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COMM 287
Sut Jhally

FILM: In Debt We Trust 1. What does Shechter call “the democratization of credit”? The fact that the United States of America and its people are kept alive by all the money we borrow. 2. What is “O.P.M.”? Other Peoples Money 3. What is the National Savings Rate? O 4. Why was the American Revolution, in part, about breaking enslavement to financial debt? Because it was driven by the great American planners that were heavily in debt to European banks and they had very onerous terms, and they recognized that they could not financially prosperous under such financial demands 5. What is Robert Manning’s response to a question about whether or not students should have credit cards? That every student should have one, and if they’re parents’ don’t co-sign it be capped at $500. 6. What does Manning critique about Barbie dolls? Its designed for kids three and up and the register makes the exact noise of an acceptance of using a credit card and there is a Malibu Barbie who has her own mastercard and a shopping girl Barbie where she has her own store to pick and chose with her credit card. 7. With credit card pitchmen outside his lecture, Manning knows he’s fighting an uphill battle against: 8. 158 million cardholders worldwide hold an average of how many credit cards per person? 10 9. What gives credit card corporations their power over us? Our indifference, negligence, ignorance 10. When the film says that credit card companies determine your credit score by using a “proprietary formula,” what is meant by “proprietary”? another word for secret 11. According to Hofstra University Law Professor Robert Silverman, the complicated, multiple-page agreements that come in the mail with credit cards are an example of what? Drafting by a risk-minimizing lawyer 12. Former credit card executive Steve Barnett calls the MasterCard “priceless” campaign brilliant, because it says credit cards do what? Allow you to enjoy time with your family by using mastercard. 13. What percentage of our economy is based on consumption? Two-thirds 14. Our high rates of consumption lead to what “petrifying paradox”? If we cut back on consumption, the U.S. economy collapses. 15. What is each American’s share of the national debt? $27,439.48 16. How much does our debt increase every day? $2.83 billion dollars per day 17. Tamara Draut, of Demos Think Tank, says that debt is a symptom of what larger economic & structural issues? There’s been a decline in incomes or a stagnation of incomes, particularly in the lower- income household range and also for middle-income households. Costs have really skyrocketed. 18. According to financial historian Michael Hudson, the new economic conflict in our society is not between classes, or employers and employees, but between whom? Creditors and debtors 19. Credit and debt are transforming our industrial economy into an economy based on what? On financial services and service providers 20. Why is it dangerous that property has come to be seen as the only way to build wealth? Because the biggest rise in housing values is taking place in “bubble zones” with housing over valued by as much as thirty percent. Creating the illusion of trillions of dollars of over wealth. 21. What phenomenon explains why far fewer Americans now pay off their mortgages than in the past? Because of the constant refinancing. 22. Why does bankruptcy attorney Charles Juntikka call banks “evil”? Because they’re making a fifty-four percent profit off the poorest members of society 23. What did the bankruptcy reform law signed by Bush do? Harder to erase debt after filing for personal bankruptcy, cut down fraud 24. How did the bankruptcy reform law signed by Bush just weeks before Hurricane Katrina affect victims of the disaster? Because it specifically ruled out floods as grounds of bankruptcy 25. Who are the two largest contributors to political campaigns in America? Financial institutions and real estate developers 26. What is the leading profit engine of the banking industry? Credit card industry 27. What sort of financial “institution are you more likely to find in poor neighborhoods than traditional banks?” Check cashing stores and tax rebate joints 28. What does the “rent-to-own” phenomenon involve? 29. Over the past 20 years, what have banks discovered about poor people whenit comes to debt? The poor are honest and the only ones that believe they should repay debts 30. What have the banks that issued homeowners their original mortgages been doing with these mortgages over the past few years? They’re selling these mortgages into the secondary market through wall street into securitization trusts. 31. What did the New York Daily News report about the finances of troops coming back from Iraq? More than a hundred thousand U.S. troops have been saddled with long term debt in return for short term cash from payday loan stores, charging high interest rates. Poorly paid soldiers put up their paychecks as collateral on these high interest short-term loans. 32. Why does the film say, in the end, that we are now in “terra incognita”? Because we have never experienced the impact in danger of such a debt load before. End of Suburbia 1. What does James Kunstler label suburbia in terms of resource allocation? -Greatest misallocation in the history of the world 2. According to Richard Heinberg, what party is coming to an end? -Cheap energy/oi 3. What are three kinds of historical suburbs that Kunstler describes? -1.) Based on manor in a park template, villans-wealth. 2.) Street car suburbs, cozy. 3.) Automobile suburbs- industry, interpreted by depression 4. In the aftermath of WW2 what were the first suburban development driven by? -Paying off soldiers as reward 5. What happen to cities as the population moves to the suburbs? -noise, pollution, crowded, affluent- huge housing boom, appearance of American dream 6. What were GM, Firestone, and Standard oil convicted of? -conspiring to destroy rail systems, start GM buses 7. How is the interstate highway system connected to population movement? -more room to drive->more jobs->more cars->more jobs 8. What has made our contemporary life possible? -cheap energy 9. According to Matthew Simmons, what ended with the 2003 blackout? -everything we cherished 10. What is “peak oil”? -when we use more than we can get 11. In what year did US oil production peak? -1971, 2005-07, 2010 12. According to Matthew Simmons what country’s peak date is key to recognizing that the world has peaked? -Saudi Arabia 13. How will the peak first be felt in the suburbs? -life changes, 2 million jobs gone, $7 