EDEXCEL Superpower Geographies - full topic notes

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Superpower Geographies
Attributes of a superpower
o Physical size and location
Larger countries tend to have more resources
Neighbouring countries have influence
E.g. Russia is the largest country
o Resources
Critical for economic development
However, some developing country's' resources are `owned' by TNCs
in wealthier countries- e.g. oil in Nigeria is managed by Shell and BP
E.g. oil in the middle east
o Population size
Labour force for economic growth
However, Singapore has low population and high economic power
UK uses immigration to increase labour force
o Economic power and influence
Top 12 countries early 68% of global GDP
Organisations to discuss economic policies
o Military force
UN controls world peace- members have nuclear weapons (and other
o Global capitalism- role of media
Political influence- US channels available globally
Capitalism and Communism
During the cold war, there were hostile relations between the superpowers
Russia and USA. Russia was communist and USA were Capitalist
Capitalism: where all factors of production are owned by private individuals
or firms who run them for their own profit
Communism: where all factors of production are owned by the stae for the
good of everyone
Former communist countries:
o China

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USSR, (who also owned controlled Poland, E. Germany, Czechoslovakia,
Hungary...…read more

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IMF prevented communism spreading
o Gave loans to countries suffering after WW2
o Stop the countries going to communism
o Created capitalist societies
How successful in Singapore?
o Very successful- rapid recovery of economy
o Became one of the `Asian Tigers'
How successful in Japan?
o Rapid recovery of economy
o Rising living standards
o Political stability
o Power to parliament instead of dictator
o Broke up powerful interest groups
o Japan overtook USSR in 2nd largest economy
Colonial Rule
Imperialism: a relationship of political,…read more

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Why did the British Empire slowly decline?
After WW2, UK became bankrupt and unable to support the Empire
Anti- Colonial movements grew
Majority of colonies independent by 1970
China- new superpower?
China is growing at 6-7% (2012) and exerting a powerful influence upon the
global economy.…read more

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USA rely on China to produce
Pearl River Delta is main area for manufacturing, with 18 million people
Special Economic Zone (SEZ)
Established May 1980
Shenzhen- main zone due to proximity to Hong Kong
90% of workers are migrants
4th largest GDP in China
Successful reforms?
Economic reform introduced in late 1970s- period of spectacular growth
GDP grown average 9.6% between 1979-1993 (global average: 2.…read more

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Russia as a super power again?
Significant reserves of oil and gas adding to global power
Developed export partnerships to the east and west
Russia depends on Europe buying 80% of oil exports, but USA is
a keen buyer and China's demand for oil is growing
Power explained when:
In 2006 Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine for 3 days over a
payment dispute
Military Power
4th largest standing army
Theories explaining growth of superpowers
Modernization theory
A theory proposed to explain the dominance…read more

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Theory views the world as having an economically developed
core and an underdeveloped periphery
Model views the periphery as being kept dependent on the core,
thus continuing its state of underdevelopment
Capitalist core keeps the periphery in a state of
underdevelopment by exploiting cheap resources and taking its
most skilled workers- e.g. TNCs in Taiwan
Superpowers are developed. Underdeveloped have no chance
World systems theory
A 3 tier world with a core, semi periphery and a periphery
More realistic
E.g.…read more

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Political influence- influence in international relations at the IMF, UN,
WTO, G8 etc.
Economic wealth and power, possibly a result of trade and the wealth
this brings- related to trade blocs or TNCs
Power can also be seen as stemming from research and development,
new technology, patents and royalties. Also having resources other
people want
Military power- naval and nuclear give a country a global reach
Neo Colonialism
Where a country controls other countries overseas- related to dependency
theory.…read more

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Commodity Traders Commodity traders in London
and New York decide the price
of cocoa and buy for large
companies (Cadbury's)
Buyers trade in future markets
for best price
Other countries also produce
cocoa, so buyers will go to the
cheapest place
Price fluctuates impacting
exporting countries and their
Dependency theory- Ghana
relies on UK and USA to buy their
Overseas Tariffs Countries that produce and
export cocoa commodities would
want to develop its chocolate
before exporting to make it more
valuable BUT..…read more

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NATO- political
Military alliance between European countries and USA
IMF- economic
Monitors economic and financial development of countries
Lends money when countries are facing financial difficulties
G8- political and economic
Forum of world's richest and most powerful nations
Meetings about global policy directions western democracies should
WTO- economic
Trade policy, agreements and settling disputes
Promotes global free trade
EU- political and economic
Trade bloc
Encourage free trade
Movement of people within the EU
More power unified
Superpower influence and `global culture'
-The growing power…read more


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