Comparing Stephanie Black's Life And Debt

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Following Jamaica’s independence from England in 1962, the country suffered a massive economic downturn. In Stephanie Black’s documentary Life and Debt, their economic downturn during the 1990s is explored. Though Jamaica is seen as an island paradise to those from around the world, especially to those from the United States and Great Britain, those in Jamaica seem to feel quite differently. As described by Black, tourists visit Jamaica as a reward for hard work and long hours at the office. However, Jamaicans cannot afford that luxury. Most are too poor to even consider taking a vacation or being able to afford one. Suffering under such conditions, former Prime Minister Michael Manley reached out to oil companies and other countries for financial aid. However, Jamaica was rejected on all fronts, forcing Manley to turn to their last…show more content…
Throughout the documentary, Black interviewed numerous field workers and farmers who stated that they could not turn a profit with such ridiculous interest rates. In addition, the documentary describes an instance in which a Jamaican poultry business was significantly undermined with the importation of low quality chickens. Disguised as “free trade,” the United States exported chicken parts to Jamaica that were significantly cheaper than the local chicken. As such, local poultry trade declined remarkably. Additionally, the milk and banana industries in Jamaica suffered a similar fate. Shown draining unsold milk into the streets, local milk vendors were unable to compete with the United States’ cheaper powdered milk. Despite Great Britain’s agreement with Jamaica to buy their bananas, the United States sabatoged the Lomé Agreement. Though they had 95% of control over the industry, Black’s documentary shows how they used Jamaica’s new economic dependence to exert their dominance and gain a strong foothold over the banana

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