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Economic Studies


Economic Studies



WECONOMICS: ITALY

Directed by Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin

Weconomics: Italy reports on the extensive and innovative cooperative economy in the region around Bologna.

The Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy has one of the highest concentrations of cooperative businesses in the developed world. The capital, Bologna is an industrial powerhouse, where prosperity is widely shared, and cooperatives of teachers and social workers play a key role in the provision of government services.


DVD / 2016 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adult) / 19 minutes

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LOVE & SOLIDARITY: JAMES LAWSON & NONVIOLENCE IN THE SEARCH FOR WORKERS' RIGHTS

Directed by Michael Honey

An exploration of nonviolence and organizing through the life and teachings of Rev. James Lawson.

LOVE & SOLIDARITY is an exploration of nonviolence and organizing through the life and teachings of Rev. James Lawson. Lawson provided crucial strategic guidance while working with Martin Luther King, Jr., in southern freedom struggles and the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968. Moving to Los Angeles in 1974, Lawson continued his nonviolence organizing in multi-racial community and worker coalitions that have helped to remake the LA labor movement.

Through interviews and historical documents, acclaimed labor and civil rights historian Michael Honey and award-winning filmmaker Errol Webber put Lawson's discourse on nonviolent direct action on the front burner of today's struggles against economic inequality, racism and violence, and for human rights, peace, and economic justice.


DVD / 2016 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adults) / 38 minutes

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TRUE COST, THE

Directed by Andrew Morgan

Groundbreaking investigation of fast fashion reveals that while the price of clothing has been decreasing for decades the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically.

This is a story about clothing. It's about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. THE TRUE COST is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?

Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the world's leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth, Vandana Shiva and Richard Wolff, THE TRUE COST is an unprecedented project that invites us on an eye opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes.


DVD / 2015 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 92 minutes

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SHIFT CHANGE

Directed by Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin

Investigates employee-owned businesses that provide secure, dignified jobs in democratic workplaces even in today's economic crisis.

Shift Change: Putting Democracy to Work tells the little known stories of employee-owned businesses that compete successfully in today's economy while providing secure, dignified jobs in democratic workplaces.

With the long decline in US manufacturing and today's economic crisis, millions have been thrown out of work, and many are losing their homes. The usual economic solutions are not working, so some citizens and public officials are ready to think outside of the box, to reinvent our failing economy in order to restore long term community stability and a more egalitarian way of life.

There is growing interest in firms that are owned and managed by their workers. Such firms tend to be more profitable and innovative, and more committed to the communities where they are based. Yet the public has little knowledge of their success, and the promise they offer for a better life.

Amongst the organizations featured in SHIFT CHANGE are:

Mondragon Cooperative Corporation - Begun in the 1950s, the Mondragon co-ops have transformed a depressed area of Spain into one of the most productive in Europe with a high standard of living and an egalitarian way of life. They are owned and managed by their workers. Seeing the achievements of the MCC helps to overcome the idea-widespread in North America-that worker run cooperatives can only exist on the economic fringe.

The Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, OH - This is an ambitious urban redevelopment model, directly inspired by Mondragon, where local institutions and public officials are supporting green cooperatives of previously marginalized, predominantly African American workers, who provide commercial laundry services, install solar energy systems, and grow vegetables in vast urban greenhouses.

Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives, San Francisco, California - Started 30 years ago, there are now six of these independent worker owned and managed cooperative bakeries that work together to provide the financial and legal services they need, and to incubate new coop bakeries.

Equal Exchange, Boston MA: Founded in 1986, Equal Exchange is one of the largest roasters of fair trade coffee in the world.


DVD / 2012 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 69 minutes

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BITTER SEEDS

Directed by Micha X. Peled

The final film in Micha X. Peled's Globalization Trilogy examines the epidemic of suicides amongst India's cotton farmers, deeply in debt after switching to genetically modified seeds.

