In this course we will focus on the implications of globalisation, especially in relation to water resources control (Bolivia, Philippines, and California), the role of the World Bank in supporting projects such as dam across the Narmada River, etc.
A: Warm up / Writing storm
“What products do you buy that are made in other countries?
How do you think these products come to this country?
What role do you think the governments play in the international trade of goods?”
B: Look up in a dictionary or an encyclopaedia following terms:
4. Free trade
5. Fair trade
6. Multi-national corporations
a. What is globalization?
b. When did it begin?
c. What are the costs and benefits of free trade?
d. What is the role of internet in globalisation?
e. How does globalisation affect culture? Is it synonymous with ‘Americanisation’?
f. What are the environmental impacts of globalisation?
2. Find out about the World Trade Organisation (WTO):
a. When was it created?
b. Who are its members?
3. Find out about the International Monetary Fond (IMF):
a. What is the IMF and what does it do?
b. How does it work?
c. What makes the IMF unpopular?
d. Who is affected?
4. Find out about the World Bank:
a. What does it do?
b. Where does the money go?
c. Where does the bank get its money?
d. Who are its members?
e. Who gets to decide where the money goes?
D: Group work
What are some of the major businesses and industries in your city? How might each be affected by world trade? In what ways has world trade made a visible impact on your city?
A: Study questions
1. At the World Water Forum, Thames CEO Bill Alexander says that his company will not go anywhere it is not wanted. Do you believe him?
2. How do you think Thames will be able to satisfy its stockholders that the company is profitable and still achieve the cost savings it promised Stockton, California?
3. Has Thirst changed the way you view democracy? What role should citizens play in critical decisions about their communities?
4. In the United States, 85 percent of the population gets its drinking water from public systems. Do you think these systems could be run more efficiently by corporations?
5. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that cities need to spend $151 billion to upgrade water delivery infrastructure over the next 20 years and another $460 billion on sewage systems. How will local governments raise money for these purposes? How will private companies raise money?
6. Has your view of bottled water changed since viewing Thirst? If so, how? Should private bottling companies be allowed to pump water to sell bottled water for a profit? Are stricter standards needed for bottled water? For tap water?
7. What policies are needed to protect groundwater?
8. What comparisons can you make between the protests against Coca-Cola in Kerala, India, and the concerns of citizens in Mecosta County, Michigan?
9. In Thirst, Indian water-conservation leader Rajendra Singh calls for an international boycott of bottled water, while Michigan citizens are calling for a boycott of Nestlé water. What do you think such boycotts might accomplish?
10. There are many passionate voices in the film saying water should be a common good, while corporate spokespeople say the private sector can deliver water most efficiently. How do you see these issues? What does efficiency mean? Is there any kind of efficiency besides economic efficiency?
11. What are the consequences of treating water as a marketable good where the market determines its price? Who gains and who loses from such policies?
12. Many people believe that water is a human right. Why should water be treated any differently than any other product like shoes or tomatoes?
13. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of community versus corporate provision of water services?
14. After seeing the film, are there changes you can make in the way you use water at home? Are there ways that water use could be altered at your workplace, on your campus, or in your community? Do any of these changes require more than local action? How might this be done?
B: Interpretation of the film
1. Comment on the role of local government in Stockton (California) in privatization of regions water supplies.
2. Comment on the means (pictures, sound, characters, point of view) the film uses to convey its message? Give examples to support your point.
1. Debate the pros and cons of the “public-private partnerships” in water supplies.
2. Make a list of pros and cons of the world trade liberalisation in the advent of globalisation.
3. Discus the role of the internet in the process of globalisation.
4. Is cultural globalisation synonymous with Americanism? Why? Or Why not?
5. “Reducing poverty is not just a moral issue. The closer we are connected across the continents, the more we become dependent on each other. “Discuss.
6. “Accepting the need for global democracy means accepting the loss of our own nations’ power to ensure that the world is run for our benefit.” Discuss.
D: Role play
The Town Hall Meeting:
As a culminating exercise, have students hold a “Town Hall Meeting” in your classroom where each student is assigned a role to play that matches your particular community. This should correlate as much as possible to the particular organizational structure of your own town/city/region/district, but the basic roles to assign would be as follows:
• Mayor (or some top local government official)
• City Council Members (or elected or appointed officials that represent the people)
• Local Water Authority Employees/Managers/Administrators
• Private Water Company Representatives
• Local Citizens against water privatization
• Local Citizens for water privatization
* Moderator (could be the teacher, or someone who will keep the discussion on track and ensure meaningful/respectful dialogue)
• Other roles as appropriate for your local situation
Describe the scene (like Stockton, California in the film) – that a large, multinational water company (name can be made up by student representatives) has approached your local government and wants to purchase the rights to your water supply. In return, they propose to invest heavily in the city and local economy and promise to deliver clean water to everybody in town. Some people are for this initiative, and some are against. The Mayor, with democratic process in mind, has decided to hold a Town Hall Meeting (or whatever you want to call it) so that everybody’s voice can be heard. Each student will play a role in this Town Hall Meeting.
Assign student roles and have students work in small groups (as appropriate) to compile their arguments. Research time may be needed, or at least several minutes (20 minutes minimum) for students to write out/gather their notes. They should prepare a brief statement as to why their view is “correct” as well as prepare notes for possible questions that either support or challenge their platform.
Prepare a Town Hall Meeting Agenda of who will speak and in which order.
The “Moderator” should call the Town Hall Meeting to order. Have each student, or group of students, deliver their statement to the rest of the “meeting participants” according to the Agenda. Depending on available time, you may want to allow questions after each speaker, hold questions to the very end, or only allow statements without questions.
Once all have spoken, have the City Council Members (or elected officials that represent the people) cast their votes either for or against the water privatization proposal based on the arguments heard during the Town Hall Meeting.
As a debrief exercise, ask students to share their experience playing the various roles. Did they find it difficult to play the various roles? How closely was this experience to the situation in Stockton, California in the film? Was the outcome the same as in Stockton? What did they learn by doing this exercise? (Go to source)
E: Suggested writing
Write a letter to the editor in support or against the public-private partnership of water supplies in Stockton, California.
III. VOCABULARY IN USE
These exercises can be used as part of homework or in class.
View exercise A, B and C as pdf
IV. GRAMMAR POINTS
This exercise can be used as part of homework or in class.
View exercise A as pdf
V. EXTENSION ACTIVITIES
A: Listening / reading comprehension
Privatization of water supplies and globalisation has been the bone of contention in many political debates over the past decade. Below you will find links to some of the debates which can be used as a listening or a reading comprehension.
Water privatisation: Ask the experts (60 min):
BBC’s debate: with Trevor Ngwane of the Anti-Privatisation Forum in Johannesburg, and Michael Klein, vice president for private sector development at the World Bank. Listen or read the transcript. (See website)
Poverty and Globalisation (56 min):
The globalisation of the food system is destroying the diversity of local food cultures and local food economies, says Vandana Shiva in her BBC’s lecture. Listen or read the transcript of the lecture. (See website)