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Big Era Nine: Landscape Unit 9.4

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Wealth and Poverty since 1950

Why This Unit?

This unit examines global trends in wealth and poverty developing since 1950. Their effects touch many aspects of the lives of the current generation and will continue to the next. They offer splendid opportunities and pose difficult problems. Acquaintance with their causes, nature, and extent and will help us to live with and make decisions about the issues they raise.

Globalization and technology have brought about enormous increase in total world wealth. They have both stimulated and benefited from the forging of new globally oriented economic institutions, such as the World Bank and multinational corporations. These institutions created wealth; some worked to reduce poverty. But a number of their policies, paradoxically, caused increased poverty.

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Explain what poverty and wealth have meant to different people and how the definition of each has varied at different times and in different contexts.

2. Describe changes during the period in the wealthy and the poor globally and in developed and developing countries, identifying causes.

3. Explain globalization, and analyze its influence on wealth and poverty during the period.

4. Identify the nature of increasing economic inequality.

5. Trace changes that led some income countries out of poverty, and identify conditions that kept others from doing so.

Time and Materials

This unit is versatile. The number and variety of documents, discussion questions, and activities provided is meant to give teachers the choice to use what most suits their interests and circumstances.

Depending on time available and other circumstances, teachers may choose to forgo

  • parts of the lessons.
  • some of the Student Handouts within lessons.
  • some of the discussion questions and activities.
To facilitate teachers’ decisions, discussion questions and activities are keyed to specific Student Handouts.

Time taken will vary: two to four days for each lesson, depending on teachers’ selections from the materials provided, on how much detail is covered, and on whether the Student Handouts and thinking about the discussion questions can be assigned as homework. No materials are needed other than copies of the Student Handouts, and pencil and paper.

Table of Contents

Why this unit?

2

Unit objectives

2

Time and materials

2

Author

3

This unit's Big Question

3

The historical context

3

This unit in the Big Era timeline

12

Introduction

13

Lesson 1: Who Are the Poor and Who Are the Wealthy?

15

Lesson 2: A Place’s Rank on the Developmental Ladder: What Difference Does it Make?

31

Lesson 3: Putting an End To Poverty?

44

This unit and the Three Essential Questions

58

This unit and the Seven Key Themes

58

This unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking

59

Resources

59

Correlations to National and State Standards

60

Conceptual links to other teaching units

61

Complete Teaching Unit in PDF Format

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