The Big Sellout (2007)

Our World is being privatized!

Privatization is one of the most sensible subjects of the global neoliberal movement. The collateral damages  cause to the people by privatizing public goods, like water, electricity, health assistance or public transportation, just to mention some, are enormous, but they do not appear in the financial statistics of organizations like the IMF or the  WTO, which are convinced that privatization and deregulation of the world markets are the only ways to global economic boost.

In his film, Florian Opitz shows four examples of the consequences of privatizing public goods: the railway in Britain, the health service in the Philippines, the water in Bolivia and the electricity in South Africa. All these cases reveal a degradation of the life conditions of the population directly dependent of the privatized goods.  “The Big Sellout” offers an empathetic and sobering study of the human impact of global economics.

Online version:

I just found a Hungarian online version of the film (which can be found here). If you know other versions, please let me know.


Torrent: link1

Rapidshare: link 1 [1.14Gb](German) Password:


“The Big Sellout” @ IMDb

“The Big Sellout” @ Wikipedia (German)

The official site (German site here)


7 Responses to “The Big Sellout (2007)”

  1. How about the increases in the prices of oil and food as an impact of global trade?

    The prices of oil and food have gone up not because of supply reductions, but because global trade is bringing first world living standards to countries that previously were third world like Brazil, China, and India. As hundreds of millions of people in these countries now can afford a western lifestyle, they require more food and oil. Even with growth the growth in production of oil and food over the last ten years, its hard to meet that much new demand.

    Comment by CriticalDocs:
    First of all, thank you for your comment.

    You write ” hundreds of millions of people in these [Third World] countries now can afford a western lifestyle, they require more food and oil” as if this is the main (or only) reason for the actual global oil and food problem.

    Yes, it’s true that the oil demand is increasing rapidally due to an increased demand by developing countries, namely (and mainly) China, but probably also India and others (I have to look for actual figures about the increase of oil consumption in this countries), but do not forget that the world oil resources are running out, as well as the fact, that the USA continues to consume as much oil as practically the rest of the world together.

    On the other hand, I do not think that this increase of oil consumptions in Third World countries is directly related to a bettering of lifestyle, neither as a trigger nor as a result, but rather connected with the development of industries there. Also I do not think that those who can now afford a western lifestyle amount to hundreds of millions, but they represent rather a very small percentage of the population in this countries. I strongly believe that the globalization, as it has been functioning in the last few decades, is rather increasing poverty in Third World countries (and even in Western countries), although I do not deny that it may punctually increase the life standard of some people around the world.

    Finally the question about the global food shortage. As I have been realizing, the actual global food shortage (or increasing food prices) can – for the most part – be directly or indirectly related to US and/or UE policies (when not also related to natural factors): think about the policy for bio fuels, agricultural subvention, amongst others. Surely there is an increasing world population, but I do not think that presently this parameter is the crucial one for the actual situation.

    The point is that I got the impression from your comment, that the Third World (alone) is in some way responsible for the food and oil problematic. It is surely apart of it, but the major factors for this problematic lie also somewhere else. Maybe I just miss-understood your comment ;-)

    I will try to find some actual data about the different points addressed here and publish them in this blog.


    Critical Docs

  2. Its that I blame the third world (the first world does not have a moral right to a lions share of the resources). But that new very large countries now have the money to demand a larger cut, and we need to find ways to accommodate them. China going from mostly bikes to now building their own interstate highway system in a matter of a few years has had a huge impact.

    ” Projections are that China’s automobile market is likely to top the 10 million mark in 2008, up from an estimated 8.5 million units in 2007. New light-duty vehicle sales were 3.25 million units in 2002.” Yet car owner ship is still well below the western average. Growth is expected to stay 15% to 20% a year for the next 5 years. Compare this with the US – 16 million new cars and trucks in 2007 which will not see growth.

    I trade commodities at the chicago merc (which looks alot like the united nations) and get to hear alot about were the commodities come from and were they go.

    I would say that you are right that there has been an effect on grains caused ethanol for fuel. The India and china’s switch to a western diet has also had an effect.

    It annoys me that the politicians are not adjusting to a problem that will be with us for a while. We need new production capacity, improve efficiencies, and diversify our energy sources all at the same time. I see politicians that will do one or two of these but not all.

    My point is not the the third world is responsible, but that we need to be serious about finding ways to accommodate them.

    Interesting Subject.

  3. Consumption of oil. (2006 figures)

    83,607,000 bbl/day World
    20,687,000 barrels/day bbl/day USA

    US uses about 25% of world consumption. which is huge and needs to be reduced. (2008 is down about 5% so far) US produces only about 35% of use.

  4. Thank you a lot for the numbers and your additional comments. The numbers I had were probably older. Also thank you for the link.

    I’m very interested in continuing this discussion and change ideas (and facts) with you in the near future. I’m somewhat busy in finishing my PhD in the next two weeks. After that I’ll have all the time in the world.

    And if you like this blog, please tell your freinds about it :-)


  5. None of the links is working, neither the vodpod, nor the torrent nor the rs link.

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