The documentary Life and Debt portrays a true example of the impact economic globalization can have on a developing country. When most Americans think about Jamaica, we think about the beautiful beaches, warm weather, and friendly people that make it a fabulous vacation spot. This movie shows the place in a different light, by showing a pressuring problem of debt. The everyday survival of many Jamaicans is based on the economic decisions of the United States and other powerful foreign countries.
The film opens with camera shots portraying Jamaica as the beautiful and carefree place that most Americans view it as. The vast majority are oblivious to the fact that the delicious food they indulge in on their voyage probably came off a ship from Miami.
In the 1970s, the country's former Prime Minister signed a loan agreement which ultimately led Jamaica to owe over four billion dollars in debt to the World Bank and IMF. This ultimately caused a sinking economy of low valued imports and to sweatshops destroying local businesses and agriculture. In the video, we see workers who are working gruesome six-day-a-week work schedules to receive the legal minimum wage of only $30 in US money for the entire week. Many have protested against the poor compensation, and have been fired from their jobs; having been placed on blacklists which prevent them from ever getting work again. Many have turned to crime as a means of income.
What Globalization Means
Globalization is not a recent concept. It means that the worldwide, virtually instantaneous interdependence about many aspects of economic and cultural life within a nation or state has expanded across borders either intentionally or unintentionally. Now this nation or a state's independence to control events within its borders is challenged by international corporations, economic globalization, trade, transnational crime and the increase in global communications and developments in technology.