Sample Essay on Geography and Contemporary Economics

Geography and Contemporary Economics

Question One:  A Comparative Analysis of Regional Features of Contemporary Economy

In the contemporary society, the economic status of any region of any country depends on the various economic activities that occur in such places. The type of endowment of resources that the regions have has a great impact in determining the economic status of the area. Additionally, the technological advancements have played a critical role in improving the economies of the same (Aydin, 352). The natural resource such as the historical sites, the natural oil wells and the geographical location of various regions makes them economically advantaged than others. It is due to these reasons that some of the regions and countries have well-developed economies than the others (Fagan, 722). This paper looks at the various issues that surround the economies of various geographical areas around the world. We would look at the different economic factors that bring on board the difference in terms of the growth in the economies of these regions. The areas under scrutiny in this paper are the Armenia, Western Serbia, the Ukraine, Moscow, and Kazakhstan.  In the analysis of these areas, we would take a look at the various economic resources in these regions that drive their economies to a higher level (Fagan, 722). These factors would be compared with the other regions in the list. The vital component of this discussion is to get the real issues at hand and makes sure that we discern the impact of these differences.  In the comparative analysis, we would also give an incisive look at how the various economic resources have helped these regions in creating wealth and helping in the improvement of the living standards of the populace in these regions.

Armenia is a landlocked country that mainly depends on Russia for many funds that drive its economy. This country is geographically isolated, and this has deteriorated its economic development. It is also a fact that the country has a very narrow export base that makes not to get more in terms of the export income. In this prospect, the country is seen to depend on more on the neighboring countries for much economic aid. The country is also facing a high stance of pervasive monopolies in some of the various vital sectors of the economy (Glasbergen, Pieter, and Andrew, 312).  This has impeded competition in the production of the different sets of goods and services in the economy. As for Ukraine, the country is seen to be the riches in the manufacture of the various agricultural products which it is deemed to plant in the fertile black soils with a favorable climate.

Some of the agricultural imports emanate from Ukraine, which helps the country of Armenia in terms of food and other general supplies. It is a fact that the Ukraine country was the most important part of the Soviet Union, and hence, it gained a lot in terms of the economic endowments.  For Armenia, there are specific allied companies that have monopolized the markets and set the price as they would want and this has cut down on the level of competition that is needed for the growth of the economy. As it stands, the Ukraine country, on the other hand, has introduced the liberalization of its markets in such a way that the prices of various goods and services are being determined by the forces of demand and supply (Jackson, 232).  There is therefore high competition in the production of goods and services in this country that has made it have a very strong economy as compared to the Armenian country. It is, however, important to note that the recent wars in Ukraine that occurred due to the Revolution of Dignity made the country’s economy contract by more than 6.8% in the year 2010. These advents of wars have tremendously distracted the peace in this country and hence the growing economy that the country has been enjoying for years. Due this act of contracted economy, the Russian government decided to step up the control in terms of occupation in Crimea that would be deemed to helping the country raises its economy once again through profound reforms.

Western Serbia is known for its magnificent tourism destination. The region is known for having scenic beauty around its mountains and hills. It also contains some of the best picnics that one would want to tour during summer. To this end, the region has grown economically due to a high level of tourists’ attraction that the area is deemed to have each. The revenues collected here are well stratified in such a way that they are used in enhancing the historic sites (Aydin, 312). While Ukraine is known for its agricultural production, Western Serbia builds its economy through the tourism sector.

One of the magnificent geographical features that act as a tourist attraction element in western Serbia is famous mountains of western Serbia called Zlatibor and Tara. Additionally, the tourist attraction sites are also evident in these areas such as the Sirogojno Saganaki Osmica.  These areas are known be very attractive, and they are deemed to being most tourists from all the world who like to stay in these places and make sure that they are considered to be quite able to have a substantial time in visiting these places. In this prospect, the western Serbia is one region whose high percentage of revenue comes from the tourism sectors and tries to sustain the area economically. A closer look at Moscow, it is a fact that this city is the major economic, political, scientific and cultural center for the Eastern Europe and the Russia as a whole (Nye, Brent, Burns, and Jonathon, 214). The city is believed to be one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world.  In fact, the city is the largest in the entire Europe. This notion has made the city to be economically active in every aspect. According to Forbes, the city was ranked the 14th largest agglomeration and largest metro areas. Additionally, it is believed that the city is 9th most expensive cities in the world having one of the strongest economies ever seen.  As it stands, the city is sitting authority of the whole of Russia. The whole of administration offices of Russia is situated in this area. Additionally, the sitting president lives in this city and hence the city is deemed to be the epicenter of the Russian economy. The economy of Russia is dependent on this city. The city, therefore, is considered to be quite industrialized (Fagan, 722).

