The rapid economic growth rates of Japan and South Korea, and the accompanying increases in standards of living, were driven largely by export-driven economies. An export can be defined as a good or service shipped from one’s country to another. Exports bring much-needed external revenue to countries, aiding in economic development. Exports are an inherently geographical phenomenon, given the exchanges and relationships between different locations.
Large exporters, however, can also become heavily dependent on the economies of countries which are buying their products (e.g. Japan’s dependence on U.S. purchases). Asia Must Cut Import Dependency, from BBC Online, details some of the dangers. The current global economic slowdown has illustrated the interdependence between countries and the relationships between exporters and importers.
The final part of this lesson also concerns exports, this time from the Pearl River Delta of China. This region is a center of Chinese manufacturing and a disproportionate amount of the country’s exports.
The readings below examine East Asia’s export performance, dynamism, and reliance.
Consider the readings for South Korea. Can this country rely on natural resource exports like countries such as Australia, Russia, or Saudi Arabia? If not, then how can South Korea earn export revenue? What kinds of products do citizens in the U.S. purchase from South Korea?
At the World Factbook website, look at South Korea’s oil production versus its consumption. Does Korea produce and/or export nature resources (e.g. coal, iron ore) to any degree?
- Consider the following map of the Pearl River Delta.
- Also examine the economic growth in the Pearl River Delta over a three-decade period.
- Most people know of Hong Kong’s economic output, but examine the growth in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, two additionally important cities in the region
- Such explosive economic growth can impact the physical environment, as evidence by these articles from the New York Times and the Hong Kong Baptist University.
After looking at the above materials please address all the questions in one response of 250 to 500 words.
- If South Korea intends to continue to excel at manufactured exports, what is its most important resource? (hint: education)
- Does reliance on exporting make South Korea dependent on the ups and downs of the world economy?
- Given the readings and questions in the previous unit on Population and Political Geography, how are the exports and long-term economic development of Japan impacted by ongoing demographic challenges?
- China is experiencing rapid economic growth (fueled by exports), raising the living standards of many of its citizens. Are there environmental impacts of this growth? Can countries strike a balance between economic growth and environmental stress?
- Many of the manufacturing firms in the Pearl River Delta produce for markets in Europe, Japan, and North America. Do buyers in these countries bear any responsibility for the ongoing pollution issues?