Life and Debt Documentary Reaction Paper

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Caitlyn Tait
Dr. Detraz
POLS 1501
Life and Debt Documentary Reaction Paper

In Life and Debt the director, Stephanie Black, sets the scene with how you would visualize Jamaica as an American tourist and proceeds to explain the contrasting views of the Jamaican people. For example, the voice over explains how many American tourists feel rich when they exchange money because their American dollars go for many Jamaican dollars due to the high inflation rates causing their currency to be valued so little. Throughout the rest of the documentary, Black’s main goal is to show what post-colonial Jamaica is really like since the IMF has given them loans and what the Jamaican people have had to sacrifice in the process. Within the documentary, they explain who the IMF was set up by and how it was set up for short term loans after WWII with the idea of rebuilding a devastated Europe. Now the IMF hands out short term loans with immense restrictions that are mostly impossible to reach. The main storyline of the documentary is showing many examples of just how the IMF loans have impacted the Jamaican economy. It provides examples from different food producers, such as banana farmers, cabbage farmers, and dairy farmers, as well as the factories in the free zones.

One of the key strengths of this documentary is just how convincing their examples are. All of them fully show the struggles that the farmers and workers go through because of the actions of the IMF. It is said that the IMF thought that by raising the trade barriers it would help the economy but the reality is the exact opposite. With the trade barriers that protected what little of an economy Jamaica had before the IMF came in either reduced or absent, foreign food and other imports that could be produced in Jamaica are now cheaper than the Jamaican goods forcing Jamaicans out of business. They show videos of cabbage, bananas, and milk just being thrown away because too much is being produced compared to...
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