Human Geography
April 12, 2017


This week we're gonna look at how politics and economy help shape geography.  With only a few weeks before test day, this week's lesson will hopefully get you prepped. 
In This Lesson
Political Geography

Political geography is one of the oldest fields in the discipline of geography. Political geographers use the spatial perspective to study political systems from local and regional politics, to national politics, to international politics. At local scales, political geographers study issues like territorial organization, representation, and voting patterns. At national and international scales, geographers study the relationship between physical geography and politics, the historical geography of colonialism and imperialism, the formation of international alliances, and the current political tensions between the wealthy countries of the industrialized north and the poorer countries of the less-developed south.

Figure: Relationships among states and nations. Japan contains a relatively uniform nation within state boundaries; Canada exemplifies a multinational state with two official languages; the Arab nation extends across many states in northern Africa and the Middle East; and the Kurds have no state they can claim as their own-thus exemplifying a stateless nation.

Figure: The shaded areas represent the British Empire at its colonial apex.

Economic Geography

Economic geography is the study of the flow of goods and services through space. Economic geographers also study the ways in which people provide for themselves in different places and geographic patterns of inequality at all scales of economic organization. Historically, economic geographers have been profoundly influenced by classical economic theory and capitalism. More recently, the opening of markets and the international character of economic flows, in general, have caused many economic geographers to focus more on international economic alliances, cycles of industrialization, poverty, globalization, and development. In this chapter, you look at multiple geographic scales in an attempt to better understand this extremely diverse and wide-ranging field.

Figure: Diffusion of the Industrial Revolution from its hearth in central Britain.

Figure: Not all offshore financial centers are actually offshore. However, they all provide a variety of incentives for companies to conduct banking and other financial transactions within their borders.

Models of Development and Measures of Productivity  

PRIMARY ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES are involved with the harvest or extraction of raw materials. Fishing, agriculture, ranching, and mining are all examples of primary economic activities. 

SECONDARY ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES are generally associated with the assembly of raw materials into goods for consumption. Heavy industries, manufacturing, and textile products are all examples of secondary economic activities.

TERTIARY ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES involve the exchange of goods produced in secondary activities. Retailing, restaurants, and any other basic service job occur in the tertiary sector of the economy.  

QUATERNARY ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES include research and development, teaching, tourism, and other endeavors having to do with generating or exchanging knowledge. 

QUINARY ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES are generally considered a subset of quaternary activities and are those that involve high-level decision making and scientific research.