Expectations • Use a variety of geographic representations, tools, and technologies, to gather, process, and communicate geographic information. • Demonstrate an understanding of economic systems and the factors that influence them. • Describe the economic relationship between Canada and the global community.
Economic Activity and the Economy • Humans must work in order to have a better quality of life. • The work that people do to improve their lives is called economic activity. • Economic activities include all the things that people do to get, refine, or use natural resources. The term also describes anything that people do to increase their wealth. • Economic activity exists because people have needs. Meeting needs and wants, stimulates economic activity.
The Beginnings of Economic Activity • The earliest economic activity centered around food gathering. • During the stone age, early humans wandered in tribal or family groups hunting animals and gathering nuts, berries and fruit where they could. • An agricultural revolution occurred when people domesticated animals. • The demands of herding animals encouraged people to remain in one location, so villages began to develop.
Continued improvements in agricultural technology such as the plough, the tractor, and better techniques, led to even better lives for people. • New technology improved crop yields and quality and also resulted in better methods for storing, transporting, and selling food.
One result of this technological change was that some people had time to do other things besides produce food. • They could become craftspeople, working with metal, wood or cloth. • They could also teach, develop laws, practice medicine or lead their communities. • This freedom led to other developments such as the ability to write and to understand how technology could improve people’s lives.
Modern Economic Activity • This began around 1700 A.D. • Farmers began to apply new scientific ideas in producing food. • This spurred the development of manufacturing and the industrial revolution was underway. • Huge numbers of people moved to cities to find work in the new factories that were springing up there. • Cities became the focus for economic activities.
Urbanization dramatically shifted the population from the countryside to the cities. • By 1900, more and more people were working in jobs not related to agriculture. • Jobs were created to provide consumers in the cities with services such as entertainment, shops and stores, and banking and insurance.
Today, economic activities include many different types of services and professions. • Few jobs are now directly related to producing food or providing other basic needs such as shelter and clothing.
Measuring the Wealth of Countries There are two common ways to measure economic activity: The gross domestic product, or GDP, which measures the value in dollars of all the goods and services produced in a country in one year. In other words, if you added up everyone’s rent, groceries, phone bills and the like, the total would be the GDP.
The Gross National Product, or GNP, measures all the wealth earned by citizens of the country in one year, no matter where it was earned.