Technology Shrinks the World: With modern technology, the world’s people have been brought closer together. By studying other people and countries, you will be able to see connections between the United States and the world around us. When the first telephone cable was laid along the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 1956, it could carry only 36 calls between Europe and North America at one time. Forty years later, glass cables as fine as hairs were carrying 300,000 long-distance calls at once. Inventions are changing the world and it is changing faster every year. The internet is possible because of improved telephone cables, satellites, and computers.
The World Next Door: American Communities include various groups of people called Ethnic groups. An ethnic group is a group of people who have a common origin, and share a language and a history. Customs – practices handed down from the past. Often ethnic groups are also Minorities. A Minority group is a group of people whose culture, race, gender, or ethnic origin is different from most of the people in the region. Sometimes, but not always, the minority group is treated differently from the Majority. The majority is the group in society that controls most of the wealth and power; however, it is not always the largest group in numbers. Schools are the place where most young people first meet people from other ethnic groups.
The Social Sciences: Social Scientists organize information to help people understand the world around them. –Anthropologists study people and societies. –Sociologists study human behavior as it relates to groups of people. –Human Geographers look at people and their environment. –Geographers organize facts about Earth’s surface and people.
Other sciences that deal with social studies. –Psychology –Archeology –History
What is Culture?: Culture is the way of life of people who share similar beliefs and customs. The culture of a people also includes their government, food, music, literature, and the ways they make a living. Judging other people in terms of one’s own culture and standards is called Ethnocentrism. Cultural Borrowing is when one group of peoples adopts another group’s culture traits. Cultural Diffusion is how a culture spreads its knowledge and skills from one area to another. Today, cultural diffusion occurs through radio, television, telephones, computers, and the Internet.
Important Lessons in History: History is the story of the past. History tells how past conflicts influence the present. Studying history can also teach us important lessons and can guide our behavior in the present.
Government is Necessary: People need rules in order to live together without conflict. In countries, rules are created by governments. In a Limited government, constitutions or other laws set limits on power of government officials. Democracy is a form of limited government. In a representative democracy, people elect representatives who them make and enforce laws. The United States is a representative democracy. In an Unlimited government, power belongs to the ruler or rulers. Unlimited governments include dictatorships (Saddam Hussein) and absolute monarchies (kings or queens are born into ruling families). Constitutional monarchies are a type limited government. Ex. Great Britain (Queen)
Balancing Our Wants and Needs: The different ways people and nations go about meeting their daily needs are known as Economic Systems. All economic systems are concerned with producing goods. In a Traditional economy, people meet their needs based on their customs. Under a Command economy, the government makes all the decisions. In a Market economy, individuals determine for themselves what to produce, who will want it, how much to produce, and how much to charge. Most nations have a Mixed economy.
Differences in Development Countries differ in how much manufacturing and industry they have. Industrialized countries hold 97% of all patents ownership (right to inventions). Countries that are working toward industrialization are called Developing countries. Many corporations from industrialized countries are now building plants in developing countries, having found a valuable “Resource” in these places – people.
Human Migration: Throughout the world, people Migrate, or move, in great numbers. When people leave villages and farms and move to cities, it is called Urbanization. The most common reason people move to cities is to find jobs. Refugees are people who are forced to leave their homeland because of wars or unjust governments.
Population Growth: There has been a rapid increase in world population in recent years. An increase in the number of people means that more food is needed. Since 1950 world food production has increased faster than population on all continents except Africa. Because so many people in Africa need food, bad weather or war can ruin crops and bring disaster.
Conflict and Cooperation: As technology brings us closer together, nations are beginning to understand the importance of cooperation. Disagreement over land is a common reason for conflict between groups and nations. This is especially true when one culture has been displaced, or moved, by another culture. Other conflicts are about religion, race and politics. When groups and nations cooperate, they work together to find peaceful solutions to problems.
Civic Participation Civic participation – is being concerned with the public affairs of a community, state, nation or the world. In a democracy, Rights are benefits and protections guaranteed to you by law. In a democracy, Responsibilities are duties that you owe to your fellow citizens to make sure that the government continues. In Totalitarian governments, the people have no rights. Their responsibilities are to obey the laws of the land.
Globalization: Interdependence is when countries depend on one another for goods, raw materials to make goods and markets in which to sell goods. The world is sometimes referred to as a “global village” because in a village, people depend on one another to provide what they need to live. Globalization is the development of a world culture and interdependent economy. One danger of globalization is that it might erase traditions and customs of smaller groups.
Technology and World Issues: Technology is a tool, and, like any other tool, it can be used both wisely and foolishly. The Internet can help develop better citizens by providing information and easier easy to communicate. Because progress, in many ways, is determined by technology, sharing technology has become an important issue.