Chapter Summaries of The Power of Place





Hey guys I found my old summer assignment on the Power of Place, and I hope this helps!




Chapter 1: Globals, Locals, and Mobals
According to Harm De Blij, the world is categorized into 2 groups: the core countries and periphery countries.  Being born in either a core or periphery country can have a large impact on whether you are a global, local, or mobal. The globals are usually found in the core countries which are located in countries such as Canada, Australia, Japan, America, and most of west Europe. Since most globals
live in wealthy and fortunate places, they have the power to spread their ideas. As a result, the mindset of globals is to take over, develop, create, and expand, and this pattern is what characterizes them and makes them successful, but also ruthless. Then at the other end of the rope are the locals. If you are born in a periphery country, you are mostly likely to be a local. Locals are people who grew up in their local community, and continued on the traditions of their ancestors. These people see the world as a much bigger place than what the globals see it as because they don’t communicate much with countries outside their community, and they’ve gone through a rougher and tougher lifestyle. Another “version” of locals is mobals. Mobals are locals who pursue for a better life. For example, immigrants travel from the periphery countries to the core countries for better job opportunities. The new surroundings and languages will have a huge impact on mobals/immigrants because to be successful, they will be forced to familiarize themselves to the foreign country that they will now have to call “home”.

Chapter 2: The Imperial Legacy of Language
There are many languages that are still in use but there are also many that are dying off. This is because of globalization. Languages that are used very often in business and industries are coming to power such as English, and some people are even combining two languages together to be more successful in the business world. As the combined languages grow, slowly the original languages would start to fade away, and then the new generation would start to use the new combined languages. The language you speak is determined by the family or community you grew up with. If you speak a less common language, it would be harder to make it in the industry than a person who speaks English, Spanish, etc because someone who speaks more dominant languages would have more of an advantage. However it should not be conceived that speaking only one dominant language is going to lead to success because a lot of the dominant languages don’t penetrate through powerful and strong nations such as Japan. Someone who speaks a variety of languages will be given more opportunities than someone who speaks just one dominant language. The solution for success is to be multilingual and learn the original languages.    

Chapter 3: The Fateful Geography of Religion
Who knew geographic location had such a huge impact on religion? In tropical areas the people tend to worship many spirits and gods because the environment is abundant with many plants, rocks, waterfalls, etc, but in the drier and desert like places the people are usually monotheistic. This is because in deserts there tends to be someone that is in power that the people worship. Also there tends to be more monotheistic religions than polytheistic religions because in polytheistic religions the inanimate objects they worship such as for example, Victoria Falls can only be found in a specific area, so it doesn’t spread like monotheistic religions do.  Plus, if a plant spirit dies, then the people wouldn’t worship it anymore making polytheistic religions less likely to expand. The environment/society of Asia and Europe make it so that the people are strong believers and will never convert. This will continue on because this is how people in that area were raised and taught. Also the religions that were created in a specific region usually stay in that region because if it spreads, it would start more conflicts and tension with the other religions. Some countries such as China make it illegal to have certain religion which limits what the people can worship and believe in. In conclusion religion is very powerful because it has been engraved into the people for thousands and thousands of years and has still managed to carry on till this day.

Chapter 4: The Rough Topography of Human Health
What part of the world you are in and genetics have a huge role in the health of the population. The people in poorer countries are most likely to catch more diseases than the wealthier countries such as the core countries. This is because the poorer countries will probably be less globalized and will still have a lot of wildlife around them which will increase the chances of transmission of diseases from animals. For example, mosquitoes love hot and humid areas, so the tropical areas of Africa and Southern Asia are the most common places to find malaria. As a result this deadly disease greatly affects the infants in that area. Also diseases can be brought by mobals who travel from the periphery to core countries. This is probably because the people in the core countries are not immune to the conditions mobals bring. Another way to get diseases is through genetics. It is obvious that there are different races and ethnicities all around the world which means that there will be genetic diseases passed on throughout certain populations. For example, the sickle cell anemia is common in Africans. Most of the time the people/countries in poverty usually cannot afford the best medication or surround themselves in the best environment causing them to be more defenseless against the diseases. 

Chapter 5: Geography of Jeopardy
                      Nature is something that we humans cannot control, so people all around the world are at some risk be it a little or a lot. Major disasters don’t happen every single day, but when they do happen the whole world can be impacted such as a volcano erupting. If a huge volcano erupted, the ash and soot would pollute the air and permeate through the sky causing dark clouds to fill the atmosphere all around Earth. This could then mess up the weather pattern and put everything in disorder. Also, when people decide to move, they move for the positive things about that area, but they don’t really think about the hazardous aspects. Even if they do consider the unpredictable dangers, usually the positive features weigh it out. Just like any other living thing on the planet, humans learn how to adapt to the disasters. For example, people near river basins can encounter big floods, but that doesn’t make people move out because the soil is fertile and can provide good crops. Also people living in the periphery countries are more at a risk because their tectonic plates are causing many earthquakes. Thus more people are in danger because a large percentage of the world makes up the periphery countries. In the end, all the millions of people all over the world will need to be aware of all the volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, etc.

