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Monday, 12 November, 2001, 17:06 GMT
Profits of Doom: Your comments
Profits of doom
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I would like to thank your staff for the high quality constantly provided by your reportages, in particular after viewing "Profits of Doom". My special gratitude to your reporter, John Kampfner, for his serious and passionate attempt to show some side-effects of the globalized economic insanity in which we are living in. These kind of reports are badly needed in this time and I hope you will continue to offer coverage of globalisation-related issues in the coming weeks.
Profits of Doom was a splendid programme - the sort that leaves even a development cynic like me thoroughly angry and resolving to find new ways of working towards a truly global solution of problems. My only criticism is that it doesn't seem to be repeated during the week.
I have lived and worked in Ghana for a brief time and while I agree the conditions are appalling in some cases, I also know that many of the multinational mining companies are attempting to correct past mistakes and previous poor treatment of local communities.
Many of the companies which you refer to (but do not name) are voluntarily making the effort to improve the conditions in nearby villages, through direct investment into infrastructure improvements (boreholes, latrines, schools and electricity). They are attempting to meet some of the gaps which the government is not or cannot cover. The multinational mining companies also tend to have a better record for both social investment and environmental protection that the national or local miners.
I would think that presenting the other side of the picture, of what NGOs, multinationals, the World Bank and the government of Ghana are attempting to do to improve conditions, would help to round out the story and present a more balanced view point.
I just wanted to write and say how impressed I was with this programme - the latest in an admirable series of Correspondent reports from around the world. People are really affected by this quality of reporting. Please keep it up - for all our sakes.
I watched what has to be one of the best pieces of journalism I have seen for many a year. The programme "Profits of Doom" highlighted many of the issues about the IMF, WTO, 11 September bombing and the Genoa demonstrations in such a way that was both informative, and considering the war situation, well reasoned and argued.
The broadcast was naive and skewed and not up to the usual standards of this programme. The interview with the country director of the World Bank was deliberately skewed by the very location where it was recorded.
Ghana is making significant progress in its central and local government. There are gaps in its economy, of which the cocoa industry is one, largely due to poor management and a lack of expertise.
The reporter lacked objectivity and instead was content to give us an emotional half hour , on half baked reporting. Where was the interview with the Minister responsible for water supply? What were the 'Opportunity Costs' of providing 'free' water, and 'free' health care?
This answers those who argue that modern TV is all rubbish! An illuminating programme, filmed to allow the interviewees to retain their dignity and to clarify the arguments in a humane, balanced and still committed way. Thoroughly persuasive, and helpful in understanding the current world crisis. Anon
Congratulations on an excellent program, if there is to be any sort of lasting future for the human race then debt must be eradicated and world trade made more fair. I am 63 and have watched these matters for many years and I have to tell you that I saw no prospect of America stemming its greed or even attempting to play a fair game, how terrible it is that it may now be forced by such horrific violence to realise that the rest of the world and its poor do matter.
I found this programme disappointing because it made no attempt to understand the issues and so did the anti-capitalist case no good. The local footage about the awful conditions people are enduring in Ghana would have been far more effective if John Kampfner had placed it in a proper historical and intellectual context.
I am a nobody .......... but consider myself a global citizen. I would like to heap particular praise on your programme "Profits Of Doom" which highlights the realities of people in Ghana who were frankly just trying to live and survive. Nothing excuses 11 September, but nothing excuses the fact that for so many people on the planet living is so difficult. I was heartened to see the African activists, they represent.
Just a quick message to say that I thought your recent programme "Profits of Doom" gave an excellent and powerful introduction to the dilemmas and constraints imposed by World Bank and IMF policies on HIPC states such as Ghana. Although personally I would have liked to have seen a bit more pressure put upon the World Bank representatives to provide evidence of their apparent policy changes.
I watched your programme last night in the hope of seeing something
sensible about globalisation, but was a bit frustrated by the ill-researched mish mash that was served up. I could go on at length about some of the inaccuracies but I guess if your point was to make a tub thumping piece against the Washington consensus then I guess there is no point. But one thing I found to be simply wrong was your simplistic view of the cost recovery debate in water and sanitation in the developing world.
Watched your programme tonight on Ghana. Absolutely riveting. Best current affairs in a long time. Somewhere there is a large audience for work which has high standards of research combined with accessible presentation
May I say that last night's report from Ghana was a first class piece of work. The simple picture and unemotional report of the effects of IMF policies were powerful. I've not seen 'Correspondent' before but if this standard is maintained I will watch every one.
