« Life and the Dumb (IMF) | Main | Life and Debt Jamaica video »

Life and Debt in Jamaica

In my mind Jamaica has been this idyllic paradise; a place of good food, great music, kind people and unbeatable scenery. I have had friends that have visited come back raving that Jamaica was heaven on earth. The photos have made me want to give up my life in the States and move there so that I can live in a bungalow near the beach and work surrounded my nature. This movie, in about two seconds, crushed all of these dreams and showed me that my desire was based on an idea constructed through movies, romanticizing of the music and the tales of tourists. The reality, the life that the natives face every day, is as ugly as the environment is beautiful. In the past four decades, no new hospitals have been built! The children are educated in buildings that are literally crumbling around them. The large farming industry is in peril, as their produce can only be sold in the UK and the locals are forced to buy foreign foods because they cannot afford the produce locally grown. Jamaica continues to collect debt. At the time the film was made they were 7 billion dollars in debt. The problem, however, is cyclical and cannot be easily fixed. Their debt increases with every year, leaving them without enough money to buy machines, build new hospitals, or provide a good education for its citizens that would offer the resources to successfully pull themselves out of the recession. An example of this is that farmers are still using machetes on their farms whereas most people in the rest of the world have upgraded to machines. It is impossible and unrealistic to assume that the two are compatible.
I am absolutely mystified that I could have had such a misconstrued perception of this place. I am also shocked at the trend I am noticing that many of the most visually stunning places in the world seem to have been possessed by the powerful Anglo-Saxon countries and when that country releases them to independence they are unable to begin with a concrete focus and the result leads to chaos. From an individual standpoint, I am not sure how one is suppose to help. Is it by education the public about the despair that the country is in? is it by buying food from Jamaica to support the farming industry when you can? Is it by boycotting Chiquita and Dole products that inhabit the majority of sales? It is very difficult to watch a video like this and not be faced with some sort of conclusion, some concrete way to personally address the issues you have seen in your own life. However, I imagine that this is just my own personal desire to have a clean, neatly wrapped solution so that I can sleep better at night and not feel so guilty. However, the hard truth is that there isn’t one.

Comments

I totally agree with what you have written!! I, too, always had this picture perfect image of Jamaica in my mind, but after watching this video, sadly it all changed. But it also made me think about how others view America. America is always said to be such a beautiful country (not as beautiful as Jamaica) with equality, freedom, and many opportunities. Then when they get here or watch videos on the United States like we watch on them, their perceptions may also be shattered. I think it just goes to show that no country is picture perfect and without flaws. You never judge a book by its cover. If you want to know its value and what it has to offer you it is important to read it (in order to fully understand it). The same goes for the real world. Different places around the world may appear to be paradise, but as you become more informed about these places you realize that they have flaws just like the rest of the world.

I felt the same way after watching the video in class. I always pictured Jamaica as a vacation spot where one goes to relax and enjoy all the beauty that the country has to offer. But after watching the video, I realized this was only a part of Jamaica. The rest (or the real world) of Jamaica is not as easy going or relaxed. There are struggles within the country which many don't realize from the lack of independence from organizations such as IMF and the World Bank to the staggering debt. Yesterday, I was watching two different worlds of Jamaica.

I agree with your post; Jamaica in my mind,had been a mini paradise. The video made me realize just how unequal and unfair our world is. I also saw an issue of race but most importantly an issue of class. while it is easy to blame the IMF or the U.S for some or most of Jamaica's problems, I partially blame the Jamaican government because they knew the conditions before agreeing to the terms. And of course they didn't care because the people who would be or who are mostly impacted by these terms are low working class citizens. It's all politcs! politcis with no moral judgement but driven by mass profit.

This is my second post. I’m not sure if it worked out like this.
The Jamaica video that we had watched in class yesterday was a real shocker and overwhelmingly changed my perception of what life in Jamaica means for the average citizen. It is still extremely difficult to comprehend the horrendous effects that capitalism has wreaked on the rest of the world and underdeveloped countries. It’s sad to say, but we are all guilty of being perpetuating this cycle of exploitation of the have-nots, because we, as Americans, are driven by a lifestyle of consumerism. As stated in the movie fight club, “We're consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don't concern me. What concerns me, are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy's name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.? Although, we all exist in different places in this gradient spectrum, we are all driven by the effects of capitalism.

Before, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of how sweatshops worked, but after the video had explained the notion of the ‘free trade’ zone, I had fully become aware of the extent of what American companies are willing to do to make profits swell and take advantage of the defenseless. Some would arguer that this stimulates their economy and gives them a job that pays, at least most of the time. But at what cost to the worker? Long hours, no job security, poor pay, these issues usually don’t cross the minds of average shoppers as the purchase their items in an American store such as Wal-Mart. Although, we as humans, are all in the same boat, in that we are all struggling to survive and doing what ever is required to support our families/ourselves. For some fortunate people, this means searching out the cheapest prices at their local retail/grocery store, and for some other not so fortunate individuals, this means working long hours, doing the same thing over and over, worrying whether they’ll meet quota or even get paid. I wish it were not this way, but Dr. Brewer was right in her postulate, that capitalism is a direct catalyst to racism and exploitation of the powerless.
This is my second post. I’m not sure if it worked out like this.

This is my second post. I’m not sure if it worked out like this.
The Jamaica video that we had watched in class yesterday was a real shocker and overwhelmingly changed my perception of what life in Jamaica means for the average citizen. It is still extremely difficult to comprehend the horrendous effects that capitalism has wreaked on the rest of the world and underdeveloped countries. It’s sad to say, but we are all guilty of being perpetuating this cycle of exploitation of the have-nots, because we, as Americans, are driven by a lifestyle of consumerism. As stated in the movie fight club, “We're consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don't concern me. What concerns me, are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy's name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.? Although, we all exist in different places in this gradient spectrum, we are all driven by the effects of capitalism.
Before, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of how sweatshops worked, but after the video had explained the notion of the ‘free trade’ zone, I had fully become aware of the extent of what American companies are willing to do to make profits swell and take advantage of the defenseless. Some would arguer that this stimulates their economy and gives them a job that pays, at least most of the time. But at what cost to the worker? Long hours, no job security, poor pay, these issues usually don’t cross the minds of average shoppers as the purchase their items in an American store such as Wal-Mart. Although, we as humans, are all in the same boat, in that we are all struggling to survive and doing what ever is required to support our families/ourselves. For some fortunate people, this means searching out the cheapest prices at their local retail/grocery store, and for some other not so fortunate individuals, this means working long hours, doing the same thing over and over, worrying whether they’ll meet quota or even get paid. I wish it were not this way, but Dr. Brewer was right in her postulate, that capitalism is a direct catalyst to racism and exploitation of the powerless.
This is my second post. I’m not sure if it worked out like this.