How are the rules that govern world trade rigged in favor of the rich when considering the case of Jamaica
Film: “Life and Debt” (2001), Tuff Gong Pictures Production, Film by Stephanie Black
IDS 110 Life and Debt Film Worksheet
February 5, 2020
Instructions: Fill out during and after watching the film and bring to your sections to
discuss and submit next week.
1. The film opens with scenes and narration (written and adapted from Jamaica
Kinkaid’s book, A Small Place ) about the differences between how tourists and
residents of Jamaica travel through the airport and enter the country. Describe one
observation that you found striking. What did you find striking about it?
2. In the globalised world of the early twenty-first century, trade is one of the most
powerful forces linking our lives…World trade has the potential to act as a powerful
motor for the reduction of poverty, as well as for economic growth, but that potential
is being lost. The problem is not that international trade is inherently opposed to the
needs and interests of the poor, but that the rules that govern it are rigged in favour
of the rich.
– John Ruggie, Rigged Rules and Double Standards (2002), p. 5
a. How are the rules that govern world trade “rigged in favor of the rich” when
considering the case of Jamaica?
b. What role does the IMF play in promoting unfair trade relationships?
c. How has debt become a mechanism for implementing “rigged rules”?
3. What does it mean to “free one’s market” to the global economy?
a. Consider the case of the dairy farming industry in Jamaica.
b. Consider the case of the banana industry in Jamaica.
c. Consider the case of the Kingston Free Zone in Jamaica.
4, To what extent do you think Jamaica could have rejected the restrictions imposed by
the IMF and other international loaning agencies?
7. How might debt-ridden countries such as Jamaica challenge international institutions
such as the IMF?
8. Any last thoughts you want to share about the film?
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