Eyes Wide Open Film Series, Part III
Life and Debt
February 09, 2006
As the third feature, in the spring session of the Eyes Wide Open Film Series, we viewed the video, “Life and Debt”, directed by Stephanie Black on Thursday, February 9th, 2006. This documentary is a prime example of the impact that trade liberalization, international lending and structural adjustment policies can have on a developing country.
This searing film dissects the "mechanism of debt that is destroying local agriculture and industry, while substituting sweatshops and cheap imports”. The narration was written by Jamaica Kincaid, and adapted from her book “A Small Place.” “Life and Debt” is an unapologetic look at the new world order, from the point of view of Jamaican workers, farmers, government and policy officials who see the economic, social, and political reality from the ground up.
In an interview from the film, former Prime Minister Michael Manley challenges us to try to understand the motives of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by asking, “in who’s interest?” and then answers with another question, “who set it up?” (Reference: 1944 Bretton Woods agreement)
The participants were asked to keep in mind these questions/discussion points as we watched the video:
How has the production structure in Jamaica changed in the last 30 years?
How has the food system changed in Jamaica in the same period of time?
Discuss the concepts of “the right to buy” and “the right to be food self reliance?”
If we define development as “improved economic, social and political well being of a nation”, why have the World Bank and the IMF policies not resulted in increased development in many countries?
What is required to create a “more level playing field” in global trade?
How has debt grown?
Discuss the comment from the film, “Was I born a violent man?”
Over twenty people were in attendance and the majority stayed after the film to discuss the above points.
As always, we want to extend a special thanks to the Linux Club for hosting our event.
Photo of a school in Yemen bombed by Saudi Arabian jets supplied by the U.S. and fueled in the air by the U.S. Air Force.
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