trillion out of market 14. According to James Kunstler what will be the effects of not having access to cheap oil and gas? -Suburbia as we know it will be gone -> downsize 15. What will happen to interstate trucking as the highway system deteriorates? - dysfunctional, less trucking needs 16. What will happen to retail as the crisis hits? -it will decrease immensely 17. What does James Kunstler mean by “cluster fuck”? -suburban destiny=political, social, economic shit storm 18. According to Richard Heinberg, what is bad for the media business? -Reality 19. According to Richard Heinberg, what is good for the media business? -Fantasy 20. According to James Kunstler, what are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq the opening engagements in? -Wars, international contest-> Oil 21. What is the problem with hydrogen as a form of alternative energy? -delusion->not effective enough->energy shortage, not energy 22. What is the problem with ethanol as an alternative form of energy? -takes more than it gives 23. Do people interviewed in the film thing that alternative forms of energy can sustain our current way of life? -No 24. What is the “new urbanism”? -live with less oil, walkable communities 25. According to Matthew Simmons, what is the only thing that can save us? -Change 26. What will reverse globalization? -Peak oil 27. According to James Kunstler what can we not afford anymore? -keep using like we do now FLOW 1. What is the world running out of? Fresh water 2. What does the use of pesticides in agriculture lead to? Contaminated water that can make you sick/kill you 3. In laboratory tests what isAtrazine linked with? Low sperm count, and prostate/breast/ovarian cancer 4. Where isAtrazine legal and where is it banned? Banned in the entire European Union (EU), legal in the US. Bolivia: 5. In La Paz, Bolivia, what was diverted into the river? Blood and raw sewage 6. What are poor countries being forced to do to their water systems? Hand over basic control of their water systems to for-profit companies in Europe 7. According to Julian Perez, what was the result of water privatization in the city of ElAlto? Many people (208,000) have been excluded from potable water service. 8. According to Jim Schultz, what are most of the childhood deaths in Bolivia linked to? Illnesses from a lack of clean drinking water 9. Why did violence erupt in Cochabamba after 1999? The Bolivian government privatized the water systems 10. Who forced water privatization on Bolivia? The World Bank 11.According to Oscar Olivera, what is at stake in the water wars? Life vs. death 12. What did the Bolivian government do in 2007? They ended Suez’contract and returned the water systems to the people of La Paz KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 13. Why are people drinking and using unclean water from the river in SouthAfrica? Because water is so important and they can’t afford clean water. 14. How do poor people in SouthAfrica get tap water? Line up for hours on end at a community faucet and hope the water turns on 15. How do poor people in SouthAfrica pay for tap water? Pay up front at the pump with a token/card 16. What did people in Chatsworth do in reaction to electricity and water cut-off? Illegally reconnect the water and lights themselves 17. What does Jean-Luc Touly say about the progressive language the water companies use? It’s scandalous. 18. What does Maude Barlow say is just commonsense? You can’t deliver the same amount of good quality water/healthcare etc. to a population that needs it if you’re also providing profit for your investors. 19. What did Ashok Gadgil come up to provide safe drinking water in Bomminampadu, India? An affordable way to combine water with UV light to kill pathogens 20. Where has most of the past aid investment in water safety gone in India? Providing clean water only to the politically and economically powerful people United States 21. What days are ending? Most people taking water for granted, just turning on the faucet and expecting it to be there. 22. According to Erik Olson how many people at the FDAare responsible for regulating bottled water? Less than one person 23. How much does the UN estimate it would cost to provide safe cleaning drinking water to the entire planet? An additional $30 billion a year 24. How much is spent on bottled water every year? Last year we spent $90 billion 25. What is the World Water Council (WWC)? To promote the corporate takeover of water 26. According to Jim Schultz, what does debt become for poor countries? The noose around their neck 27. According to Maude Barlow what did the WWC understand about water? Water is the most precious commodity in the world “blue gold” 28. According to Vandana Shiva, what is the Ganges river central to in India? Humanity 29. How is this function under threat? It’s being trapped in a dam so the water companies can sell it back to citizens at 10x the price 30. In the 20th century, what changed in the way that humans utilized water resources? Used to be traditional methods, but then we said we could build large infrastructures (dams) and move rivers around. 31. How are dams connected to global warming? Organic matter would flow down the rivers and feed life forms in the rivers and oceans, but the dams stopped this. The collected matter behind the dams would rot and produce methane gas. 32. According to Patrick McCully, dams are 20 times worse than what for global warming? Acoal-burning power plant 33. Who benefits from dams? Larger farmers Lesotho 34. How many people have been displaced in the 20th century by dams? 40-80 million people 35. Who is a major funder of dams? The World Bank 36. What does the World Bank know how to spend? Abillion dollars in one place 37. What does the World Bank not know how to spend? Athousand dollars in a million places 38. What did Rajendra Singh develop? Awater harvesting structure built between the mountains that will collect rainwater and send it to the wells Michigan: 39. What effect did Nestle’s pumping of water effect? Bodies of water are shrinking to nothing in Michigan 40. What the Michigan Supreme court decide about Nestle’s actions? Diminishing these lakes and rivers is unlawful, made Nestle turn off the pumps. 41. How did Chief Seattle reply to the offer by the government of the United States to “buy” Indian land? He said our ways are different from your “white man” ways, if nobody owns the sky or water or anything in nature, how can you “buy” it? Plachimanda: 42. How did the women of Placimanda respond to Coca Cola stealing their water? They partake in a
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