The high level of industrialization seen in this area makes it economically secure. The main difference between this region and the other parts of Armenia is that it supplies the Armenian areas with various resources. The industrialization that is being seen in Armenia is being carried out by the tycoons that emanate from Moscow. This notion is evident where the city is seen to have a high level of imports from Armenia at the same the city has a large inflow of foreign direct investment revenues from the neighboring countries that make its economy quite strong. The technological advancement in the nuclear energy manufacture and other resources has made the city to be one of the biggest distributors of energy that runs most of its industries in the neighboring countries (The CIA World Factbook 2010, 63).

Kazakhstan is seen to be one of the strongest regions economically in the former Soviet republic. The country has rich deposits such as minerals and oils. The minerals here range from Uranium, the zinc, copper and other metals. The region is also very rich in terms of the agricultural produce which it exports to other countries to earn high amounts of export revenues.  The main difference between Moscow and Kazakhstan is the Kazakhstan is landlocked in nature while Moscow has a coastline. In this prospect, the Kazakhstan relies on Moscow, Russia to export some of the agricultural produce that they would take to the international markets like Europe and America. The economy of Kazakhstan consequently depends on the trade agreements that they have with Russia. With this notion in place, the external economic challenges make the country have a high stance of effects on this region’s economy (Nye, Brent, Burns, and Jonathon, 214). For example, the recent global financial crisis that occurred in the year 2008/9 affected the economy of this country where it had to devalue its currency that made the value of its export quite small. In this prospect, the country that benefited more is Russia, which made a fortune out of the sales of the imports from Kazakhstan region (The CIA World Factbook 2010, 12). It should be noted that the primary market for oil and mineral product for the Kazakhstan country is the European, and this has made the country to have a high level of trade agreements with the various European countries which are deemed to have a high trade engagements with this country. These contracts have made the country to trade with these European countries in the friendliest way thereby reducing the amount of cash taxes and export duties that other nations as charge when they export to these countries.

Comparing these regions in terms of economic power and the amount of GDP of each region,  Moscow stands to be quite economically stable owing to the fact that it is the capital of Russia and hence the biggest metropolitan city in the area. In respect to the GDP of Russia, this represents Moscow, stands at $ 3.471 trillion. This GDP is far above the neighboring Kazakhstan, which stands at $ 430.5 Billion. This disparity is caused by the large geographical area that Russia has that makes it more economically endowed than other regions being discussed. Additionally, it should be noted that the fact that Russia whose capital is Moscow has a hinterland makes other countries depend on it a great deal in terms of exportation and importation of various goods and services to and from other nations (Fagan, 722). The GDP of Armenia now is around $ 25.22 billion which is very low as compared to other regions like western Serbia. Another issue that needs to be elucidated here is the fact that Moscow due to its strategic position in the country makes it quite substantially economically active than other regions and its fluctuations financially also affect other parts such as the Armenia. For example, in the event that the global financial crisis hit Moscow, Armenia, Kazakhstan, western Serbia and Ukraine are deemed to be affected as well (Nye, Brent, Burns, and Jonathon, 24).

A closer comparison between Kazakhstan and Ukraine reveals that Kazakhstan is still stronger economically than Ukraine since its gross domestic products stand at 430.5 billion while that of Ukraine stands at $ 334.2 billion. The difference in the gross domestic product is caused by the fact the Russia’s occupying the Crimea area as from the date of March 2014 has been a big blow to the economy of Ukraine. This move has made its economic growth decline tremendously. The country has acted quickly to partner with various European countries that are deemed to help it revive its economy. The current move for this country has enabled it to have an EU- Ukraine comprehensive liberalized trade area that started this year (2016 January) that is deemed to help the country get back to its glory in terms of the economic development. In this prospect, the country will be able to compete well with other countries like Kazakhstan favorably and ensure that they are stabilized in the near future.

In summary, the discussion on the comparison between the five sets of regions postulated here reveals that the area that is the most economically endowed is Moscow. Being strategically position as the largest metro area and the capital city of Russia, the region is highly economically developed. Additionally, western Serbia central economic pillar is the tourism sector.  Kazakhstan has agriculturally productive areas that allow it to gain a high level of export income by exporting these products from the agricultural sector. The country is also well endowed with mineral and oil mining areas that have seen its economy grow to a tune of $430.2 billion in terms of GDP. Ukraine, on the other hand, is economically endowed with electric power production, the iron ores for mining, and the chemical and food processing areas which have helped the country to be financially secure but now as healthy as Kazakhstan or Moscow (Nye, Brent, Burns and Jonathon, 224). Armenia, on the other hand, is seen to have been controlled by the Russian economy and it only has $22.5 billion in terms of gross domestic product which is far much less than other regions including western Serbia and Ukraine.

