Daily Archives: July 14, 2016

Documentary: The Food Speculator (VPRO Backlight)


vpro documentary

Published on Dec 13, 2012

Assuming the role of a speculator, director Kees Brouwer tries to find out whether he is merely taking advantage of the opportunity offered to investors by the food scarcity, or that, through this abstract world of financial products, he is drastically interfering in poor people’s lives.

Increasing food prices are increasingly causing unrest in the world. It was no coincidence that when the Arab Spring first began Tunisian protesters attacked the order police with baguettes. Is there just not enough food for so many people, or are the price increases caused by speculators, looking for quick profits? Backlight tries to find an answer by doing a little food speculation of its own. A quest that leads us to places including the streets of Tunisia and the Chicago Stock Exchange.

Director: Kees Brouwer & co-director Maren Merckx
Producer: VPRO Backlight

International Sales for this documentary are handled by NPO Sales: http://www.nposales.com/?s=backlight

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Documentary: The Carlyle Connection (VPRO Backlight)


vpro documentary

Uploaded on Feb 9, 2012

A revealing documentary about the international world of private equity banking.

The Carlyle Group, one of the largest investment banks in the world, is based in Washington and has accumulated its capital mainly by investments in the defence industry. On their list of employees are people like Lou Gerstner (former chairman of IBM), George Bush Sr., James Baker III, John Major (former British Prime Minister) and Fidel Ramos (former Prime Minister of the Philipines). The Carlyle Group invests in areas that are closely tied to government policy: aero space and defense, telecom, real estate, health care and the banking business.

With 16 billion dollar under management they have the reputation of being the best-connected company in the world. Their list of private investors include George Soros, the Saudi Royal Family and the Bin Laden Family. How does the Carlyle Group operate, who are the people behind the Carlyle Group and how much power does Carlyle have? This film explores the fine line between the conflict of interests and a new global way of doing business.

Director: Shuchen Tan
Research: Gijs M. Swantee, Ger Wieberdink, Christina Berio
Producers: Mariska Schneider, Nicoline Tania
Editors in chief: Doke Romeijn, Frank Wiering, Hans Keller

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Documentary: TTIP: Might is Right (VPRO Backlight)


vpro documentary

Published on Oct 19, 2015

The proposed free trade agreement between the US and Europe (TTIP) causes concern about the European right to self-determination. The most controversial part of TTIP is ISDS: investor-state dispute settlement. ISDS will make it possible for companies to sue governments that damage their investments. But is this arbitrage system where a few investment lawyers decide over billions of taxpayers money a protection of our business interests, or a threat to our democracy?

On Saturday, October 10, tens of thousands of European citizens took to the streets, and more than 2.5 million signatures were offered to the European Commission. The source of this concern and protest is the free trade agreement TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) between the United States and the EU, which would create the world’s largest free-trade zone. According to the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade Lilianne Ploumen, TTIP could be realized as soon as 2016; the negotiations are well under way. If the EU ratifies the trade agreement, critics fear that the scales will tilt toward North-American standards and values with regard to (food) safety, workers’ and consumer rights. And that when it comes to important collective achievements and protection of its citizens, Europe will give up its right to self-determination.

The part of the trade agreement that’s questioned the most is ISDS, or investor-state dispute settlement, which can be used by companies to dispute a country’s laws and rules, if a company feels unfairly treated. This will enable multinationals to circumvent democratic decisions and existing national jurisdiction. In order to understand the potential consequences of this, VPRO Backlight traveled to Canada, which became one of the most sued countries in the world after it entered into a trade agreement with the US. American companies now summon the Canadian government to appear before an arbitration tribunal if they feel that Canadian rules aren’t in compliance with the free trade agreement Nafta. Despite democratic decisions against fracking under Canada’s most important river, the Saint Lawrence, the Canadian government was sued for millions of dollars by the oil and shale gas company Lone Pine.

Could this happen in the Netherlands as well? In spite of resistance, the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp (VVD) doesn’t rule out the possibility of future fracking in the Netherlands. VPRO Backlight probed the opinions at an information meeting organized by the Dutch Oil and Gas Company in Saaksum, Groningen. The locals there seem more and more convinced that fossil fuels should stay where they are: underground. But then no profit would be made from them anymore. The question is if this could result in ISDS claims in the future. Or should we welcome ISDS? Because it’s also crucial for the position of the Netherlands as a world leader in legal and financial services. It will protect the tens of billions of Dutch foreign investments.

British Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang wonders what free trade really means in this day and age. Because there has long been a largely free movement of goods between the US and EU, with few tariff walls. So whose interest will the controversial TTIP and ISDS serve then? And in the service of whom or what is the law, when it comes to international investment arbitration? Isn’t in the end, might right?

With: Steve Verheul (Canadian negotiator for the trade agreement between Canada and the EU), Gus van Harten (Canadian lawyer and ISDS expert), Nikos Lavranos (former negotiator for the Netherlands, currently ISDS investment consultant) and Ha-Joon

Director: Roland Duong
Research: William de Bruijn
Producers: Jolanda Segers, Bircan Unlu
Commissioning editors: Marije Meerman, Doke Romeijn

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The Chinese World Order (VPRO Backlight)


Martin Jacques

Published on Mar 23, 2016

English version of a documentary produced by VPRO for Dutch television. Including an interview with Martin Jacques. Directed by Jos de Putter.

Global Climate Change
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Documentary: The End of Ownership (VPRO Backlight)


vpro documentary

Published on Dec 8, 2015

How will the production process change when we no longer own things, but only use them? A Backlight Lab with Thomas Rau.

We are on the verge of a significant change in behavior. The production model in which people work in order to buy things is coming to an end. We don’t want to own things, we want to have access to them and use them. The fun, but not the trouble: ‘Don’t own, enjoy!’ What does this mean for the way products are made, the way we build, for innovation and economic growth? A VPRO Backlight Lab with Thomas Rau, the most radical architect of the Netherlands.

More info and episodes on: backlight.vpro.nl

Global Climate Change
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Documentary: Fossil Free (VPRO Backlight)


vpro documentary

Published on Dec 1, 2015

A growing group of concerned citizens no longer trusts politicians to tackle climate change. They now focus on the financial sector and receive help from unexpected sources. Big banks like HSBC, Citibank and the regulating Bank of England recently started to warn against the so-called ‘carbon bubble’. Investing in coal, oil and gas not only causes temperatures to rise, but it also involves substantial financial risks, for pensions for example. Armed with this new weapon, activists are summoning pension funds, universities and other funds to reduce their investments in fossil fuels.

The trust that politicians will come up with a solution for climate change is waning. A rapidly growing group of concerned citizens is looking for other ways to tackle climate change. They now focus on the financial world, because they believe that there is at least as much influence to be found here as in governments.
Pension funds, churches and universities are called on to withdraw their investments in fossil fuels. This ‘divestment’ movement has followers in more than twenty countries, and it’s growing rapidly. With success: besides churches and universities, the Norwegian state investment fund—which holds more than 800 billion euros—has now promised to reduce its investments in fossil fuels.

In the Netherlands, pension fund ABP—one of the world’s largest funds, with more than 350 billion euros in investments—is an attractive target for the divestment movement. Through campaigns and conversations with pensioners and supervisors, the fossil free activists are trying to urge ABP to pull large sums out of companies responsible for high carbon emissions. And with success. ABP recently announced that they will start rating all their investments in terms of sustainability. The fund will invest more in renewable energy and less in coal and oil. But for the divestment movement, the mission won’t be accomplished until ABP and other pension funds dare to make even more radical choices and completely stop investing in the fossil fuel industry. Is this the right strategy? VPRO Backlight follows activists and stock traders, in search of the benefit and necessity of this new way of campaigning.

Including: Corien Wortmann-Kool (CEO ABP), Vatan Hüzeir (co-initiator of ABP Fossil Free), Ella Lagé (campaigner for Fossil Free Berlin) and Bob Litterman (hedge fund manager and former Head of Quantitative Trading at Goldman Sachs).

Director: Martijn Kieft

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VPRO Documentary Channel

Joined May 25, 2007
Description
https://www.youtube.com/user/VPROinternational/featured

Our globalized world causes societies, economies and cultures to seek a new balance. VPRO Documentaries reflects on this with new features every week. We research subjects like politics, world economy, society and science with experts and try to grasp the essence of prominent trends and developments.

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