UNNATURAL CAUSES ...is inequality making us sick?
Rebroadcast Fridays at 10PM, October 9, 16, 23, 30, 2009. Dates and times may vary. Check local listings.
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Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3 Hour 4 TRAILER

Hour 4 consists of two segments: “Collateral Damage” traces the health challenges of Marshall Islanders from the South Pacific to Springdale, Arkansas, while “Not Just a Paycheck” explores the toll taken by layoffs and job insecurity in western Michigan.

Collateral Damage

Marshal Islands - CU of boy behind wire fence

The lives and health of Marshall Islanders in the South Pacific were disrupted in a unique fashion when the U.S. used their outer islands for extensive nuclear testing after WWII.  But the dislocation set in motion by globalization and the presence of the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Base may be taking an even greater toll on their health. Their traditional way of life destroyed, many Marshallese, desperate for jobs at the base, crowd the nearby island of Ebeye, where tuberculosis and other diseases are fed by poverty and squalid conditions. Today, many Marshallese, seeking a better life, have ended up in the unlikely place of Springdale, Arkansas.  But they bring a legacy of poverty and powerlessness with them.


Video Web exclusive - U.S. atomic testing in the Pacific »

Video Web exclusive - Diabetes among the Marshallese »

Video Segment excerpt: Dise Langrus is one of many Marshallese displaced from her home island by U.S. nuclear testing after WWII »


Document Transcript (PDF) »

Document "Remembering the Marshall Islands," by Jane Goodall and Rick Asselta »

Document "The U.S. and the Marshall Islands" »

Not Just a Paycheck

Sandy Beck, former Electrolux supervisor, working in fast food

When Electrolux shut down the largest refrigerator factory in the country and moved it to Juarez, Mexico in search of cheaper labor, it turned the lives of many of the 3,000 employees who had worked there upside down.  Hospital visits in Greenville, Michigan more than tripled as a result of depression, alcoholism, and domestic abuse. And heart disease and mortality are predicted to rise. But when Electrolux shut down one of its Swedish plants it caused hardly a ripple.  While Americans are left to fend for themselves, Swedish social policies assume an ethos of shared responsibility and protect workers from the worst of globalization.


Video Web exclusive - How unemployment affects families, especially children »

Video Segment excerpt: How the growing wealth divide affects health »


Document Transcript (PDF) »

Document University of Michigan Prevention Research Center »

Document "The State of Working America," 2007/2008 report »

Document Inequality.org - a source for analysis and statistics »

Document United for a Fair Economy Web site »

Document "No Time to Be Sick: Why Everyone Suffers When Workers Don't Have Paid Sick Leave" (PDF) »

Document "The Downsizing of America" - NY Times series, March 3-9, 1996 »

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