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End of Poverty

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Christensen, William Easterly, Susan George, Chalmers Johnson, Alvaro García Lineras
  • Directors: Philippe Diaz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Cinema Libre
  • DVD Release Date: April 27, 2010
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0036WK57C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,198 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "End of Poverty" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The End of Poverty? is a daring, thought-provoking and very timely documentary by award-winning filmmaker, Philippe Diaz, revealing that poverty is not an accident. It began with military conquest, slavery and colonization that resulted in the seizure of land and other natural resources as well as in forced labor. Today, global poverty has reached new levels because of unfair debt, trade and tax policies -- in other words, wealthy countries exploiting the weaknesses of poor, developing countries The End of Poverty? asks why today 20% of the planet s population uses 80% of its resources and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate? Can we really end poverty under our current economic system? Think again. Filmed in the slums of Africa and the barrios of Latin America, The End of Poverty? features expert insights from: Nobel prize winners in Economics, Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz; acclaimed authors Susan George, Eric Toussaint, John Perkins, Chalmers Johnson; university professors William Easterly and Michael Watts; government ministers such as Bolivia's Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and the leaders of social movements in Brazil, Venezuela, Kenya and Tanzania . It is produced by Cinema Libre Studio in collaboration with the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.


A sort of 'An Inconvenient Truth' for global economics…a powerful description of how Western policies since colonialism have subjugated Third World countries. --Charles Masters, The Hollywood Reporter

It's become conventional to blame the culture and climate of poor countries and poor people, at least in part, for their own plight, as if corrupt dictatorships, ethnic warfare and raw-material economies were somehow intrinsic to Africa and Latin America..Diaz's film argues that all those things were the result of a lengthy historical process. Africa's dysfunctional and often anti-democratic regimes definitely aren't helping matters, for example, but they themselves -- along with the dire poverty they can't manage -- were produced by the European and North American powers' relationship to the global South, from 16th-century colonization right through 21st-century globalization. What's most profound, and also most controversial, in this analysis is the question of how much this pattern of exploitation continues today. --Andrew O Hehir, Salon.com

A fascinating history lesson showing that the world's wealth disparity began with the Europeans' military conquest of other continents, enslavement of indigenous people and colonization that resulted in the seizure of land, minerals and other resources, and forced labor, and that it continues today due to the existence and enforcement of unfair debt, trade and tax policies. --Jennifer Merin, About.com

Customer Reviews

So too for slavery and exploitation of foreign lands.
This is what's so depressing (everything the film addresses), but with education comes knowledge, with knowledge comes power.
It's all about the big corporations making money and keeping the people in debt.
S. Warfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Wyneth C. Achenbaum on February 23, 2010
Format: DVD
This film presents a challenge to the much-discussed ideas of Jeffrey Sachs. It shows that many of the causes of poverty are structural, not rooted in inadequacies of the individuals who live in poverty.

Unless we change the structures which create poverty, the efforts of many well-intended people to relieve the effects of poverty will not bring the end of poverty.

Henry George wrote about "the robber who takes all that is left" -- "Labor may be likened to a man who as he carries home his earnings is waylaid by a series of robbers. One demands this much, and another that much, but last of all stands one who demands all that is left, save just enough to enable the victim to maintain life and come forth next day to work. So long as this last robber remains, what will it benefit such a man to drive off any or all of the other robbers?" (Source: Protection or Free Trade)

Most of the efforts to reduce or end poverty do not attack the structures which create it; they are merely attempts to injure or remove one or another of those intermediate robbers: lack of drinking water; mosquitoes-borne illnesses; lack of educational opportunity; lack of capital, etc.

