At the beginning of the film “Life and Debt” a Jamaican citizen can be seen walking and singing a song, one line goes “Destruction of our soul is vanity”. Based on the film, I think this describes the experience and attitude of many Jamaicans towards globalization and the global economy.
Globalization involves the integration of different nations and supports international trade. With the example of Jamaica, it can often leave smaller economic countries in a worse position despite the way globalization is made to seem all-around positive.
The film juxtaposes foreign tourists and their five star resort experience of Jamaica with residents who have grown up there and live their day-to-day lives seeing the consequences of globalization.
A tourist may come and eat a Jamaican banana and think of its “exoticness” and enjoy their vacation and have the privilege of not knowing the politics around bananas. The banana market is one example shown in the film of how globalization has resulted in insecurity for humans and the environment. As described in the documentary, farmers were the backbone of Jamaican economy. However, the United States is able to sell cheaper products in Jamaica. That, in part, has led to Jamaica being changed in the new global economy. In the past banana farmers in Jamaica were able to support families, in fact bananas were referred to as ‘green gold’. Now Chiquita and Dole and other American-owned companies control 95% of the banana market. More restrictions were placed on Jamaica with globalization ideology that have prevented Jamaica from being more self-sufficient.
What has been the source of some of these consequences of globalization for Jamaica is the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank. The IMF started in 1944 when the war was ending and was meant to support short term borrowing for allies, providing capital for rebuilding of Europe. Because of Jamaica being a previous colony of the United Kingdom, they have always been part of someone else’s power structure. This trend of control of colonized countries continued to limit Jamaica’s ability to provide for themselves through conditions on loans that led Jamaica into more debt.