Black Gold

I’ve currently got about three weeks left to finish my Masters thesis on Fair Trade consumerism. After spending a year writing about the same topic, it’s easy to become grumpy and bored. However, I finally tracked down a copy of the documentary ‘Black Gold’ today. It was just what I needed to perk me up and remind me why I started my Masters in the first place.

‘Black Gold’ is a 2006 documentary film about the international coffee trade and its ramifications for the farmers who grow coffee. The film includes footage shot at the first Starbucks and the World Barista Championship at the 2005 Specialty Coffee Association of America conference in Seattle; and at a café and a coffee company in Trieste, Italy. These scenes stand in stark contrast to the footage of the impoverished conditions faced by the Ethiopian coffee farmers and their families.

The documentary is rousing, angry, and very gritty. It will make you feel sick in your stomach. It will piss you off. I highly recommend it.

Rich country governments spend a lot of time spinning tales about their Aid efforts and concern for poor countries, all the time distracting you from the real problems, namely rigged Trade rules and Debt.

Trade barriers erected by wealthy countries are estimated to cost poor countries US$100 billion a year – twice as much as they receive in aid. For a simplified explanation of how World Trade is currently rigged in favour of rich countries, try checking out the cartoons on Oxfam’s ‘Make Trade Fair’ website here.

If that weren’t bad enough, the developing world now spends $13 on debt repayment for every $1 it receives in aid grants.
To learn more about debt, check out the Global Issues website here.

For more on Debt and Poverty in general, check out the global ‘Make Poverty History’ website here, or the NZ website here. Ordinary people like you and I may not feel like we can make much of a difference to these issues, but remember the ripple effect! Our choices have repercussions far outside our scope of experience. Also, it’s worth doing the right thing just for its own its own sake. It’s good for the soul. =)

After seeing Black Gold, I have another New Year’s resolution: “Watch one documentary every month that makes me uncomfortable”. I’ll be giving y’all updates for sure.

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~ by humblemonkey on February 5, 2008.

One Response to “Black Gold”

  1. Black Gold will piss you off. I can vouch for that.

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