Question Two: The Causes and Consequences of Environmental Degradation in the Former Communist States of Eastern Europe

The environmental problem in the former Soviet nations of Eastern Europe is a profound result of the policies put forward during the communist era, which gave top priority to industrialization. It was predicted back in the 1930s by a few scientists who vainly attempted to alert the political leadership. It was aggravated by stubborn centralization that ignored local conditions and by the construction of massive industrial complexity. Air pollution management, treatment of waste water and industrialization of the production equipment were all neglected. Communist agriculture substantially destroyed large chunks of lands, and colossal irrigation resulted in widespread soil erosion and Stalinization (Aydin, 32).

Both politicians and researchers adhered to the notion of the “self-purifying” biosphere, regarding which the surroundings can adjust to different types of contamination without suffering significant damage, provided they remain below maximum acceptable concentrations (MAC). In practice, the MAC was always widely exceeded.

As far as the citizens were concerned, guarding of the natural environment accentuated little more than the preservation of animal and vegetable types, on which the socialist nations had a relatively better record. With the inception of glasnost in the 1980s, new non-political organizations started to engage the state in the debate on environmental issues. But the commencement of open discussion was scampered by the derailment of the communist eras and the economic predicaments. In Russia, the first nation committee on the conservation of the natural surroundings, set up in 1988 under the Soviet era, was turned into a cabinet department in 1991. However in 1997, it was downgraded to committee status, and in May 2000, the government disbanded it altogether. Its roles were taken over by the ministry of natural resources, whose role is precise to exploit those resources. And so it was relegated back to business as usual, with nature serving primarily to supply the resources for economic development (Aydin, 352).

Environmental degradation is one of the menaces that most of the countries who embrace industrialization face every day. The fact that industrialization brings forth the pollution of the environment gives the states the option of ensuring that they follow the individual prompts to make sure that they control the pollution that comes with the formation of various industries.  The current context of interpretation of contamination revolves around air, water and soil pollution. In the former communist countries in the Eastern Europe embraced the advent of industrialization without keen concern on the real emergence of consequences that pollution would bring and how these effects are deemed to affect the various sectors of the economy and the wellbeing of the individual citizens living in these countries. This part looks into the causes and the consequences of environmental degradation in these countries with keen concern on the industrialization in such countries.

In Kazakhstan, massive mining and metallurgy companies were built to make use of the local mineral ores. They have not been rationalized and cause extreme local air contamination. In the west of Kyrgyzstan, waste from the radioactive activities from uranium factory is stocked with no protection and risks contaminating the rivers in adjacent Uzbekistan. The Soviet Union established its Polygon nuclear analysis site in the less inhabited region to the west of region of Semipalatinsk. The degree of the acute infectivity it caused has yet to be dependably projected. Around one-third of Central Asia’s consumption water is lost through permeation because the delivery networks are in such poor condition. Since the 1950s, the conventional fertile grazing lands of the semi-arid northern prairie lands have been cultivating year in year out without contemplation for the soil, which has gone through extensive Aeolian corrosion (Aydin, 352). As the north of the country, Central Asia is a delicate area whose severe climate makes its network highly susceptible.

The Aral Sea was intentionally sacrificed by Soviet projectors. The water that comes from the two chief rivers flowing into it, Amu-Dario and Syr-Daria, was diverted for the reasons of irrigating rigorous cotton plantations. The consequential drop in the intensity of the Aral Sea was believed to be made superior by the ambitious scheme for diverting the flows of the waterway in northern Russian country. Those projects by no means started, and the Sea persisted in drying out, annually. Soil fatigue and sterilization were worsened by the substantial use of pesticides and fertilizers. Desertification got a bad and large magnitude of the salinated and stripped soil, susceptible to eolian erosion, was gutted by the prevailing air streams onto arable land in adjoining regions, which in turn quickly depreciated. Now new threats have been plunged into that hereditary from the communist era.

Urged on and shored up by the international oil companies, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have boarded on a large-scale drilling operation in the superficial irrigates of the Caspian Sea, at the danger of destroying susceptible ecosystems. Uzbekistan is tailing intensive cotton manufacture based on a colossal use of fertilizers and insect killers, just as it did under the regime of the Soviet system. This move has been so extensive that it will be very intricate in future to utilize the land for whatever thing than growing fiber. Nevertheless, despite this depressing picture, Central Asia still has outsized tracts of non-contaminated land, particularly in the precipitous regions of the southeast (Aydin, 342).

