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80:20—The Developing World (5-part series)


Gretchen Kelbaugh Connell Smith


Gretchen Kelbaugh Connell Smith Rowan Ridge Productions Story First Productions
  • Release Date 2006
  • Running Time varies
  • Closed Captions No
  • Availability Canada, USA

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80:20—The Developing World (5-part series)

This compact and comprehensive series explores what could be done to improve living conditions in lesser-developed countries. Dr. Rick McDaniel is originally an American who has spent many years in Canada, working in international development with the YMCA. His experience and personable approach make him the perfect guide for this tour through the hidden complexities of foreign aid. The Dominican Republic, on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, is used as a point of reference throughout. It was there that conditions aptly illustrate the 80:20 phenomenon—that 80% of the world’s wealth is controlled by 20% of its population. Global inequality has only continued to worsen since the release of this documentary series in 2006.

Episodic Synopsis 

A Tropical Paradise (23 minutes) provides an overview of the 80/20 split of global wealth and introduces the concept of developing countries and the origin of the term “third world.” It ends by asking why people in more developed countries should be concerned.

Interdependence (25.5 minutes) explains that, concerned or not, everyone is affected—through trading relationships and other factors of interdependence such as health, the environment, economics and global security.

The Legacy of Colonialism (24 minutes) examines the role worldview played in the 500 years of colonialism that began in the 15th century, tracing historical structures contributing to the current status of many lesser-developed countries. It notes the ray of hope in the late 1960s and early 1970s—that is, until the formation of OPEC and rising prices for oil.

Development and Debt (27.5 minutes) looks at the history of the international development assistance that began in the early 1960s and conditions attached to that aid, often benefitting those providing it more than its recipients. It examines patterns of trade, foreign exchange and the role of the banks in creating a cycle of borrowing and the Third World Debt crisis of the early 1980s.

Where to Next?  (28 minutes) gives a thoughtful perspective on foreign aid, pointing out that outcomes are often greater for business development in donor nations than poverty reduction in recipient countries. When informed on development issues, the public can play a constructive role through political advocacy and adjusting consumption patterns. The achievements of NGOs operating on the ground appear to offer the best hope.

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