I decided to analyze the film “Life & Debt” which talks about the decline of the economy in Jamaica and the sad economic state it was left in. The film appears to be dated, so I don’t know that all of the information is up to date, just a disclaimer. Globalization has some negative effects. The main problem is that globalization seems like the big picture for Jamaicans but really it undermines the local economy. For example, in the film it talks about how if you visit a resort, you’d really be eating food imported from a warehouse in Miami, that you wouldn’t be enjoying locally grown and traditional Jamaican food.
The narrator mentions that if you fly in to Jamaica, you most likely will be flying to Montego Bay, rather than Kingston. Kingston is an unglamorous working class part of Jamaica, something they try to hide from visitors. While Montego Bay, paints the facade that it’s a beautiful island, with happy people, crystal clear oceans, and a stable economy. This reminded me of a cruise that I went on, a few years ago. There was a stop in Haiti. I remember a small segment of the island being roped off, and my dad telling me that this wasn’t what Haiti was really like. It was a private island off of Haiti, called Labadee, which is essentially a port for cruise ships so tourists don’t have to see the poverty in Port Au Prince and other parts of Haiti. The narrator also points out that along a tour, the bus speeds past a latrine, that is converted into a school for children. It’s like an ignorance is bliss kind of mentality, people see it and they don’t want to believe that while they’re enjoying their vacation, tanning on a white sand beach, children are getting an education in what used to a public toilet, crawling with disease.
The tour bus driver beams as she points out a McDonald’s and a Baskin Robbins.That is an example of globalization, big companies moving in, and undermining the economy of local food joints. Jamaica struggles to keep up. They lost their dairy industry because it was cheaper and more feasible to import powdered milk. Banana farmers took a big hit as well, because the big corporations like Dole are able to get bananas for lower cost elsewhere. This is all a result of globalization. Another problem with Jamaica is that they rely heavily on imports and when the price of the imports go up, the country is left struggling. . The effects of globalization on the environment can be seen in the fact that the documentary hints that the sewage, and water used for plumbing in these resorts, is released back into the ocean. They don’t have proper treatment facilities so they release sewage into the ocean, polluting it and the life in it, and ironically we are traveling to countries like Jamaica for their beautiful oceans and beaches. That was devastating for me to watch. It’s not something I’ve ever thought of, but it really opened up my eyes.
What are some thoughts on the positive effects of globalization?