between different parts of a country
- globally between countries.
The effects of inequality are everywhere in the
world. They often result in economic migration such
as the brain drain where more educated
people leave poor parts of the world to go to richer
ones. There can be social and political migration
such as a refugee crisis where people are unhappy
and disenfranchised and they leave one area for
another. This all exacerbates inequality between
Inequality is inevitable so the real debate is
about the level of inequality.
Many people believe that the world today is immorally
unequal and that the rich exploited the poorer countries
in the past and continue to exploit the countries
today. They also believe that development of the
rich countries has often been at the expense of
the poor countries. In colonial times countries
like the UK and France took raw materials from Africa
at very low prices and exploited the natural environment
without supporting the colonies in development.
Since independence, world markets have controlled
prices and kept prices very low, exploiting the
fact that these countries are poor and are desperate
to pay off debts, owed to rich countries.
Interdependence is increasingly important as we
begin the 21st century.
People and places are more connected to one another
than they were 100 years ago. Over the 20th
century the increasing possibility of transport
and communication has meant more contact between
people and places. Economic activity has increased
across national boundaries this process is
called globalisation. It is quite easy to see the
effects: just walk down any high street and look
at the labels on the products for sale. Globalisation
is not only economic but cultural: just imagine
how many restaurants from other parts of the world
were on the same high street in 1930.
Globalisation is a disputed idea because it bypasses
People argue about globalisation because it is
not truly global and that it is largely in the economically
wealthy countries that this process is happening,
and that in poor countries, things have hardly changed.
It is therefore increasing inequality between rich
Teaching about interdependence and inequality needs
examples to make it concrete.
- A global-local challenge
Take a walk down your nearest High Street and
look for evidence from different countries. The
challenge is to find as much as possible. How
many different countries can the children spot?
They can mark it on a map. Discuss the pattern
of countries included. Explain colonial past,
influence of the English language, and modern
trade mostly with Europe. Look at old photos of
the High Street to see how it was different. Explain
globalisation if you feel the pupils can understand
this abstract idea.
- The global-local label hunt
Have a big map on the wall and as pupils bring
product labels into the class and after a couple
of weeks look at the pattern. What does it tell
you about trade with different countries? Chose
two or three different types of goods and ask
what does it tell you about what economic activity
happens where. Explain inequality or world trade.
- Pick any product
It is easy to recognise interdependence as we
approach 2000, the range of products we use. Chokkie
Bikkies is an investigation designed to explain
the chain of events and how rich and poor countries
are bound up together. Dont feel limited
to this. Bananas are an obvious product where
the chain is slightly less complex to unpack as
the process misses the manufacturing stage. For
older and more able pupils, clothing offers an
interesting focus as many of the brand names are
involved in manufacturing in poorer countries.
- Global inequality on the information super-bypass
at the lists of schools on Web
- an international registry of schools on
the World Wide Web. Choose all the countries
on the line: the UK, France, Spain, Algeria, Ghana,
Burkina Faso, Mali, and Togo. Count how many schools
are registered. The actual number doesnt
matter; it is the difference between them. Discuss
with pupils what might influence this data. Consider
population of the country, how wealthy the country
is and how much technological industry there is.
Discuss the fairness of this inequality.
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