Mapping the Future
Various scholars perceives the 21st century rapid increase of population results unpredictable shrinkage of production areas which urban zoning and land use conversion predominantly occupies dwelling. Sooner spatial recovery is essential to balance the land use from residential to production.
In the US and Canada, the expansive mode of population and area occupation is believed to be twofold in effect of continuing influx of immigrants. In ‘Chapter 19: the Future of North America’ from untitled and undated manuscript has derived the critical discussions in mapping the future, in which this paper will examine the demographics.
Mapping the Future
Based on the ‘Chapter 19: the Future of North America’ of the untitled and undated manuscript, Florida which is located in the southeastern part of the United States (US) has more than 13.4% of population of persons over 65. It is the only state which has over 13.4% elderly that is not bordered by another state in that same demographic category (356). The shift to industrial and post-industrial economy may have affected Florida’s economy since its main industry is tourism because of its fine sand beaches.
From 17th – 19th centuries, North America’s economy relies on the primary sector. More than half of North Americans lived on farms. Agricultural products were among the major exports of the US. In the early 20th century, US became the major producer of industrial goods (such as electrical machinery, transportation and farm equipments) and this exceeded the revenue generated from the export of agricultural products and other primary sector activities. However, in the late 20th century, manufacturing (such as clothing, textiles, food processing, chemicals, machineries and transportation equipment) declined because the high cost of labor in North America compared to less developed countries.
Globalization of the North American economy and the shift from agriculture to industrial to post-industrial had significant effect on the pattern of North America’s geography. Particularly, neighboring states such as North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas have high concentration of elderly. Many people from the foregoing states leave their homes and their parents to seek for better economic opportunities or attend in a university or join the armed forces.
As early as 17th century, the main economy of these states is agriculture. They have rich soils and fertile agricultural lands. However, farm and manufacturing jobs continue to decline over the years because of cheap labor overseas. Young people have decided to leave their homes to seek for better job opportunities elsewhere, largely because mechanization has reduced the ranks of farm workers while the local industry has been unable to create sufficient number of new jobs.
Growing number of North Americans identify themselves as multi-racial. Population movements in various regions of North America can be traced historically. Some regions of North America were once dominated by European settlers and this coincided with the shift from agriculture-based to resource-based to an industrial economy where millions of European immigrants work for North America’s factories. Based on the Census conducted in 2000, people from Hawaii (21%), Alaska (5.4%), California (4.7%), Oklahoma (4.5%), Nevada and Colorado identify a multiple race heritage (358).
Can you see into the future?
In the future, North America and Canada’s geography would be dependent on the movement of local, national and world economies. With the introduction of globalization, everybody would seek for better economic opportunities and this would fuel competition with one another. The new economic opportunities would result in movement of people (both local and international) in seek of better jobs and more income, a change in social organization and population concentration (overcrowding), rising incidence of crime (due to differences in beliefs of locals and new settlers), social conflict, traffic and pollution (environmental degradation). The improved transportation in desire for the easy and fast transport of goods would also increase the mobility of the population. Thus, would result in the transformation of the social structure including the social values, attitudes and patterns of behavior of the people.
New economic opportunities should go hand in hand with sustainable development. Regional planning such as urban renewal, government control over land use and housing programs should also take place. Aside from that, economically sustainable development should also be observed. Economic development should ensure long term local benefits. Local residents should be prioritized in terms of job selection because, in the first place, some of them are displaced because of the new factory buildings constructed and their environment is exploited in some factory operations. The decline of agriculture and manufacturing was followed by the growth of tertiary and quaternary sectors such as tourism, government, education, research and development and medical services. Large metropolitan areas grow at faster rates than the continental average.
However, this growth is not sustainable without local agriculture and manufacturing. First, the raw materials, which are essential in fuelling industrialization, are products of agriculture. The practice of farming including the production of crops, rearing of livestock and cultivation of the soil are all products of agriculture. Particularly, its output was geared to supplying food for the urban population. Thus, developing the agriculture with which all the raw materials came from is very important. Second, manufacturing sector converts the raw materials into products such as food and clothing essential for human use. Third, manufacturing sector produces the industrial products such as machinery, metal products and transportation equipment. The use of machinery, for instance, allowed production to break through the worker’s biological limitations. Hence, this means an increase in production and consumption. The creation of demand generates employment and more employment means more income. Lastly, manufacturing also invites innovation which enhances the process of expansion, increases efficiency and reduces cost.
Over time, North America showed a continued increase of power– political, economic and military. It also enjoyed a continued increase of influence in the global economy and politics. On the other hand, Canada failed to maintain its status in the global economy as North America pulled away as leading economic and industrial power in the 1900. Most of the multi national corporations were based in North America. However, as the world economy geared towards the promotion of globalization, human working skills failed to develop as corporations move their operations from one place to another. Training and specialization of workers also failed to take place.
Envisioning immigration to US and Canada
Many immigrants flocked to the US and Canada in search of better economic opportunities. The positive perception of the region will continue if the economic development comes together with a sustainable environment development. Urban development is associated with increase of population concentration and environmental degradation. The region should initiate and help implementing sustainable development projects. The conversion of rural lands for housing would replace to displacement of some local settlers and conflicts between people brought by difference in values. The best remedy to maintain the positive perception of the region is to respect the individual freedom and liberty of all people with highest regard to the common good.
Politically and economically, US may be dominant in the world. However, after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, the question of peace and safety come into play. Today, according to the US Consulate in Vancouver, there are at least 250,000 legal American migrants living in British Columbia (363). Based on this, Americans themselves do not feel secure in their own country. While economic prosperity is important, peaceful and quiet living is more important. The 21st century immigrants may think twice in residing in the US than in Canada. Given the question of security in the US, Canada is a better choice migration location than the US.
Industrialization and globalization know no boundaries. Aside from economic development, it has developed other sectors like communication and transportation. It has also altered the geographic concentration in some states which caught the respective governments unprepared for the demands of urbanization. Urbanization problems like overpopulation, traffic, pollution should be addressed. Aside from that peace and security should be far more important than economic security in choosing a place of migration.
Untitled and Undated manuscript. “Chapter 19: the Future of North America”.
15 June 2009
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