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The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of development, giving rise to a vast multi-billion dollar poverty industry — the business of doing good has never been better.
Yet the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and leaders in the developing world are growing increasingly vocal in calling for change.
Drawing from over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, Poverty, Inc. unearths an uncomfortable side of charity we can no longer ignore.
From TOMs Shoes to international adoptions, from solar panels to U.S. agricultural subsidies, the film challenges each of us to ask the tough question: Could I be part of the problem?
Spoken languages English and Spanish (dubbed), subtitles in English and Spanish
"This documentary will be required viewing for our entire team." - Philip Sansone, Whole Planet Foundation
"Moving. I confess there were parts where I cried." — Russ Roberts, EconTalk
"I will definitely operate differently in the field." — Myra Khan, Pakistan | World Bank
"Compulsory viewing for anyone interested in social issues." — Rathna Ramamurthi, India | Harvard Law School
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I use both Poverty Cure and now Poverty Inc, in my university economics courses. It give students a context they would never receive from lectures, texts and homework assignments. It encourages them to do excellent work in their studies as they now can see that the course material really matters, and getting economics wrong truly impacts living souls for the negative. It inspires them to think bigger, to think beyond themselves and to think how they too might make a difference in the world.
I can't help but think it will have the same effect on you!
Note: I'm not a paid endorser ... I purchased my copies at full retail using my personal funds. I have no association with the folks that produce this material other than a great respect for their work.
People need to be better informed so we can understand our contribution to the problem and correct it. If you are really interested in helping people and/or being more informed, watch this.
I didn't see much here that I didn't already know, but found the presentation of the information to be done in a sophisticated and appealing manner.
Milton Friedman, the 1976 Nobel Laureate in economics, said that soft hearts when coupled with soft heads and with the best intentions frequently lead to harmful unintended consequences. Tibetan Buddhists have another blunter name for this behavior, “idiot compassion.” What our team has come to realize through experience is that good intentions are not enough and that rigorous, objective monitoring and reviewing of development initiatives are needed to weed out those activities that don’t help and often harm. This is hard to do when one’s livelihood may depend on the continuation of these activities, as it does for many in the international development industry.
Drawing from over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, Poverty, Inc. unearths an uncomfortable side of international charity we can no longer ignore. The film stems from a larger initiative focused on unlocking the creative potential of the person as the key to human thriving vs. outright charity handouts.
Too often, the world’s attention seems to stop at good intentions. Without looking deeper, many remain unaware of the harm governments or well-meaning non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can do with funds that are gladly turned over to development professionals whose programs can ultimately wreak havoc on developing countries. One such country spotlighted in the film, Haiti, is derisively known within the development community as the Republic of NGOs. No one really know how many NGOs operate there, but the number is certainly in the thousands. But what is certain is that little actual development has occurred through these NGOs since the devastating 2010 earthquake, but the pretentions go on and on and on, as do the development jobs in Haiti.
Nevertheless, not all NGOs are inefficient and we certainly shouldn’t disregard the great work some are capable of doing, but monitoring and evaluation of their activities is absolutely necessary. There are many excellent examples of NGOs doing great things to alleviate poverty around the world, including Fonkoze in Haiti, who now serves over 60,000 entrepreneurs. CASHPOR from Varanasi, India is another outstanding NGO who focuses on the poorest of the poor by providing small business loans that have no asset seizure for nonpayment, while also providing assistance in healthcare, sanitation and business management counseling. The same can be said for the work One Acre Fund is doing in Africa assisting subsistence farmers to double their yields or more by using proven intensive farming techniques, tools and seeds. Pro Mujer in Latin America is doing substantial microfinance work in many countries. And BRAC from Bangladesh, another excellent microfinance organization, has branched out into several African and other Asian countries with great results.
The film Poverty, Inc. clearly, adroitly and articulately lays bare the real economic development industry that is ostensibly charged with ending poverty. In truth, international development aid, called “dead aid” by Zambian global economist Dambisa Moyo, is often at best ineffective, and at its worst, a swindle that is now known widely as poverty inc., a lucrative multibillion-dollar enterprise benefiting many except the poor that it claims to help.