Film: The End of Poverty? – Fellowship of Humanity    

Film: The End of Poverty?

Posted by Humanist Hall on January 28, 2012as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,




Wednesday, February 22 at 7:30 pm

The End of Poverty?

by Philippe Diaz




This phenomenal documentary is breathtaking to watch, beautifully photographed with eloquent speakers — academics, activists, and poor workers. It may be the best exposition on economics in film. Everyone should see it to understand the history and intention behind our current economic debacle. The film turns inside out the global economic system, capitalism — tracing its roots 500 years back and following it up to the present — as one that causes, enables, and preserves poverty. Global poverty does not just happen. It began with military conquest, slavery, and colonization that resulted in the seizure of land, minerals, and forced labor. Today, the problem persists because of unfair debt, trade, and tax policies — in other words, wealthy countries taking advantage of poor, developing countries. The film explains how today’s financial crisis is a direct consequence of these unchallenged policies that have lasted centuries. Consider that 20% of the planet’s population uses 80% of its resources and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate. At this rate, to maintain our lifestyle means more and more people will sink below the poverty line.

The film should be understood in the context of dealing with two distinct historical periods: European colonialism and today’s repackaged form of neocolonialism in the guise of a “neoliberal” model based on so-called “free market” principles. The European empires were built on the riches stolen from the colonies and on cheap or fee labor provided by the slave. In Kenya, at the end of colonial times, the white 1% owned about 50% of the arable land. One of the legacies of colonialism has been that the poor countries of the third world export raw materials and the countries of Europe and North America produce and export finished products. This stems from a practice that was developed long ago and the intention was that the countries of the Third World would remain backwards and dependent and would never be able to develop. In the post World War II period, American economists conceived the “neoliberal” economic model which forced all economies to let the market govern everything. This, our chosen economic model has created a global situation in which today less than 25 percent of the world’s population uses more than 80 percent of the planet’s resources while creating 70 percent of its pollution. Can we really end poverty within our current economic system? Think again.














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