Chapter 6: Places Open and Shut
                      Boundaries are elements that could characterize the world’s population. Closely related small countries will usually have more similar traditions and cultures while larger countries with bigger border lines will often have their own way of doing things.  Diversity comes in many forms such as language, religion, food, race, etc, and when you think about it, it’s very hard to find diversity in small countries with low populations. This is why diversity is found in larger countries, and if the country is located on the coast, this creates more opportunities to trade which adds more diversity to the nation. Also the government has a lot of involvement in the people’s lifestyles as well because they have power over their country. For this reason a lot of the countries’ government can decide on what religion is legal or illegal, what foods can or can’t be eaten, what the main/dominate language the country speaks, and more. Furthermore, the government can either help the country escape from poverty and despair or ruin the citizens’ lives and make them suffer. For example, the governments of a lot of the countries in Africa are corrupt and use the wealth earned from their natural resources for their own use. This leaves the citizens in poverty which results in the gap between the poor and the rich continuing to grow.

Chapter 7: Same Places Divergent Destinies
                      If you think about, the gender of a child is determined by only one chromosome, so why has the male dominated over the female population for hundreds of years? No one will ever know why it was determined to be like that from the beginning of time, but it was, and every religion and country will have their own opinion on this matter. Because of thinking that males are “better” than females, many women have been pushed aside over the past years and some are still being treated unfairly today. In the past years, the “right” thing for them to do was to stay home, take care of the children, and make dinner. Also many were physically violated and abused which is a cruel act considering we are all the same species of human beings, but during the past years the women have fought for themselves to be respected like any other man. All their hard work and fighting has paid off and has been successful because today many women have become leaders and gotten involved in the government. The males and females are slowly beginning to even out which allows women to be recognized for all their same good qualities that the males have. Also another topic on genders is longevity; which gender lives longer? Usually in core countries the females live longer because more males do drugs, alcohol, and etc, and the overall longevity of the population is longer in the core countries than in the periphery countries. This is because of the diseases, poverty, etc, which usually results in males living longer in the disease struck areas.

Chapter 8: Power and the City
                      Although natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes can bring down a city, no political or man-made object can destroy it. The atomic bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima caused a lot of damage to the cities, but the cities were then rebuilt, and the people continued on to save it. The ancient villages from long ago are gone, but like mentioned in the book, these ancient villages are now morphed into the cities that exist today. This is why the city is known to be the people’s and civilian’s symbol of power. As globalization came along, major cities and capitals became “world cities” meaning that they are connected and linked more internationally than locally. For example, in the book it states that Miami interacts more with Sao Paulo than the cities that are closer by like Orlando. Not all major cities are “world cities”, but that does not mean they do not have an impact on the power of place. Major cities attract markets, talent, learning centers, and more. Globalization has linked other nations together, but it has not evened out the urban areas causing social extremes to be together in the same area. Although much of the world today is globalized, it didn’t start out that way. It began with human communities that grew into villages and slowly formed into urbanized societies. It is said that the urban population exceeds fifty percent of the world’s population, but some disagree with that because different countries have different standards to what is urbanized and what is not. Therefore Blij has stated that it should be based on the occupations the civilians have. As the population in urban cities increases, it creates megacities. Some megacities are poor and in chaos because of corrupt governments. Globalization and urbanization will continue on in the power of the city.

Chapter 9: Promise and Peril in the Provinces
                      No matter where you are, there will always be people that separate or group themselves by religion, race, culture, etc. Each group has power and impacts the country even if they aren’t globals. For example, farmers in the local areas stand up for themselves and have riots that eventually affect the decisions of the government and the globals in the city. People are usually in a sub-national unit in one way or another. A sub-national unit is any area that is below the level of state or country such as a county, district, or province. When a sub-national unit of a country comes to international attention, this indicates that there is a serious problem. Usually the problem is cause by a conflict between the local and national government or when cultural forces become a threat to the state. Because of the worldwide agreement that sub-national units should not be allowed to impair the country, external forces such as the UN come in and make sure that no catastrophic events occur. Just because the core countries are more successful does not mean that they don’t encounter the same sub-national problems like the periphery do. For example, Yugoslavia broke into different countries because of the hatred between all the ethnic groups. Each group tried to get even with each other, and conflict kept breaking out. Eventually the UN had to intervene and make peace between these groups. Although the core and periphery countries are equally vulnerable to these problems, peace and success are less likely to be found in the periphery countries. For example, after all the problems in Somalia, the country ended up having a starvation, drought, refugee crisis, and external forces’ aid gone wrong. All these differences and regions keep the world rough, but as these differences become similarities in the core and periphery countries, the world is becoming flatter.

Chapter 10: Lowering the Barriers
                      The world is flat to those kinds of people who don’t appreciate how lucky they are to be born in the fortunate places. They don’t care about those who are poorer and less well-off, but these types of globals are small in numbers and will be decreasing in population over the upcoming years. Like I said earlier, globals are the minority of the world, so about half of the world still lives in rural areas even with all the urbanization and globalization. This means that globalization and urbanization still has a long way to go which can help equalize the opportunities for people. For example, as globalization goes on, its challenge is to improve the conditions of local areas that still put limitations on the locals such as violence, natural hazards, health threats, inadequate education, discrimination, and more. To help with improve upon these situations, other countries such as the United States or other external forces send out money to help aid those countries in need. However because of corruption, the money can be stolen by the rich and selfish leaders who spend it all on themselves and let the country suffer in poverty. Also the money can go to terrorists who spend it on weapons and war. With globalization and urbanization, the gap between the poor and rich in some countries are even shrinking. In the far future, the world may get flatter and better because of globalization. It will eventually lower the barriers, and the power of place, nature, religion, etc won’t have a big of an impact as it does today.

I remember how much I struggled in the summer to write these summaries, so I decided to help out my fellow students :) Remember this is just inspiration, please do not copy! Thanks 



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