Thank you Thank you Thank you John Kampfner and the entire Correspondent team for the most insightful, challenging and balanced programme I have yet seen about THE most pressing issue of the age. It is a blessed relief to receive intelligent documentary reporting in this time of hysterical biased media coverage. I was beginning to think I would never hear such viewpoints reported properly ever again. May the issues you have highlighted now be discussed with a greater degree of honesty and with a greater awareness of the interrelated way in which the darker side of globalisation threatens all of us directly or indirectly, whether we live in the "developed" or "developing" world.
I first went (to Ghana) as a new mother, and the thing that I recall most clearly was that, during just my first year, four babies died within our (extended) family alone. Babies dying in faraway foreign lands is something people feel vaguely regretful about, but when they are the age-mates and cousins of your own babies, you actually feel what that means. When it is due to poverty, absence of clean water and health care, and would have been so easily preventable, it is even more painful - obscene in a world where wealth and luxury are taken for granted.
I watched the programme tonight, and then had a look at various bits about Ghana on the BBC web-site. I was curious to come across a story about the cancellation by the World Bank of a US$100m water treatment project in March 2000 because of Ghanaian government corruption, which was not mentioned in the programme.
This struck me as curious, given the fact that the programme clearly implied that it was the fault of the World Bank/IMF that some poor Ghanaians were suffering limited access to water. The fact that Government corruption prevented the population getting clean water was completely omitted. Which makes me wonder what else was left out?
Congratulations for "Profits of Doom". In this country to call something "passionate" is a term of abuse, but I mean it absolutely as a compliment: this was a film made with passion. It was so refreshing that you took such a strong line with the World Bank interviewees from the start (and well done for persuading them to be interviewed around that swimming-pool, a little coup in itself). Well done also for making so much space in the film for interpretation and analysis by Ghanaians: it was exhilarating and hopeful to hear from them and get a glimpse of their organising.
John Kampfner and your director approached the people on the receiving end of the World Bank's lousy experiments with fellow-feeling and respect: not usual in the
wonderful world of television these days, but 'Correspondent' is doing well in this regard. Please keep going.
I really enjoyed tonight's programme. I have just finished studying Third World Development with the Open University and many of the course concepts were covered in your programme. It brought home the issues clearly and without emotion. Well done.
Business is seen to be the saviour, but how? They are in the hands of the western world which only cares about profit. Education which used to be seen as important is only a stepping stone to getting out of the country. Nobody wants to be a teacher-they are on the poverty line. But then we have exported our philosophy in this globalised
world-public service is second rate. If this is true then how are people
going to be educated and health improved? In this crazy world the UK tax payer is helping to send UK volunteers where Ghanaians don't want to go, whilst we have Ghanaians teaching here!
People have to be important or what is the point? Greed?
From a previous BBC programme it would appear that their poverty problems originate from the ill-fated dam/electricity power generation to manufacture aluminium, which bankrupted Ghana. It was worse than the 'Channel Tunnel' programme. Unfortunately for Ghana, there was no French Government or British Bank to bale them out from the poor advice they received originally.
You also made reference to imports of second hand clothes ,which has destroyed the home textile industry!
Unfortunately, there is an active scam, sorry industry, collecting un-sold clothes from UK charity shops for FREE, and selling them on to unfortunate countries presumably such as Ghana.
From what I saw the documentary was about Ghanaians being ripped of by the Western world. I really hate to see African countries being put to shame. The documentary made it seem like all of Ghanaians were poor and the western world was living of their wealth. I myself am a Ghanaian. And when I went there Ghana looked beautiful. Some parts did look bad but if you want to see the bad part of Ghana you truly will. Every country has to have its bad parts. If you think that Ghana is being ripped of or whatever, why not spend the money that you wasted on the documentary on helping them?
I watched with a lot of mixed feelings your programme
titled Profits of Doom! In fact it was a great job done on the part of
the BBC in exposing some of these "hidden aspects of globalisation" to
the victims of poverty and injustice.
This situation as exposed by the "Profits of Doom" rings a bell not only
to the Northern institutional representatives to think twice, but to the
local leadership as well, in shaping strategies to instil a world
Your programme on the disastrous effects of the IMF and The World Bank on Ghana was excellent. It made me boil with rage particularly to see Peter Harrold (was it?), sitting by the swimming pool and asking why the people of Ghana needed to grow rice. Did it not occur to him that they might want to grow it to feed themselves (not having access to room service at the Accra Hilton or wherever he was staying) rather than pay rip-off prices to some crooked American food company for imported rice?
I'm 17 and we study globalisation and the problems of debt etc. in school. It's very hard to get textbook information on these problems and I don't feel emphasis is put on teaching them. People often have the misconception that people in these countries are stupid as on the news they're often filmed without speaking or dubbed with slow voices.
Programmes like this one are excellent in reducing these
prejudices and bringing awareness to issues dumbed down by the press and
govt. So, well done. Are there any leaflets or info on these matters you
have which are made available to schools?
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