Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
June 1st, 2009
Gold Futures
Issues to Consider

Download the PDF here.

Discussion Questions

How does a nation fairly balance the private property rights of the individual with issues of eminent domain?

How does a nation balance its economic and environmental issues?

  • Imagine Rosia Montana 100 years ago, vibrant and deeply involved in mining. Were there winners and losers back then? To what extent does the Gold Corporation’s promise of prosperity have merit?
  • What is eminent domain? Eminent domain has traditionally been allowed for government projects such as highways, bridges, and the like. With the challenge of the global economy, should it also be employed for economic development projects? How can the concept of eminent domain be abused?
  • What should be the role of the Romanian government in this process? If a small group of villagers hold up this project, should it step in and force them to give up their homes in order to bring the much-needed economic development to the area?
  • How does the environmental disaster of the cyanide that poured into the Tisza River illustrate the effects of environmental irresponsibility? How can multinational companies be forced to take responsibility for environmental damage?
  • What compromises might be possible to facilitate the project, but without the negative environmental impact envisioned by some?
  • What will happen to Rosia Montana when the gold and silver run out?


A. Research and report on one of the following:

  • Tennessee Valley Authority and its development in America.
  • China’s new Three Gorges Dam.

There are clear benefits for the people of rural American and rural China with the availability of electric power for millions. What are some of these benefits? Are these benefits worth the price? Explain.  What about the environmental impact of these projects? Do the benefits outweigh the damage done?  What is your litmus test?

In what ways are these two uses of eminent domain similar or different from what is happening in Rosia Montana of Romania by a Canadian Company?

B. Choose two characters from Gold Futures and take their perspective twenty years in the future.

  • Vidovescu

    Romanian people know well what” golden” future cyanide exploitation will bring. And they also know what Golden Corporation’s contract stipulates about having the right to keep any other rare metal found (besides gold) in the area (molybdenum, uranium and all the rest they are after).
    Knowing how much uranium there is, you could easily see that the “gold” story is just a cover-up to get legal (!!!) and untouched access to our natural reserves!
    It is all about money and my people will hardly see a cent of it. And even if they did, would this change this: thousands of km within and around Rosia Montana will be IRREVERSIBLY and completely destroyed. By a Canadian corporation with the perverted cooperation of the Romanian “government”. We also know what Romanian government means.
    A gang of irresponsible opportunists that lead our country to ever lasting poverty and debt.
    Who cares about ancient roman sites, paradisiacal landscapes, priceless ecosystem or even cultural values of the Apuseni Mountains?!
    Canadians would, if this happened in their neighborhood!! It’s always that THEY cut and exploit other’s forests, they literally steal other’s resources and preserve theirs. You may not even break a tree branch in North American or west European forests without a permit, but its ok to permanently vanish LIFE on Romanian ground…..
    I have no words to describe the disappointment, the shame and anger I experience (together with others) seeing how they continuously RAPE and RIP off our country.
    Go home.

    Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money. ~Cree Indian Proverb

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2014 WNET.ORG Properties LLC. All rights reserved.