Life and Debt

Globalization is a term most people associate with optimism, connoting equality, unity, and freedom. Therefore, it is easy for anyone to think of globalization as the avenue to world prosperity in all communities. Stephanie Black`s documentary Life and Debt is an impressive film that views globalization from a different perspective. Through the film, Stephanie shows the devastating impact that globalization can have on third world countries by creating a focus on individual Jamaicans, whose existence is determined by the developed countries. The film offers an all-around analysis on globalization and reveals the negative impact that globalization has on less developed countries.

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Life and Debt begins by showing vacationers arriving in Jamaica, which they expect to find a breathtaking island. As the film unfolds, the viewer gets to understand the colonial past of the island and the economic challenges it faces. The introduction of the motion picture offers an insight into the economic state of the island where a narrator describes the food that the vacationers are consuming might have come from Miami. Such a statement insinuates a perspective that Jamaica relies on the developed countries for support on various issues. The film also offers insight into the long-term debt of the island, which can be traced from 1976 after the election of Michael Manley. Michael Manley was forced by the economic situation of the island to enter into a loan agreement with the IMF. Black’s documentary indicates that the current debt owed by IMF and other global lending agencies to Jamaica is over $4.5 billion, and its development is yet to be realized in the country. The documentary unravels unfavorable economic prescriptions, such as high interest rates, wage limitations, and devaluation, which have been used to offset Jamaica`s balance of payments. These prescriptions were termed by the IMF as ineffective since they contribute towards the economic paralysis of Jamaica (Crichlow, 2005).

Stephanie uses the economic standpoint of Jamaica’s economy to describe the negative effects of the efforts termed as helpful to the economy since they have affected its performance rather than helped it. The stagnancy of Jamaica`s economy, even as if it continues to increase its debt, is a clear indication that the developed countries have been suppressing the less developed countries such as Jamaica. Stephanie describes that the country has been paying its debt, which is greater than its earnings, leading to introduction of ways that have continued to affect the country (Thomas, 2013). 

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The documentary also features free trade zones that globalization encourages. It shows how factory workers, who have to sew for five to six days a week, get the minimum wage of $30 per week. According to the film, globalization has offered a leeway where cheap labor and resources are assembled in Kingston, where the factory workers are subjected to poor working conditions. It also illustrates how the final material is exported to developed countries and sold at high prices. Stephanie clearly shows how the Jamaicans, feigningly advocated by globalization, have been negatively affected by free trade zones, since the developed countries get all the benefits (Goldstein, 2007).

Stephanie links different perspectives by showing how the developed countries are using globalization as a tool to continue exploiting the less developed countries such as Jamaica. Stephanie was first to disclose that globalization let the less developed countries be able to access loans from lending agencies without many restrictions. Such an aspect of globalization shows that the developed countries are able to lend the less developed countries without proper guidelines, making the funds misused. The less developed countries end up introducing poor economic prescriptions in order to repay these loans, further affecting their economic performance. Moreover, Stephanie connects the influence of the developed nations over the less developed nations with the aspect of free trade zones. According to Stephanie, only the developed countries benefit from the free trade zones. Those states set up their organizations in the poor countries and use cheap labor, offering bad working conditions to the employees. Stephanie names many factories in Kingston whose workers are paid poorly, yet their produce is sold at high prices when exported to the developed countries. Such a linkage makes the viewer understand that globalization is hyped and meant for the developed countries. Analyzing the film, the viewer will note that globalization will likely lead to the improvement of the developed countries while the poor countries will continue being underdeveloped (Bigelow, 2012).

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After the analysis of this feature-length documentary, the conclusion will convince the viewer that globalization does not reflect what many people purport it to fulfill. Even though globalization can be said to promote trade between nations, Life and Debt has already shown that only the developed nations are using globalization for their advantage. Stephanie distinctively interrelates the perspectives of globalization and the various unfavorable aspects surrounding less developed nations because of this worldwide process. Analysis of the evidence provided by the film is a clear indication of the negative impacts of globalization.

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