What are the assumptions of the core/periphery model in human geography?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The core-periphery model is based on the idea that there are a "core" set of countries that exert the most control over the world's economy and that the rest of the world's countries are semi-peripheral or peripheral to that economic center. The "core" would include G7 countries and a number...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The core-periphery model is based on the idea that there are a "core" set of countries that exert the most control over the world's economy and that the rest of the world's countries are semi-peripheral or peripheral to that economic center. The "core" would include G7 countries and a number of other wealthy, technologically advanced countries with a high volume of international trade, while the "periphery" would include the world's poorest countries.

Proponents of this model argue that the modern core-periphery structure originated during the period of European colonialism, when European nations exploited their colonies for free natural resources and labor used to benefit citizens of the metropole. The core-periphery model is an updated version of that structure, with the "core" nations exploiting cheap resources and labor in less-developed peripheral countries to support and boost their own economies.

The core-periphery model is often illustrated in a sort of "hub and spokes" diagram, with few connections between the peripheral countries. Therefore, one assumption of the model is that peripheral countries cannot or will not develop their own trade specialties and trade with other peripheral countries. It assumes a peripheral dependency on the core that has historically been true but may not hold in the future.

The core-periphery model also assumes that the core controls the relationship between the core and the periphery and uses that control to exploit peripheral countries. While there are certainly hundreds of cases of a core country or its corporations exploiting a peripheral country or its workers, there are also cases of peripheral countries turning the income and trade generated from the core to their own advantage through smart policy. For example, Botswana has followed careful economic policies, helping it to capitalize on the income from its diamond deposits by building a stable government, attracting foreign investment, and diversifying its economy.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team