As industrial agriculture spreads around the world, many small-scale farmers are losing their land. Nowhere is the situation more desperate than in India, where every 30 minutes one farmer, deep in debt and unable to provide for his family, commits suicide. It's an epidemic, which has claimed over a quarter million lives.

Following a U.S. complaint to the World Trade Organization, India had to open its doors to foreign seed companies like the U.S.-based Monsanto. Now only genetically modified (GM) seeds for some major crops are available at the seed shops. The GM seeds are much more expensive; in addition to precious water, they need additional fertilizers and insecticides and must be re-purchased every season. Large farms have prospered, but the majority of farmers are now struggling to make a living off their land.

Ram Krishna, a cotton farmer at the epicenter of the suicide crisis region, is struggling to keep his land. Manjusha, the neighbors' daughter, is determined to overcome village traditions and become a journalist. Ram Krishna's plight becomes her first assignment.

BITTER SEEDS raises critical questions about the human cost of genetically modified agriculture and the future of how we grow things.

Awards
~ Green Screen Award, IDFA Amsterdam
~ Global Justice Award, OXFAM Novib


DVD / 2011 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 88 minutes

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HEIST: WHO STOLE THE AMERICAN DREAM?

Directed by Frances Causey, Donald Goldmacher

Investigates the roots of the current economic crisis, and the ongoing assault on working people in the United States.

HEIST is a groundbreaking documentary about the roots of the American economic crisis, and the continuing assault on working and middle class people in the United States. HEIST unflinchingly reveals the crumbling structure of the U.S. economy--the result of four decades of deregulation, massive job outsourcing, and tax policies favoring mega-corporations and wealthy elites, implemented by both the Republican and Democratic parties.
After detailing how the economy has been derailed, HEIST offers a robust Take Action section with real world solutions and up-to-the-minute footage from the current Occupy Wall Street movement--an essential primer for everyday Americans to participate in the restoration of economic fairness and our democracy.

Amongst those featured are Gar Alperovitz, Alan Stuart Blinder, David Brock, Bob Crandall, Rep. Donna Edwards, Leo Gerard, Jakada Imani, David Green, David Cay Johnston, Van Jones, Robert Kuttner, Kimber Lanning, Michael Lind, Lou Mattis, Lawrence Mitchell, Nomi Prins, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Drew Westen. The film is narrated by Thom Hartmann.


DVD / 2011 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 83 minutes

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FLAW, THE: MARKETS, MONEY, MORTGAGES AND THE GREAT AMERICAN MELTDOWN

Directed by David Sington

Tells the story of the credit bubble that caused the financial crash of 2008, and clearly explains how excessive income inequality leads to economic instability.

In October 2008, a humbled Alan Greenspan admitted to the US Congress that he had been mistaken to put so much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and that he had failed to anticipate the self-destructive nature of wanton mortgage lending and the housing and credit bubble it generated.

Taking for its title Greenspan's admission that he'd found a flaw in his model of how the world worked, THE FLAW attempts to explain the underlying causes of the crisis in more depth than any documentary to date.

Made by international award-winning documentary maker David Sington (IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON), THE FLAW tells the story of the credit bubble that caused the financial crash. Through interviews with some of the world's leading economists, including housing expert Robert Shiller, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, and economic historian Louis Hyman, as well as Wall Street insiders and victims of the crash including Ed Andrews - a former economics correspondent for The New York Times who found himself facing foreclosure - and Andrew Luan, once a bond trader at Deutsche Bank now running his own Wall Street tour guide business, the film presents an original and compelling account of the toxic combination of forces that nearly destroyed the world economy.

The film shows how excessive income inequality in society leads to economic instability. At a time when economic theory and public policy is being re-examined this film reminds us that without addressing the root causes of the crisis the system may collapse again and next time it may not be possible for governments to rescue it.


