________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 8 . . . . December 15, 2000


Carole Poliquin. (Director). Isaac Isitan (Producer, Les Productions ISCA) Nicole Lamothe (Producer, NFB).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1997.
52 min., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9197 161.

Subject Headings:
Economic policy.
Social Classes.
Economics-Sociological aspects.

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.

Review by Joanne Peters.

*** /4

Turbulence opens with a view of a peaceful meadow. But, as the camera follows a butterfly's flight, the narrator reminds us that even the minor atmospheric disturbance of tiny, beating wings can have a ripple effect. So it is with the global economy. The sales of stocks on one exchange effect other markets, both local and world-wide: workers may lose their jobs, pension funds lose value, and, as a result, there is less money to buy products and, therefore, less demand for them. Globalization, a buzz-word of the late twentieth century, is a reality, for better or for worse. This documentary offers a variety of perspectives on the impact of economic globalization: market speculators, money managers, striking teachers in Ontario, squatters in Paris, factory workers in Thailand, farmers in Mexico are all affected, often in diametrically opposite ways, by profits and losses, mergers and acquisitions, supply and demand. There may be near-full employment in the Canadian financial sector, but, in other industries, lay-offs are periodic (and expected). Similarly, market forces have created a group of underemployed or unemployed individuals who would dearly love to be wage-earners, rather than volunteers who give their time and services in order to keep themselves occupied. And, in other parts of the world, the whims of North American consumers dictate production levels and wages paid in Senegalese fish-processing operations or Asian toy factories.
    Turbulence is a thought-provoking video. After viewing it, one cannot ignore the inter-connections of the world marketplace. Turbulence also puts a human face on the consequences of economic activity. Under-employment, unemployment, lack of job security, price increases, which make goods or services unattainable to certain sectors of the population, are often the result of decisions made by relatively small groups of money managers and policy-makers.
    Turbulence has instructional potential in a number of different subject areas. Once students have a basic grasp of economic theory, teachers of high school economics will find that the video stimulates many provocative questions about the impact of economic globalization. Teachers of modern world issues can use it to explore the politics of globalization, and teachers of world geography programs can use segments or the entire video to show globalization's impact on human activity, particularly in lesser-developed countries. A very worthwhile acquisition for senior high school collections in schools which offer these programs.


Joanne Peters is a teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.

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