RESOURCE: Life and Debt-Video and Guided Worksheet

Life and Debt (2001)

The video Life and Debt is a fantastic documentary that discusses the economic struggles that post-colonial countries such as Jamaica face. The majority of the video shows how structural adjustment programs hinder economic progress by imposing fewer restrictions in free trade zones, and more restrictions to the rest of the country. Power relation struggles between MDCs and LDCs are evident when the World Trade Organization and international lending agencies are shown wielding their power.

A current source for the online video is HERE.


Suggested use:

Background information: Before viewing Life and Debt, the following topics are discussed: free trade zones, special economic zones, export processing zones, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, Walter Rostow’s Five Stages of Development, Immanuel Wallerstein’s World Systems Theory, structural adjustment programs, international model of development, self-sufficiency model of development.

After viewing the video: The students complete the following worksheet. At the end, it includes music lyrics from the video that pertain to the economic situation of Jamaica. This can bring out a good discussion about accent and dialect as well.

Attachment: Life and Debt Video Worksheet

Download PDF

4 Comments on RESOURCE: Life and Debt-Video and Guided Worksheet

  1. will you mind if I tweet your post?

  2. I am a human geo teacher, and I have used your information for class on many occasions. I have used clips from Life and Dept to illustrate dependency theory and world systems theory. Do you know of a good follow up article or research done to see how Jamaica is today after restructuring? I would like to see how Jamaica is today or even case studies who experienced restructuring and its impacts. Thank you,

    • // April 20, 2015 at 8:08 am // Reply

      Hi Eric,
      Thanks for the nice words. Actually, that needs to be something I look into. I think that would be a great addendum to that link. I bought the Life and Debt lyrics and have the kids do an analysis on them. Although, from what tourists come back and say, I doubt that much improvements are occurring. I’ll work on something 🙂

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