We ought to be seeking the source of the problem. This film is a start in that direction; it looks at structures. It is a good start. I encourage you to seek out the film's companion book Why Global Poverty?: A Companion Guide to the Film "The End of Poverty?" and two related websites: [...] and [...] for more that will illuminate the structural issues.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. L LaRegina on May 21, 2010
Format: DVD
Director Philippe Diaz's documentary THE END OF POVERTY? reminds us without poverty - that is, poor people the wealthy rob and enslave - those who enjoyed great affluence these past 500 years would have had to cut their own grass. In the fifteenth century, armies of the rich merely conquered foreign nations in order to plunder their resources and cart off slaves. But in modern times, the film explains, through organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank the moneyed interests pillage by indebting countries in Africa, South America, and anywhere else they can get away with it.

Hence, today twenty percent of the world's population uses eighty percent of resources. The people of nations on the short end of that equation see starvation and disease kill 20,000 of their children every day.

Maybe I missed the explanation for calling this documentary THE END OF POVERTY?, but it strikes me as someone from the World Bank recoiling at the thought of actually making sure every human being has food, water, health care, and a decent home. "The end of poverty? Then what would we do to remain wealthy?"

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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By C. on May 30, 2010
Format: DVD
I knew some of this but for the most part was blown away. It is astounding. I will think about this movie and what I have learned from it for a LONG time. I will feel guilty for complaining about anything knowing my conveniences come at quite a price.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nate Van Schaik on January 31, 2011
Format: DVD
Framing the root causes of poverty in an economic perspective can perhaps help these humanitarian groups and others to isolate and dismantle these destructive causes in an effort to alleviate the suffering of today's poor. In his documentary The End of Poverty?, Philippe Diaz provides just that. The film is bold in its criticism of accepted economic theory and practice. Mainstream critics, as a result, dutifully attack it on precarious grounds. New York Times film critic Neil Genzlinger dubbed Diaz's movie as a "guilt trip/history lesson" filled with "naïve" academics and public figures from all over the globe. Tyler Cowen, writing for the foreign policy magazine The American Interest, states that "the movie is blind to the world we actually live in," and then suggests that Ayn Rand had it right after all. And Peter Rainer, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, adds that the movie fails because "the talking heads in `The End of Poverty?' don't offer much." This sort of highbrow labeling is understandable and to be expected among intellectuals who consider themselves the guardians of capitalism. That's because Diaz's film, released in the States in November of 2009, is a punch in the teeth to capitalism. Offering solutions--and the movie, incidentally, makes plenty which the critics fail to recognize--is not Diaz's purpose for making the film. "Ultimately," Diaz said in the director's statement on the movie's website, "the goal of the film was to change the dialogue around the poverty debate from `poverty is a shame,' to `poverty exists for a reason'" (Diaz).Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Roland E. Zwick on January 20, 2011
Format: DVD
I'm not really sure why those who made "The End of Poverty?" felt compelled to include a question mark in their title, since around 90% of the movie is devoted to defining the problem and only about 10% to offering solutions.

For much of the movie, director Philippe Diaz and narrator Martin Sheen keep hitting us with a litany of shocking and depressing statistics: that over 9,000,000 people die of starvation each year, that millions around the world earn less than a dollar a day, and that 60 to 80 million people work for nothing but room and board, making them virtual slaves in a 21st Century world. And that`s just for starters. And just as you're about ready to throw in the towel and declare there's no hope for the world, the interviewees begin exploring possible answers (a fairer tax structure, returning land ownership to indigenous peoples, etc.), but it still seems an insurmountable task overall.

On an instructional level, the movie traces the roots of modern poverty to the colonial era that began with the discovery of America, when countries - and now mega-corporations with no moral compass beyond the bottom-line - could exploit someone else's resources and amass huge stores of wealth at the expense of the lower classes. And that doesn't even include the robbing of the culture and the feeling of self-worth from the original inhabitants of these lands.

Diaz shows how the "haves" in the Northern Hemisphere have built and continue to build their fortunes primarily on the backs of the "have-nots" in the Southern Hemisphere. He interviews both economic theoreticians and common folk struggling for survival in both South America and Africa to drive home his point.
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