American Economy

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In Sickness and in Wealth
Part of the Series: Unnatural Causes
What are the connections between healthy bodies, healthy bank accounts and skin colour? Our opening episode travels to Louisville, Kentucky, not to explore whether medical care cures us, but to see why we get sick in the first place, and…
Consuming Kids - The Commercialization of Childhood
Part of the Series: MEF Debt & Consumerism Collection
With virtually no government or public outcry, the multi-billion dollar youth marketing industry has been able to use the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform American children into one of the most powerful and profitable consumer demographics…
When the Bough Breaks
Part of the Series: Unnatural Causes
The number of infants who die before their first birthday is much higher in the U.S. than in other countries. And, for African Americans, the rate is nearly twice as high than it is for white Americans. Even well-educated Black…
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail - 2018 Best Documentary Oscar Nominee
PBS
From acclaimed director Steve James ( The Interrupters ), Academy Award -nominated (Best Documentary Feature, 2018) ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL tells the saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused…
Place Matters
Part of the Series: Unnatural Causes
Why is your street address such a good predictor of your health? Latino and Southeast Asian immigrants like Gwai Boonkeut have been moving into long-neglected urban neighborhoods such as those in Richmond, California, a predominantly Black city in the San…
Bad Sugar
Part of the Series: Unnatural Causes
The Pima and Tohono O'odham Indians of southern Arizona have arguably the highest diabetes rates in the world - half of all adults are afflicted. But a century ago, diabetes was virtually unknown here. Researchers have poked and prodded the…
Becoming American
Part of the Series: Unnatural Causes
Recent Mexican immigrants, although poorer, tend to be healthier than the average American. They have lower rates of death, heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses, despite being less educated, earning less and having the stress of adapting to a new…
Not Just a Paycheck
Part of the Series: Unnatural Causes
In the winter of 2006, the Electrolux Corporation closed the largest refrigerator factory in the U.S. and moved it to Juarez, Mexico, for cheaper labor. The move turned the lives of nearly 3,000 workers in Greenville, Michigan, upside down. As…
The Divide - What Happens When the Rich Get Richer?
The Divide takes a deeply personal look at wealth inequality, telling the story of seven individuals striving for a better life in the modern day U.S. and U.K. -- where the top 0.1% owns as much wealth as the bottom…
Collateral Damage
Part of the Series: Unnatural Causes
Two billion people worldwide are infected with the TB bacillus, but only 9 million people a year actually get the disease. The story of the Marshall Islands can help us understand why. The lives and health of Marshall Islanders in…
The Overspent American - Why We Want What We Do Not Need
Part of the Series: MEF Debt & Consumerism Collection
This powerful video scrutinizes what Juliet Schor calls "the new consumerism" -- a national phenomenon of upscale spending shaped and reinforced by a media system driven by commercial interests. Illustrated with hundreds of media examples, The Overspent American draws attention…
11/8/16 - Americans React to the Election of Donald Trump
In the hours leading up to Donald Trump's unexpected victory on Election Day 2016, a cross-section of Americans go about their radically different lives. In Washington DC, Hillary Clinton's Director of Video giddily anticipates a clean victory; in Massachusetts, a…
Consumerism & the Limits to Imagination
Part of the Series: MEF Debt & Consumerism Collection
Consumer capitalism dominates our economy, our politics, and our culture, even though a growing body of research suggests it may be well past its sell-by date. In this illustrated presentation based on his latest critically acclaimed book, media scholar Justin…
Money, Power and Wall Street
PBS
In a special 4-hour investigation, FRONTLINE tells the inside story of the struggles to rescue and repair a shattered economy, exploring key decisions, missed opportunities, and the unprecedented and uneasy partnership between government leaders and titans of finance that affects…
2 videos
In Debt We Trust - America Before the Bubble Bursts
Part of the Series: MEF Debt & Consumerism Collection
This hard-hitting documentary investigates why so many Americans - college and high school students in particular - are being strangled by debt. Zeroing in on how the mall has replaced the factory as America's dominant economic engine, Emmy Award-winning former…
Secret History of the Credit Card
Part of the Series: Frontline
PBS
The average American family today carries 10 credit cards. Credit card debt and personal bankruptcies are now at an all time high. With no legal limit on the amount of interest or fees that can be charged, credit cards have…
Default - The Student Loan Documentary
Part of the Series: MEF Debt & Consumerism Collection
Just a few years after the subprime mortgage crisis, there are ominous signs that the student loan market is on the verge of collapsing, yet another casualty of predatory lending practices. Default brings this perilous situation into sharp relief, chronicling…
The Short Films of Elizabeth Lo - Short Documentaries on America's Overlooked Communities
A remarkable talent in the documentary arena, Elizabeth Lo's moving films highlight American societies' overlooked communities as they navigate the increasing states of inequality. Often forgotten, or even subjugated, by official institutions, Lo's sharp eye captures subjects young and old…
6 videos
The Retirement Gamble
Part of the Series: Frontline
PBS
Ten trillion dollars in Americans' retirement savings are invested in large and small accounts managed by banks, brokerages, mutual funds, and insurance companies. But whether your IRA or 401K will assure a safe retirement is largely a gamble. Building off…
The Madoff Affair - The First Global Ponzi Scheme
Part of the Series: Frontline
PBS
In the mid-1960s, Bernard Madoff tapped money from Jewish businessmen at exclusive country clubs with the promise of steady guaranteed returns on their investments. He then set his sights on Europe and Latin America, brokering deals with powerful hedge fund…