The video “Cash Flow Fever” is all about the effects of immigrants sending money, also called remittances, back to their home country from America. The video first talks about how remittances can contribute a great deal of money to poor families and that the value of remittances to Latin America is larger than all of the foreign aid to that region combined (2:10-2:20).
The video also shows that banks are beginning to appreciate the potential market and are getting involved, lowering the cost of remittances (2:30-2:50), leading to the largest benefit of remittances which is the starting up of banks in the Latin America community which allows for easy access to loans (18:40-19:00). The that I find most noteworthy is during the last few minutes where a woman is shown to have started a rabbit farm with money that she borrowed from a local credit union (19:10-19:20).
The reason I find this most noteworthy is because it was the money from remittances that lead to the credit union being able to grant loans for projects such as this. This is a prime example of the long term benefits that remittances are having on the Latin American community. Another noteworthy point the video makes is the successfulness of remittances in helping the Latin American economy.
Part of this success I believe is tied to the fact that the money sent in remittances is sent with “no strings attached” meaning that the people who receive the money are free to do whatever they want with it. When this system is contrasted with the ideology of institutions such as the IMF, which often enforce “conditions” that countries must meet in order to continue receiving loans (Stiglitz 351), we can clearly see that at least in Latin America aid is best put to work when the people are allowed to do with it what they see fit.
The fact that native people often know what is best for their land is also supported by the passage “The Goddess and the Green Revolution” where Stephen Lansing where scientists and “experts” tried to implement a new crop without taking into consideration the knowledge of the native peoples. This resulted in a “chaos in the water scheduling and explosions of pest populations” (Lansing 281) leading to an extremely low crop output. This “no strings attached” type of aid also prevents money from flowing out of developing countries as described in “A Brief History of Aid” by Dambisa Moyo on page 375.
In conclusion I believe that the video correctly relates the remittances to the expanding Latin American economy. I consider the video to be both enlightening and non-bias. It presented facts and gave reasons for them in a way that left little dispute about credibility. I would recommend this video to a friend if there were interested in such humanitarian topics, and I believe that it would be a good video for people of an economics background to watch also.