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The core periphery model in geography holds that there are some countries (in the core) that have become rich and remain rich by exploiting the countries of the periphery. The major assumption behind this model is that trade is a zero-sum game.
What this means is that trade is a process in which one side must lose if the other wins. By this model, trade makes the periphery lose while the core wins. It does not allow for the idea that trade is actually beneficial to both sides. It assumes that these trading relationships (rather than other factors) are what have kept the countries of the periphery in a subordinate position.
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