DVD / 2010 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 82 minutes

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LIFE 8: HASSAN AND THE GRADUATES

As Egyptian industry is undermined by Chinese imports, Hassan, a university graduate, takes up the government's offer of free land to farm

When Hassan's wife first saw the plot of land that was to be their new home, she said, "I can only see the sky connected to the desert," and refused to get out of their car. But Hassan had decided to come and live here. After realising that growing Chinese imports were fast undermining Egypt's industry, the government began offering land to any graduate willing to farm it. Hassan took the offer, and he was not the only one. Across the Middle East, two out of every three people are now under the age of 25, and the bustling cafes of Egypt's capital Cairo teem with young people who can't find work in the metropolis. Have Hassan and 40,000 other graduates been true pioneers, when the knowledge economy worldwide isn't providing enough jobs?


DVD / 2010 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 26 minutes

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LIFE 8: NOTTINGHAM LACE

With unemployment figures rising across Europe, is there still a place for the niche craft skills of Cluny Lace in the U.K.'s East Midlands?

With unemployment figures rising across Europe and the U.S., why isn't there more demand to learn the niche craft skills that once brought wealth and fame to the industrial heartlands of the U.K.'s East Midlands? Owned and run by the tightly-knit Mason family who've been making lace for nine generations, Cluny Lace is the last of its kind, still making intricate and beautiful lace on its old jacquard machines. But opting for a career in textiles no longer seems to appeal to British workers. Cluny Lace now faces a dilemma - can East Midlands towns today find a place for the skills that made them rich? Or does the lace which Mrs. Thatcher once lauded as "truly British" now belong on museum shelves or designer dresses worn only by fashionable elites?


DVD / 2010 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 26 minutes

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LIFE 8: DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN

Hungarian filmmaker Arp Bogdan sets out to discover what's behind the new wave of anti-Roma sentiment in Hungary today.

Film director Arp Bogdan took a fateful step, looking for his gypsy roots for the Life 6 series. Should he now stay in touch with his newfound family? And how should he react to the current political threats that face other Roma populations in Hungary today? Hungary's fragile economy was badly hit by the economic crisis in the fall of 2008, with growing social tensions leading to a spate of horrific attacks on gypsy families. This episode of Life 8 follows Arp as he sets out to discover what's behind the new wave of anti-Roma sentiment in Hungary. Arp is convinced that only social change and greater acceptance will allay Roma fears.


DVD / 2009 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 26 minutes

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WHAT'S THE ECONOMY FOR, ANYWAY?

Directed by John de Graaf

Ecological economist Dave Batker questions whether GDP is an adequate measure of society's well-being and suggests workable alternatives.

Fame, ecological economist Dave Batker presents a humorous, edgy, factual, timely and highly-visual monologue about the American economy today, challenging the ways we measure economic success--especially the Gross Domestic Product--and offering an answer to the question: What's the Economy for, Anyway?

Using Gifford Pinchot's idea that the economy's purpose is "the greatest good for the greatest number over the longest run," Batker compares the performance of the U.S. economy with that of other industrial countries in terms of providing a high quality of life, fairness and ecological sustainability, concluding that when you do the numbers, we come out near the bottom in nearly every category.

Batker shines a humorous light on such economic buzzwords as "productivity," and "consumer sovereignty," while offering ideas for "capitalism with a human face," a new economic paradigm that meets the real needs of people and the planet.


DVD / 2009 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 40 minutes

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DIAMOND ROAD

Directed by Nisha Pahuja

Examines every facet of the diamond trade from the prospectors to the miners, cutters, jewelers, smugglers and dealers, and advocates for fair trade.

Every year 24 tons of diamonds are teased from the heart of the earth. Once mined they begin their year-long journey through the "pipeline," a vast network encompassing five continents and a diverse cast of characters. By the end of their journey these tiny bits of carbon will have made multi-millionaires of some and virtual slaves of others.

