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
2. What is “O.P.M.”?
Other Peoples Money
3. What is the National Savings Rate?
4. Why was the American Revolution, in part, about breaking enslavement to financial
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
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
8. 158 million cardholders worldwide hold an average of how many credit cards per
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
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?
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?
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
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
On financial services and service providers
20. Why is it dangerous that property has come to be seen as the only way to build
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
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
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?
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
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?
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?
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?
20. According to James Kunstler, what are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq the opening
-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?
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?
26. What will reverse globalization?
27. According to James Kunstler what can we not afford anymore?
-keep using like we do now
1. What is the world running out of?
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.
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?
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
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
Less than one person
23. How much does the UN estimate it would cost to provide safe cleaning drinking water to the
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?
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
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”
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?
42. How did the women of Placimanda respond to Coca Cola stealing their water?
They partake in a