Fadilat Olasupo “Life and Debt”

When I think about World Bank, IMF, and Free trade it’s hard to understand what the true issue is. The film Life and Debt by Stephanie Black focused on Jamaica, and also individuals such as major players and ordinary people. Life and Debt is effective because it has an opinion, but also follows up with evidence to prove its argument. Most of us don’t realize the impacts of globalization, and what it has become. I sometimes wonder by The World Bank and the IMF were able to conduct their policies by giving out loans to free nations even though they knew these nations ultimately may not have been able to pay these loans back especially when the real goal is to continue to keep these free nations in debt. The answer to that is quite easy though. The World Bank and IMF were created by mostly what we may call the colonial powers during the end of WWII. They were initially put in place to avoid destabilizing economic conditions that occurred because of the First World War. Their interests ultimately are for themselves, and not for the colonized peoples who were still dependent on them at that time. These eventually free nations realized that they were lacking in infrastructures such as schools, healthcare facilities, banks and in many other areas. These infrastructures were important factors for maintaining a sustainable society.

Jamaica and many other countries turned for help, help the international lending organizations were offering. But this help included some major strings attached, and came with conditions. They were limited, and told they could not loan to their own people. This reminds me a lot about how society works today, nothing is free so to speak, and if it was free expect there are strings attached and someone is waiting for the favor to be returned one way or another. The film blatantly shows us how the initially claims that these policies were going to help encourage a healthy development in the economy of countries such as Jamaica were in fact scams, and she uses the actual people of Jamaica to help back up her opinions on what is actually happening.

I agreed with Black’s argument/opinion. The result of these policies are quite apparent. I agree with the points pertaining to the idea that because of these policies the state is made less and less able to meet the services and needs of its people, the quality of their lives continues to diminish. Poverty, violence and illness rise steeply. Also the statement brought up in the movie that “the rich countries can always beat those that are poor on the so called level playing field” one farmer that was interviewed in the film states “In what way can a machete go up against a machine?” This is the harsh reality of it. My question for the class would be, what are your thoughts or opinions on World Bank and IMF? Do you feel the same as I do about these policies?

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