Globalization ... Who cares? ... YOU DO

Director – Bob Balaban
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What is the global trade system?
What does it mean to have a globalized economy? And is it good for us? Bob Balaban wrangles seven experts to break it all down as a troupe of comedic actors enliven the commentary.

Directed by Bob Balaban
Produced by Peggy Rajski and Bob Balaban
Mom: Susie Essman
Dad: Jimmy Palumbo
Mother-in-law: Marylouise Burke
Daughter: Brooke Bloom
Son: Ben Rameaka
Special Thanks:
Daron Acemoglu
David Autor
Jagdish Bhagwati
Graciela Chichilnisky
Jim Cramer
Gary Hufbauer
Joseph E. Stiglitz
Line Producer: Dena Greenbaum
Edited by Gary Levy and Suzy Elmiger
Director of Photography: Federico Cesca
Production Designer: Amy Williams
Costume Designer: Kama Royz
Music Composed by Bob Thiele
First Assistant Director: Vanessa Hoffman
Production Coordinator: Maddy Crosti
Assistant to the Director: Peter Duchan

Camera Operator: Shan Jin
First AC A Cam: Josh Lawson
First AC B Cam: Qiuchen Zhang
Media Manager: Michael A Bell
Still Photographer: Monica Sekhon
Audio Supervisors: Aaron Miller and Annie Medlin
Boom Op: Michael Moote
Script Supervisor: Rachael Gillson
Set PAs: Martina Siniscalco & Aitor Mendilibar
Set Decorator: Kendall Anderson
On Set Dresser: Izzy Quevenard
Construction Coordinator: Justin Guereux
Scenic Artists: Ana Lieberman; Kimberly Ross; Rebecca Holmes
Leadman: Louis D'Apra
Art Assistant: Lucas Green
Key Hair and Make Up: Kristin Nawrocki
Hair and Make Up Assistants: Angela Calisti & Meraly Lopez
Wardrobe Supervisor: Olivia Janczyk
Costume Assistant: Justine Marks
Costumer: Bryan Czerniawski
Seamstress: Olivia Hunt
Gaffer: Guillaume Caron
Grip: Drew Levin
Assistant Editor: Will Lockhart
Graphics and Animation: Craig Waxman
Sound Designer/Music Editor/Re-recording Mixer: Eric Milano
Colorist: Frederick Trevino
(c) TradeAway Films LLC

Bob Balaban

BOB BALABAN created, produced and starred in the Academy Award-winning movie “Gosford Park,” produced and directed the HBO movie “Bernard and Doris,” starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes, which was nominated for ten Emmys, three Golden Globes, and two SAG awards. He produced and directed the award winning hit Off-Broadway play, “The Exonerated.” He has directed over thirty television episodes, both hour and half-hour, as well as four pilots and a number of television commercials. As an actor, he has appeared in nearly a hundred movies, most recently “The Monuments Men,” starring George Clooney, and Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” He will appear on Broadway this fall in Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance.”

Director's Note

“Create a six-minute short about our globalized economy and make it entertaining enough to engage your typical non-economy-oriented audience? Okay. I like challenges. The first thought that popped into my head was to interview a cross section of learned experts on the subject, and then create an archetypal American family to unwittingly ‘act out’ the consequences of our experts' ideas and philosophies. Well, actually, my first thought was to create an archetypal American family, and an archetypal Chinese family and an archetypal family in India. But how many archetypal people can you squish into one six-minute film? So I decided to put all my eggs in one archetypical American family basket.

I looked for the experts first, and was lucky enough to locate seven prominent and passionate scholars all willing to play along with our experiment. A week after I did their interviews, I sat down with five funny friends skilled in improvisation, and assigned them what I figured were universal characteristics: Dad was interested in making a living. Period. Son's primary goal was to drive his sister crazy. Sister was obsessed with the opposite sex. Mom was interested in trying to get her unruly family through dinner without a fight. And Gramma was clueless.

Before I filmed our family members, I reviewed our experts' footage and quickly realized that they were so erudite, so knowledgeable and so scholarly, that the sillier I made our family, the more contrast they'd provide with our determinedly non-silly experts, and the greater the chances of maybe getting a laugh or two. And keeping our audience awake. And how can you learn anything about anything if you're not awake? The real challenge was confining the movie to less than seven minutes. Experts don't speak in sound bites. And funny improvisors don't necessarily get to the point quickly. But finally we slashed away, located a through line, and shuffled our funny and learned populations together, added music and sound effects, and came up with something we hope will both educate and entertain. But only time and the ears of eyes of our audience will tell.”


With what country does the U.S. trade the most?

  • 23% Canada
  • 4% United Kingdom
  • 65% China
  • 8% Mexico
23% of respondents chose the correct answer: Canada.

The U.S. trades over $633 billion annually with Canada, compared with $561 billion in trade with China at #2.

When did China surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest trading nation?

  • 17% 2002
  • 13% 1990
  • 37% It hasn’t, the U.S. is still on top
  • 34% 2012
34% of respondents chose the correct answer: 2012.

China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s #1 trading nation in 2012, registering $4.16 trillion in trade. China has been the #1 exporter of goods since 2009.

What was the last year in which the U.S. exported more to the rest of the world than it imported?

  • 60% 1975
  • 6% 1890
  • 18% 2005
  • 17% 1995
60% of respondents chose the correct answer: 1975.

Since 1975, the U.S. trade gap has widened and contracted, but we have never had a trade surplus again. Due to rapid expansion of our economy, demand for imported goods has remained high.

Did you know?

  • The U.S. continues to import more, export less, and sell companies to foreign interests, limiting revenue and growth.

  • In U.S. dollars, the most expensive Big Mac on the planet can be found in Norway @ $7.76.

  • The U.S. imports almost $400 billion in oil annually, while it exports nearly $150 billion annually.

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