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Discussion 7: Global Stratification
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George Ritzer is a leading sociologist in the fields of social theory and global development. It is regrettable that this is one of the shortest chapters in the text, but reading it is an opportunity to learn from a professional who knows his subject intimately and who passionately cares about it.
The World Bank produces annual world development indicators which I regard as the most accurate and timely (though not perfect) data available today.
This week your task is to
1. go to this web site.
http://databank.worldbank.org/data/home.aspx (Links to an external site.)
2. Select the World Development Indicators (You may select another database if you wish, but the following instructions are based on the WDI).
3. Under preview select “add series.”
4. In the right-hand column, you can scroll down through a series of topics beginning with “Economic Policy and Debt.”
5. Click five boxes for topics that you think would most influence a nation’s development. (Note if you click “Education,” it will select all of the boxes under “Education.” Click the boxes for individual topics. For example, I chose “Education outcomes).”
6. Then pick one variable from the left-hand column for each of the topics you selected. For example, I chose “Adult literacy rate, population 15+ years, both sexes (%).”
When you are done, you should have five variables selected from the right-hand variables list.
7. Click “Add Country” from the top right of the screen.
8. Select 5 countries. For example, I chose The U.S., Mexico, Sudan, China, and Israel.
9. Choose a system of stratification (North/South), (High, Middle, Low Income), (Wealthy/Middle/Poor), (Developed/Developing)
10. Briefly explain why you chose these variable.
11. Classify each of the countries you have chosen in 8 above by the system chosen in 9 above and explain your reason for the classification. For example,
a. The United States is a wealthy northern nation.
b. Mexico is a middle-income southern nation.
c. Sudan is a poor southern nation.
d. China is a wealthy northern nation.
e. Israel is a middle income developing northern nation.
12. Add “Time” from the top right of the screen.
13. Choose 50 years.
14. Return to preview. Verify that “Country,” “Series,” and “Time” are checked.
15. Click “Chart” on the upper right-hand side of the page.
16. Click “Apply Changes” in the center of the page.
17. You can click on ‘country’ to see a different chart for each country showing each of the five variables you selected.
18. If the variable does not have data, you may wish to choose another variable.
19. Report the results for the five variables you picked because you felt they influenced development to form a personal theory of development.
Discuss your theory of development in terms of
a. growth theory and
b. conflict theory,
c. how your theory would define national growth, and
d. How the charts depict the variables contributing to national growth.
20. What did you learn from this lesson?
21. How could this lesson be improved?
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