Categories
Analysis Discussion

Spatial Inequality – A Conversation That We Need To Start

Introduction

By definition, spatial inequality is the unequal distribution of resources and services across different areas or locations, such as healthcare, welfare, public services, household income, and infrastructure. The distribution of such characteristics over space can be described in terms of proximity, distance, clustering, and concentration, according to Wikipedia.

Why Spatial Inequality is a Problem

Over time, spatial inequality has led to strong divisions, not only across borders but also within local communities. Currently, in Nairobi, over 60% of the population lives on less than 5% of the land- creating large economic disparities. The poorer population lives with inadequate living standards, which includes minimal access to important services such as healthcare and education. Most would agree that this is a direct result of colonialism, where colonizers segregated people by race, level of income, and many more factors. 

Causes of Spatial Inequality

However, it is arguable that income inequality and economic disparities have been one of the main driving forces behind spatial inequality. In Nairobi, for example, more than 65% of the population (around 3.5 million people) live within the informal sector. The advantage of the informal economy is that it provides income and employment to people, regardless of education and experience. These are qualities that the formal economy is deemed to be reliant on. However, the informal economy has costs, also. Many of those who are forced to work within the informal sector — in jobs such as street vendors, flea, and food markets — have had to rely on this unstable source of income, a result that can be traced back directly to unequal access to services such as education. 

The densely populated slum communities within Africa are the home of millions of citizens throughout the continent. However, since these homes have been set up quickly, without building regulations and without being previously planned by the city councils, important services were not set up. These important services could potentially cater to the new settlers, educating them so that one day they can acquire a job within the formal sector, thus removing them from this constant cycle of poverty.

Efforts to Combat Spatial Inequality

Currently, schools that have sprouted within slum settlements are being bulldozed, as the local government aims to rid cities of “informal settlements.” Unfortunately, they are failing to do so miserably. In 2018, the headline “Schools for 2000 children in Kenya’s Kibera slum bulldozed to the ground” hit the media and news outlets, showing the world that rather than helping combat income and spatial inequality, governments were willing to destroy livelihoods in an attempt to rid the city of the ‘problem’ — namely, the informal sector.

Conclusion

It is important to understand the risk and the impact that both spatial and income inequality can have on the livelihoods of those who live within these make-shift settlements. It is imperative that we combat this issue, in similar ways that one would address racial or gender inequality. I hope that one day we can live in a world where no parent has to worry about being able to feed their children; a world where children can dream about what they want to be when they grow up; a world where home is not a temporary shelter, but a place where love and happiness can thrive.

Sources

  1. https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/schools-for-2000-children-in-kenyas-kibera-slum-bulldozed-to-the-ground/amp/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spatial_inequality
Categories
Discussion

Has the British history education system been ‘white-washed’?

Throughout my education, I was given a wealth of knowledge, or so I believed, surrounding many influential and pivotal moments within history. However, on reflection, I noticed that the whole story had not been told, whether this be a missing key person that influenced a decision that changed history or an unknown warrior that helped fight for Britain, one way or another.  The British education system focuses mainly on the achievements of those who are Caucasian. Therefore, I believe that not only is our education system failing us, but it is also one of the reasons that systemic racism exists in such a progressive time period. I hope that we can one day live in a world where everyone and their achievements can be celebrated equally, no matter their race, ethnicity or background, a world where equality is commonplace. 

Today I leave you with this poem by John Agard, who wrote “Checking out me history”, to remind us to explore the influence of a variety of people, to fill the gaps, that our education system left out so carelessly.


Checking Out Me History:

Dem tell me
Dem tell me
Wha dem want to tell me

Bandage up me eye with me own history
Blind me to me own identity

Dem tell me bout 1066 and all dat
Dem tell me bout Dick Whittington and he cat
But Toussaint L’Ouverture
No dem never tell me bout dat

Toussaint
A slave
With vision
Lick back
Napoleon
Battalion
And first Black
Republic born
Toussaint de thorn
To de French
Toussaint de beacon
Of de Haitian Revolution

Dem tell me bout de man who discover de balloon
And de cow who jump over de moon
Dem tell me bout de dish ran away with de spoon
But dem never tell me bout Nanny de Maroon

Nanny
See-far woman
Of mountain dream
Fire-woman struggle
Hopeful stream
To freedom river

Dem tell me bout Lord Nelson and Waterloo
But dem never tell me bout Shaka de great Zulu
Dem tell me bout Columbus and 1492
But what happen to de Caribs and de Arawaks too

Dem tell me bout Florence Nightingale and she lamp
And how Robin Hood used to camp
Dem tell me bout ole King Cole was a merry ole soul
But dem never tell me bout Mary Seacole

From Jamaica
She travel far
To the Crimean War
She volunteer to go
And even when de British said no
She still brave the Russian snow
A healing star
Among the wounded
A yellow sunrise
To the dying

Dem tell me
Dem tell me wha dem want to tell me
But now I checking out me own history
I carving out me identity

Categories
Discussion

Should housework be included in the GDP?

