Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tying Things Together

So many of these big, BIG concepts that we've been learning about tie in with other big concepts we've been learning about.  The term and idea of globalization encompasses so much.  Economy is the production (making), distribution (selling), and consumption (buying/using) of goods - but we could go off on lessons about standard of living, and human capital, and banks, and economic spillover (externalities), and jobs, and industrialization, and urbanization...  And each one of those terms/concepts/ideas/whatever you want to call them is another lesson or series of lessons.

Yesterday, we discussed the factory collapse in Bangladesh.  We talked about people who lived in countries with low standards of living, where they worked for so much less than the U.S. minimum wage.  And how, consumers possibly share the blame for the deaths of those factory workers.

In a way, globalization has led to the exploitation of those workers.  Our desire to have well-made, inexpensive clothes led to that.

But globalization is also strengthening the economies of these countries.  Their production is getting them money, and getting us the products we want.  This is a case of everybody elevating everybody else.

Today, we showed this with a trading simulation.  We formed groups of countries.  Each country had a main export.  All the other countries wanted that export.  Yarn represented a trade deal between two countries.  If there was talking, the trade deal fell apart, and I cut the string.

Ultimately, by trading, everybody

  • Got better stuff and a variety of stuff
    • because certain goods only come from certain areas
    • i.e. if you could only eat bananas grown in Indiana, you probably wouldn't be eating too many bananas
  • Got cheaper stuff
    • people can focus on producing what they're good at producing and make a lot of it
    • i.e. if I had to make my own telephone, I would have no telephone
    • also... cheap labor is driving globalization

We still haven't really tied all these things together, but we're going to try to.  Maybe tomorrow?  Maybe next week.

Here are some pictures of today's activity.  Instructions on how to get the extra credit points will be below them.

If students want extra credit, they should read and discuss this blog post with an adult.  When they've finished that, they should find a scrap of paper and write 2 sentences telling what they thought of the activity.  Have the adult that they read and discussed the blog with sign the paper.  Make sure your name, date, and hour are on it.  Then, turn it in tomorrow in the extra credit turn-in tray.

...One more thing, for those who care.  I try to conserve.  You know, reduce, reuse, recycle.  So, I spent a lot of my free time winding up the yarn.  But boy, there were a lot of knots.  Several times, I thought of the Gordian Knot.  Alexander and I... we're two of a kind.

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