Boring deep into the diamond world, Diamond Road seeks to understand the multiple meanings this object has for a few of the fascinating people who are part of the diamond pipeline - international prospector, impoverished miner, child cutter, celebrity jeweller, smuggler, high-end dealer. Interwoven with their stories is the determined pursuit of one industry leader to bring fairness and transparency to this secretive world. What results is a multi-layered portrait of a stone which is steeped in a history of intrigue, conflict, love and hope.

Awards
~ Best Documentary Series, 23rd Gemini Awards
~ Platinum Remi Award, WorldFest Houston


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2007 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 3 hours

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BUYER BE FAIR: THE PROMISE OF PRODUCT CERTIFICATION

Looks at the benefits of fair trade goods and product certification for people and the environment.

Under the auspices of the WTO, globalization of world trade seems like a juggernaut that will not be stopped. But is there a way to make trade FAIR? How can retailers and consumers use their purchasing power and market choice to make the world better for people and the environment? What is the promise of product certification and labeling?

BUYER BE FAIR looks at two major trade goods -- timber and coffee -- to find out how certification works and whether it helps the world's poor, and their lands. Can the lessons from certification of timber, by the Forest Stewardship Council, and coffee, by Fair Trade, be applied to other products?

BUYER BE FAIR takes viewers to Mexico, the Netherlands, the UK, Sweden, the USA and Canada, where compelling stories and characters raise and answer these questions in a powerful documentary that explores new ways to make globalization work for all of us.


DVD (Color) / 2006 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adult) / 57 minutes

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LIFE 5: BACK IN BUSINESS?

Directed by Emily Marlow

After 11 years of civil war, can Sierra Leone expect tourism to improve the economy?

Eleven years of civil war between 1991 and 2002 has left Sierra Leone in ruins. According to the United Nations it's the second poorest country in the world. Tens of thousands of people were killed and many more injured and displaced during the war. In May 2002, stability was restored when the former ruling party was returned to power in democratic elections.

Now, after three years of peace, the rebuilding has begun, and Sierra Leone is looking for outside investment to kick-start its economy. Until now, most of Sierra Leone's foreign earnings have come from exporting diamonds. But it's rich in other natural resources. Apart from diamonds, there is titanium ore, gold and fisheries. Tourism, on the other hand, offers the promise of revenue with a far quicker turnaround time. Sierra Leone has miles of beautiful beaches. In a country that was once a war-zone, could tourism be one of the new industries that moves the country into the future?


DVD (Color) / 2005 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 27 minutes

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LIFE 5: CASH FLOW FEVER

Directed by James Heer

One in ten people on the planet either send or receive money from abroad.

There have always been economic migrants-people who swap regions, countries, even continents-to find better wages to pay for a better life. One out of every ten people on the planet either sends or receives money from abroad. And unlike all other forms of financial aid that travels into developing countries, remittances go directly to the poor. Worldwide, it's estimated that amounts to a staggering two hundred billion dollars a year.

With the scent of serious money, some banks are getting involved. And that could lead to a reduction in costs, as well as a change in how remittances are transferred. Aiding the flow of money to poor rural areas may be the most important effect in the current transformation of the remittance market. What impact can this have on the fight against poverty? To find out more, Life travels to the United States and El Salvador to uncover this hidden economy.


DVD (Color) / 2005 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 23 minutes

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LIFE 5: FOR RICHER, FOR POORER

Directed by Bruno Sorrentino

In Brazil the gulf between the rich and the poor is one of the biggest in the world.

Sao Paulo is Brazil's biggest city and the business hub of the country. Nested between the sky scrapers are the favelas or urban slums housing the poor. The favelas epitomize a stark fact that has come to characterize the country today: the gulf between the rich and the poor in Brazil is one of the biggest in the world. Almost half the country's wealth is concentrated in the hands of just twenty thousand families-out of a population of 184 million.

Today, President Lula da Silva's big project is to make a more equal society. In his election speech, he promised to improve education, to improve health, to make land ownership fairer and-most importantly-to fight poverty. But Brazil's business community believes rapid growth is what is needed to improve the country's economy and combat social inequality. Despite the gulf between rich and poor, extreme poverty is being reduced. In line with its Millennium Development Goal pledges, Brazil has halved the percentage of people living in extreme poverty.


