Third world countries have had significant economic challenges. Jamaica features significantly in the Life and Debt movie. It has had to succumb to the pressure from the powerful economic giants. The challenges it faced made it continue lagging behind economically.
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The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank exist to help developing countries financially. Jamaica was one of the countries that benefitted from the IMF and the World Bank funds. Developed countries came up with this idea and supported these agencies so that they can support small economies.
However, these world financiers have acrimonious rules that borrowers have to keep to maintain a healthy relationship. The neoliberal conditions based their rules on control and not the needs of individual countries like Jamaica.
Jamaica had just gotten a new regime that wanted to concentrate on rebuilding the nation. Previously, the economy of the country was performing poorly as compared to other countries. The country’s exports were not enough to maintain equilibrium on the world economic front. The country’s infrastructure was in bad shape to the point that it needed an immediate overhaul.
The IMF and World Bank should have relaxed some of the rules for Jamaica. For instance, the nation’s revenue collection was below average. The money from the financiers required a structured payment that the country could not live up to immediately. Therefore, it needed an extension of the period for payment. The country’s new regime could not fathom how funds could be available for economic growth, and yet there were weak and financially incapacitated people to deal with the state. The money was not enough for the country’s myriads of challenges.
The Life and Debt Movie showcases the imbalances in society. Jamaica was in a desperate state and was trying to rejuvenate its economy. The country had fertile soils and hardworking people. They had some other uncultivated resources through mining and other economic centers. But the production costs were so high that the country could not fathom. When they took such things as bananas to the international markets, they could not sell. Other competing nations did better though subsidizing some of the production costs. It made their goods cheaper than Jamaica’s and affordable.
The harsh requirements from the financing agencies made it difficult for countries like Jamaica to thrive. Instead of using the money to grow the economy, the money became a punishment for the economy of Jamaica. It seemed like being in a boat with many holes. No matter how much they collected as revenue, it could not be enough to pay their debtors and still manage the nation.
I agree with this colleague’s response that the World Bank and other financiers should have come to the negotiating table and review the terms of the agreement. The contemporary regime in Jamaica was a critical case that needed time to revamp the economy. Instead of doing that, they maintained the status quo, and that hurt Jamaica so much. They spent so much time rebuking the country’s societal standards than helping. I agree that this was needed to help shape the societal norms, but it did not help.
The world market demands good affordable produce from any country, no matter their economic status. They can forgive some societal problems for the common interest. The world leading economies must understand that growing economies need time to adapt to the new standards. Jamaica is a case to consider. The financiers must focus their efforts on dealing with unique individual cases rather than generalizing and classifying countries according to their social and economic status.