primary, secondary and tertiary sectors and the commodity chains

primary, secondary and tertiary sectors and the commodity chains

Project description
GEOG 150B, “Human Geography & Global Systems”
Spring 2014

Paper 2 Instructions
DUE: At the beginning of discussion sections Week 13 (April 15, 16, 17, 18)

• A paper copy of the essay must be submitted in person. Early submissions are encouraged, but they will be accepted only by the T.A., in person, at discussion, at

lecture, or at another mutually convenient time.

• In addition, an electronic copy of your essay must be uploaded to the D2L Dropbox prior to the due date and time. Only files in the following formats will be

accepted: .doc, .docx, .wpd, .esp, .pdf, .htm, .rft, .txt.

Late essays will be accepted ONLY at the beginning of discussion sections during Week 14 (April 22, 23, 24, 25); to qualify for late credit you must submit your essay

on or before this time. Absolutely no essays will be accepted for late credit any time after this deadline. Late essays will be marked down one full letter grade. The

GEOG 150B late-paper policy is not negotiable: The deadlines are firm.

In class we have been talking about primary, secondary and tertiary sectors and the commodity chains composed of all of the steps of production taken together. A

commodity chain is a series of links connecting many places of production and distribution. It starts at primary production: the growing of crops or mining of

material. These primary products are then manufactured into goods (commodities) and finally sent to market to be sold at the tertiary level. In some cases chains are

conceptualized more broadly to take account of waste streams (environmental impacts) and labor conditions (social impacts).

Goods that you see and use each day have gone through the steps of a commodity chain to make it to you. Food, clothing, electronics—everything you buy goes through a

commodity chain. The bread for your hamburger bun may have been baked here in Tucson, but the wheat could have been grown in Canada, the beef for the hamburger may

have come from Argentina, the cheese might have been crafted in Wisconsin. If you look in your closet you may find clothes ‘made in’ China, Jordan, Vietnam, or

Indonesia, but the cotton may have been grown in Mali, spun in Germany, then finally assembled in Asia, only to be shipped to Los Angeles, trucked to Tucson and sold

in the local mall. Two shirts sold in two stores in the same shopping plaza, or even two shirts in the same store, may have been produced in two very different

commodity chains.

Paper 2 Instructions
Choose one of the listed objects that you want to work on and answer the questions posed below for that specific item. These responses will require you to do some of

your own research by reading labels, surfing the net, or even making phone calls to companies to see if they know where the materials come from and where the factories

are located.

Step 1
Choose one of the following:
• a candy bar
• a box of tissues
• a pair of shoes
• a bottle of hand sanitizer
• a sofa
• a cup of hot chocolate
• a fountain pen
• a hot dog

Step 2
The Goal of the Paper: Use our Module 2 concepts to describe one commodity chain in detail, and (2) discuss whether there are alternative ways of producing that good.

(For example, if “an apple” were an option, I might begin by describing the commodity chain for a mass-produced apple sold at Safeway and analyze the similarities and

differences between that chain and one for an apple grown on a family farm in Wilcox, AZ and sold at a local farmers’ market OR e.g. research the use of organic cotton

to make tissues / consider the use of recycled materials).

Accomplish your analysis by focusing on the following points:
• What raw materials went into the making of your final good? Were they grown or mined? Would those raw materials all be produced in the same place? Where could they

have been produced (look online to see if you can find out which countries produce which raw materials)?
• How many steps did the product need to go through to get to you? What processes did raw materials have to go through to create the final product? (Don’t forget to

discuss the packaging your item comes in, additives it may contain, etc.)
• Where was the product manufactured or otherwise produced? Do you think each step of the manufacturing was done in the same place? Why did the producer choose to

locate there and how did this choice of location tie into other parts of the chain (such as the use of labor and capital, environmental impacts, marketing strategies,

• Who designed the product? Was this a separate step from the manufacturing? Where would this have taken place?
• How are different steps in the commodity chain linked through different modes and routes of transportation? Explain why the steps are linked in this particular way

using Module 2 concepts.
• What sort of labor was involved in each step of the process? Think about working conditions, salary, and the reason that the particular labor source you identified

was chosen.

A good analysis will present conclusions that are based on well-supported reasoning. This means that if you cannot find specific, definitive information on one part of

the commodity chain, it will be your responsibility as a researcher to offer your reader an “educated guess” and give pieces of evidence to show why you think your

suggestion could be correct.

Formatting and Other Reminders

Be sure to cite your research! Because this paper will require substantial, original research, you must use academically appropriate sources and cite each one (in text

and at the end of the paper in a bibliography).

Refer to the following resources for more information on what is a reliable academic source. or the

“Library Tools” tab on D2L

You may wish to include diagrams and pictures. If you do, place each one immediately below the paragraph where you refer to it in the text and be sure to include a

descriptive caption (including a full citation to the source from which you obtained it).

Your essay should have a descriptive title, be between 1200 and 2000 words in length, double-spaced, and in Times New Roman (or a similar) font in a standard size

(e.g., 12 point). Please include a word count at the end of your paper, number each page, and staple everything together. The front page must include your name, your

T.A.’s name, the name of the product, and your section number in the top right corner. Please do not use a cover or a cover page.


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