DVD (Color) / 2005 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 25 minutes

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ARGENTINA: HOPE IN HARD TIMES

The Argentine people, in the face of economic collapse, provide a hopeful example for the rest of us.

Que se vayan todos!" Chants echo off the skyscrapers, burst through the plazas, and clamor down the streets of Buenos Aires. "Throw them all out!" shout legions of frustrated Argentine housewives, students and lawyers, weaving their way through the city one summer evening, banging on pots and pans.

What would you do if you lost your job, they closed the banks so you couldn't access your savings, and the government seemed unable to help? In Argentina they stormed supermarkets for food; the police gunned down 30 people in just one day. But what happened next was truly extraordinary.

ARGENTINA- HOPE IN HARD TIMES joins in the processions and protests, attends street-corner neighborhood assemblies, visits workers' cooperatives and urban gardens, taking a close-up look at the ways in which Argentines are picking up the pieces of their devastated economy and creating new possibilities for the future. A spare narrative, informal interview settings, and candid street scenes allow the pervasive strength, humor, and resilience of the Argentine people to tell these tales. These are their inspiring stories-of a failed economy and distrusted politicians, of heartache and hard times, of a resurgence of grassroots democracy and the spirit of community-told in resonant detail.


DVD (Color) / 2004 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adult) / 74 minutes

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LIFE 4: THE MILLENNIUM GOALS - DREAM OR REALITY?

Explores the ambition and scope of the UN's Millennium Development Goals, and the obstacles to their achievement.

"Ours is the very first generation in history that had the possibility and the ability to feed every hungry person on earth," says Professor Adil Najam. "We had the technology, we had the food -- we just didn't have the will. And that's where the MDGs come in."

At the turn of the new millennium, the world looked forward to an end to absolute poverty, avoidable disease, oppression of women and children without education. The United Nations embodied these hopes in a series of eight targets -- the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This introductory program to the series intercuts sequences from China, Bangladesh, Jamaica, India, Sri Lanka, Zambia and Ethiopia with comment from key academics and activists, to explore the ambition and scope of each of the individual MDGs, and the obstacles to their achievement.


DVD (Color) / 2004 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 27 minutes

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LIFE 4: WHOSE AGENDA IS IT ANYWAY?

To fulfil the Millennium Development Goals, many poor countries are now implementing Poverty Reduction Strategy Programs -- PRSPs. They are supposed to be "home grown", developed by both government and civil society and emphasize pro-poor economic growth. But in Malawi, PRSPs are viewed by many as merely a new version of old World Bank policies, with decisions ultimately being made in Washington, rather than by the country's own citizens. This Life report investigates the PRSP process and its effectiveness in Malawi. We interview Malawian government officials, civil society campaigners, World Bank economists and critics of World Bank policies, as well as visiting rural communities to ask how they themselves would eliminate their own poverty.

DVD (Color) / 2004 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 23 minutes

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FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS

Tells the story of the international grassroots movement to eliminate Third World debt.

FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS visits one of the world's most impoverished nations- Nicaragua-to gauge the impact of that country's indebtedness on the poorest members of their society.

Both inspiring and informative, the documentary relates the powerful story of the grassroots movement to end Third World debt, a movement that has confronted the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the G8 lenders, in each case demanding that they cancel the debts of the world's poor.

The Jubilee 2000 debt cancellation campaign was inspired by the ancient Biblical observance of "jubilee" described in Leviticus 25, as a tradition that was honored every 50th year when the sounding of a loud trumpet proclaimed liberty throughout the country. Calling for complete debt forgiveness, which at the time included the reinstatement of property ownership and the freeing of indentured slaves, the practice of jubilee granted personal freedom and provided hope to future generations.


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2001 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adult) / 50 minutes

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