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period. However, it doesn’t include a broad fraction of human labour. In SNA terminology, unpaid labor corresponds to the category of ‘own-account services.’ This includes activities such as childcare, cleaning, meal preparation, and care for the sick and elderly. All of those are excluded from GDP as they are repetitive actions, which are not contributing to actual production.

What is your opinion? Do you think GDP measurements should be changed?

Additional reading:

  1. https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2015/03/much-womens-work-unpaid-without-it-economy-would-crumble
  2. https://www.e-ir.info/2019/01/11/unpaid-work-and-the-governance-of-gdp-measurement/
Categories
Discussion

The most important issues

What are the most important issues facing the world today (besides the coronavirus pandemic) and why?

We look forward to reading your ideas!

Categories
Discussion

What is Money?

This week’s discussion post is about what money actually is. Feel free to comment anything that comes to your mind or you could even add another quote you found. We look forward to reading your ideas!

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”

Ayn Rand

“Money is economic power.”

Walter Bagehot

Categories
Discussion

What role does economics play in your everyday life?

This week we are asking you what role economics plays in your everyday life. Are there certain decisions you make because of economic reasoning? How has studying economics changed / affected you?

“Economics is everywhere, and underestimating Economics can help you make better decisions and lead a happier life.”

Tyler Cowen

“The purpose of studying Economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.”

Joan Robinson

Categories
Discussion

What is Economics for you?

Today’s discussion post is a little different… We are asking you what economics means to YOU personally!

Here are some quotes to inspire you:

“Economics is the painful elaboration of the obvious.” – Friedrich von Hayek

“Economics is a study of cause-and-effect relationships in an economy.” – Thomas Sowell

Categories
Discussion

Are History and Politics Related?

“The Study of history is the beginning of political wisdom.”

Jean Bodin

“The close relationship between politics and economics is neither neutral nor coincidental. Large governments evolve through history in order to protect large accumulations of property and wealth.”

Michael Parenti

“History is past politics, and politics present history.”

Edward Augustus Freeman

Let us know in the comments what you think about these quotes!

Do you agree with the statement that history and politics are related?

Categories
Discussion

Domestic Economic Effects: US Elections

Next week, Americans will cast their ballots. They will choose the incumbent, Donald J. Trump, or running ex-vice president, Joe R. Biden.

No matter what, one will win. That president will bring in new edicts, decrees, and due to COVID-19, stimulus packages to assist a restart of the American economy. This will result in different possible economic effects: whether on Wall Street, in firms, or the hinterlands.

Nonetheless, Americans are bracing for the third of November.
You can find a few articles below which will broaden your knowledge of the economic effects of the US elections on Washington’s national policymaking and possible economic predictions below.

Articles:

  1. https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/2020-election-forecast-market-outlook
  2. https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/economic-outlook-implications-us-election-outcomes-stocks-potential-deutsche-bank-2020-10-1029711944#
  3. https://research-center.amundi.com/page/Article/Amundi-Views/2020/09/US-presidential-election-how-it-will-impact-US-economy-and-financial-markets

Feel free to add to the discussion in the comments.

Categories
Discussion

US Foreign Relations Policy

The 2020 US presidential elections will be held on the 3rd of November, less than a month from now. On the 29th of September, the debates between Donald Trump leading the Republicans and Joe Biden leading the Democrats were held. Among other things, both parties are offering different foreign relations policies and objectives. 

Below is an article describing the timeline of Trump’s foreign policy and research on the priorities for the US foreign policy of the Democratic party and the Republican party. 

After you have gotten acquainted with the articles, feel free to share your opinion and exchange your thoughts on the efficiency and effects of each policy! 

Article:

https://www.cfr.org/timeline/trumps-foreign-policy-moments

Research:

https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2018/11/29/conflicting-partisan-priorities-for-u-s-foreign-policy/