Extensive periods with no light, extreme hotness, and exceptionally slow natural expansion mechanisms all assist in making the Arctic predominantly receptive to contamination. Military and manufacturing activities have put a harsh strain on the areas, particularly susceptible ecosystems, foremost in some regions to the total fundamental obliteration of the surroundings. In the western division of the Novaya Zemlya, Kola Peninsula, and the parts of Norilsk, and Arkhangelsk, the state of affairs is nothing short of calamitous. The primary sources of air contamination are the soft tissue factories and the enormous metallurgy combines utilizing the region’s phosphorus, nickel and copper deposits. Sulfur dioxide discharges are a grave health hazard and are escalating all the time. In the early 1980s the Kola Peninsula was getting approximately 600,000 tons annually and the Norilsk area as much as 2 million tons.

Vegetation has worsened throughout the area and has been totally damaged in a broad region covering thousands of hectares in the area of the industrial centers. The city also receives airborne contamination from Western Europe, which it keeps hold of and embeds in the surroundings.

The massive coniferous forest, by now affected by acidic rain, is under peril from over-utilization by the timber production. The top soil has been polluted by impure snow over large regions and contains high focus of heavy metallic minerals such as nickel, copper, and zinc. Tributary water is usually of poor quality and recurrently contains soaring concentrations of lingo-sulphonates (formed by the pulp plants), phenols, ammonia, and methanol. In the Kola Peninsula, the derived streams into which the quarry and foundries discharge their desecrated water are saturated with intense metals.

The immense civil and martial use of nuclear power ever since the 1950s has also dented the regional surroundings. The majority of the Soviet Union’s nuclear experimentations (more than a hundred from 1955 to 1990) were done on Novaya Zemlya, and massive quantities of concrete and liquid radioactive dissipates were discarded in the Kara and Barents Seas. The northern navy, which consists of nuclear-powered starters and nuclear submarines, is stationed at pedestals along the north coastline of the Kola Peninsula, close to Murmansk. The nuclear power location at Polanyi is categorized as “precarious” by the global Atomic Energy Agency. The Soviet Union discharged nuclear charges for civil manufacturing and mining reasons on at least twenty instances from 1969 to 1988 (The CIA World Factbook 2010, 522). Hardly any of these actions is mentioned in certified reports, and very petite is known of the degree of radioactive pollution in the region. In a nutshell, the pollution in these areas has brought much environmental degradation that is quite detrimental to the wellbeing of the humanity around.

Question Eight: Analyze Contemporary Social and Economic Conditions and Environmental Problems in Armenia

The high level of industrialization seen in this area makes it economically secure. The main difference between this region and the other parts of Armenia is that it supplies the Armenian areas with various resources.  The industrialization that is being seen in Armenia is being carried out by the tycoons that emanate from Moscow.  This notion is evident where the city is seen to have a high level of imports from Armenia at the same the city has a large inflow of foreign direct investment revenues from the neighboring countries that make its economy quite strong.  The technological advancement in the nuclear energy manufacture and other resources has made the city to be one of the biggest distributors of energy that runs most of its industries in the neighboring countries.

Some of the agricultural imports emanate from Ukraine, which helps the country of Armenia in terms of food and other general supplies.  It is a fact that the Ukraine country was the most important part of the Soviet Union, and hence, it gained a lot in terms of the economic endowments.  For Armenia, there are specific allied companies that have monopolized the markets and set the price as they would want and this has cut down on the level of competition that is needed for the growth of the economy.  As it stands, the Ukraine country, on the other hand, has introduced the liberalization of its markets in such a way that the prices of various goods and services are being determined by the forces of demand and supply.

There is therefore high competition in the production of goods and services in this country that has made it have a very strong economy as compared to the Armenian country. It is, however, important to note that the recent wars in Ukraine that occurred due to the Revolution of Dignity made the country’s economy contract by more than 6.8% in 2010 (The CIA World Factbook 2010, 522).  These advents of wars have tremendously distracted the peace in this country and hence the growing economy that the country has been enjoying for years. Due this act of contracted economy, the Russian government decided to step up the control in terms of occupation in Crimea that would be deemed to helping the country raises its economy once again through profound reforms.

Works Cited

Aydin, Mustafa. International Security Today: Understanding Change and Debating Strategy. Ankara: Center for Strategic Research, 2006. Print.

Fagan, Adam. Environment and Democracy in the Czech Republic: The Environmental Movement in the Transition Process. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2004. Internet resource.

Glasbergen, Pieter, and Andrew Blowers. Environmental Policy in an International Context: 3. London: Arnold, 1996. Print.

Jackson, Robert M. Global Issues 1998/1999. Guilford: Duskin/McGraw-Hill, 1998. Print.

Nye, Joseph S, Brent Scowcroft, R N. Burns, and Jonathon Price. American Interests in South Asia: Building a Grand Strategy in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Washington, DC: Aspen Institute, 2011. Print.

The CIA World Factbook 2010. New York: Skyhorse Pub Co Inc, 2009. Print.

The World Factbook 2007. Washington, D.C: Central Intelligence Agency, 2007. Print.