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Explain Why the Economic Effects of Hazards Vary Spatially

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  • Category: Economics

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Spatial distribution is one of the many types of hazards classification that help the scientist predict the hazards relating to where they are lost likely to occur and the impact it will have. Hazards can been classified by their spatial distribution, e.g. MEDC/LEDC or by continent, or even by tectonic occurrence (e.g. plate situation) or climate region. The definition of spatial distribution links to economic impacts, because it is common knowledge that any major hazards that occur in the LEDC is more likely to have an impact, mainly death toll, and loss of livelihood, land, jobs. All these factors can affect the economic activity of an LEDC country; however the MEDC is more likely to suffer severely from a major hazard, loss of power, means loss of trade, loss of transport means, no trade to local businesses. All these can have an adverse effect on the economic activity of an MEDC country.

The first focus in the aim of answering the above question will focus on the economic impact of a hazard occurring in an LEDC. We have established that spatial distribution is defined as a hazard occurring in an MEDC/LEDC. This forms the basis of answering the question. The main problem with the LEDC country is that it is immensely over populated; lack of land and place to build has led people to build in hazardous areas. However, there are complex reasons why people stay in these areas, one of the reasons is because hazards are unpredictable and the magnitude and frequency cannot be forecast. Also the social and political constraints cannot be avoided, so these people have to stay in these hazard prone areas. The most important factor to consider is that these people cannot get up and leave and fins a new place to go. They are migrants and have to take whatever accommodation is available to them. In addition in the country side of the LEDC some hazardous environments with river floodplains and volcanic areas offering new rich soil. This provides them with food to eat on a daily basis and sometimes the opportunity to grow cash crops. Therefore, they have to stay in these areas.

The economic impacts of the LEDC vary in comparison to that of the MEDC. 90% of hazards-related deaths occur in the LEDCs while 75% of the economic losses occur in the MEDCs. In MEDCs the number of deaths has decreased from an average of 38 deaths per hazard during the period 1947-67 to 19 deaths per hazards in 1969-89. In LEDCs, however, the death toll continues to rise from 1000 per hazard during 1947-67 to 2000 during 1969-89. This leads to a conclusion that the economic impact of the LEDC is as follows. Loss of lives means loss of labour for the primary industry, especially the manufacturing industry. This will lead to decreased trade with the MEDC and this reducing the growth and expansion of their manufacturing industry. Their economy will not be able to grow at a faster rate. This will continue to affect the standard of living and quality of lives of the population in the LEDC where the hazard has occurred. The loss of trade could also affect future political decisions of the country, leading to a total downfall of the country in a worst case scenario.

In addition, hazards can cause LEDC to become dependent on aid from other nations, mostly the MEDC, this will not give the LEDC countries a chance to grow economically, and improve their basic skills. Hazards can affect LEDC countries massively in an economical way, however, the effects of a hazard on an LEDC country usually involves death tolls.

In contrast to the effects a hazard can cause for an MEDC country. The hazard is unlikely to take many lives, due to vast advances in technology, better education meaning better perception. All these factors combined reduce the death toll that MEDC experience when hazards occur. However, the effects of a hazard on the economy of the MEDC country are enormous. For example; if a flood occurred in New York City, many things would be damaged, the infrastructure, the electricity, the transport, communication, the service companies, tourism. All of these combined could send the economy of the country into a downward spiral of economic recession. The phrase; “if America sneezes, the world catches a cold”, comes to mind.

The damage to infrastructure will cause communication to be lost, the transport damaged. All these will cause trade to be lost within and outside of such a huge continent. Lack of trade will mean that consumer demand are not been met, firms will lose out, due to lack of capital. The tourism industry will be affected, due to lack of transport. This effects means that two or more industries will be affected, which will affect the stock market of the country, and this will also affect the world stock market. This can cause the American economy to go into recession. This means unemployment rate will be high, labour market will be affected. The mixed economy of the country will be affected.

This hazard does not mean that only the country in question will be affected. The LEDC that depend on aid on MEDC will be affected. The trade between countries will lost causing a huge effect on the industries around the world. Interest rate will go up, inflation will be high, and in the worst case scenario the same events occurring in Zimbabwe may occur.

In conclusion, the economic effects of hazard vary spatially, because it depends on the city it occurs in an MEDC country. If a flooding were to occur in London city, then the same effects as above may be expected, however the flooding tat occurred this year August 2007, didn’t have any significance economic damage to the country. For an economic affect to be truly seen, the hazard has to occur in a primate city. This is one of the reasons why the economic effects of hazard vary spatially.

In addition, a hazard in an LEDC country in a country side will not have huge economic effects. The worst effects would be loss of lives and homelessness, which can have economic impacts but not a highly significant one. A flooding in LEDC countryside is likely to enable to soil to become fertile, therefore enabling better crop growth and more harvest yield. However, a flooding in an LEDC city will cause huge loss of lives and damage to building and roads, which will have more economic impact, than if it was in the countryside. Therefore economic effects of hazards vary spatially, due to the location they occur.

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