The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of the development narrative. But the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and developing world leaders have become increasingly vocal in calling for change. Drawing on perspectives gathered from over 150 interviews shot over 4 years in 20 countries, Poverty, Inc. explores the hidden side of doing good. From disaster relief to TOMs Shoes, from adoptions to agricultural subsidies, Poverty, Inc. follows the butterfly effect of our most well-intentioned efforts and pulls back the curtain on the poverty industrial complex – the multi-billion dollar market of NGOs, multilateral agencies, and for-profit aid contractors. Are we catalyzing development or are we propagating a system in which the poor stay poor while the rich get hipper?
User Reviews: The thrust behind this film might seem counter-intuitive. The film contends that all the well-intentioned aid coming from the First World to the Third World is actually NOT helping all that much. It instead has a tendency to keep folks poor and dependent on aid and may actually undermine domestic industries. While this sounds crazy, the film does a good job of explaining…using the analogy of giving a man a fish OR just giving him a fishing rod and letting him then help himself. So, by giving money to countless agencies and allowing dictators to control the donations (only 16 of 54 African nations have democratic elections), it keeps the dictators in power and inhibits local farmers and businesses. Instead of me trying to convince you by saying more…just watch the film for yourself.
Overall, the film is well made and offers many interviews with folks who work in various aid agencies, live and work in the developing world. It also has nice graphics and a nice professional look. And, I have a hard time understanding why governments and aid groups keep doing the same old thing again and again…somehow hoping THIS time it will all somehow work!