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The relationships between the physical environment and economic activities are no longer important. Discuss.

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Introduction

The relationships between the physical environment and economic activities are no longer important. Discuss. 'Second life' has its own settlements, inhabitants, firms, markets, geography and economies. In January 2007, it even had its own political riot. What is significant about this? Well, its economic activity bears absolutely no relation to the physical environment. It is an entirely virtual world and, admittedly, a computer game - but the point remains. Their currency, the transactions, the profits and the losses may occur in the game's own currency but can be converted into real life US dollars. This is 21st century economic activity as the science fiction author's imagined it, and fundamentally, is totally isolated from the physical environment. This could certainly be the shape of things to come, as indications of it can be seen translated onto the non-virtual world. The physical environment is consistently being conquered by human activity - there is little requirement for physically conducive circumstances for an area to be entered into the global capitalist economy. Anecdotally, there is a real snow slope in Dubai - economic activity based around winter sports is happening in the desert. ...read more.

Middle

'Old' industrial cities, such as Sheffield in the UK and Lille in France are characterised by loss of employment in the primary sectors, as mining and other physical environment heavy industries decline. There are often high levels of social deprivation and population loss from the inner city as out migration occurs. This illustrates that the relationship between the physical environment and economic activity is just as relevant today as it was with the initial city forming influences - in this case, the location of the cities, a physical factor, on the periphery of post industrial development has lead to economic depression and social deprivation. Furthermore, the observance of the growth of the postindustrial city from pre industrial times has been focused on the core regions of the UK, the USA and Japan. This conservative view of development theory assumes that all development will undergo similar courses, thus implying that the relationship between the physical environment and economic activity in LEDCs is more important than that in MEDCs. Structuralists, however, will argue that this is not the case. The growth of these 'core' regions has huge implications for the entire global economy based around human derivatives as opposed to physical factors. ...read more.

Conclusion

It has imparted traditions that persist by way of settlement patterns and economic strengths. If this is the case, a simple division can be made - MEDCs do not rely on the physical environment for economic activity where LEDCs do. However, this 'model' cannot be held paramount, as it appears not to be the case; structuralist views point out the presence of highly developed and desperate poverty even within the same city as a result of dependency, rather than economic development as a result of the physical environment. In spite of this, there exists an undeniable relationship between the physical environment and economic activity that applies to both LEDCs and MEDCs - the impact of natural disaster. Furthermore, there is increasing economic emphasis surrounding climate change, particularly in MEDCs. Fundamentally, economic activity is an aspect of human activity. Humans are part of the biosphere, and in turn, part of the physical environment. Whilst we may not be as constrained by mountain ranges or climate extremes, as once was the case, it is doubtful there will ever be a situation where the relationship between the physical environment and economic activity is totally irrelevant. Hazz Scurfield 13/08/2008 ...read more.

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