Poverty, Inc.

The documentary Poverty, Inc. introduces the audience to the drawbacks of foreign aid provided to poor nations.

The points made in the film include the following:

  • Cheap or donated goods from Westernized countries compete with businesses that exist (or attempt to exist) in aid-receiving countries. As said in the doc, “It’s difficult to compete with free.”
  • Donation recipients become dependent on them, providing little incentive to break out of such a system.
  • Donating countries attach conditions on their aid: Poor country governments are forced to purchase x from a donating nation in return for aid. This, again, disrupts the local economy as the government then does not buy from local businesses.

While Poverty, Inc. does a good job explaining the consequences of foreign aid, the structure of the film seems a bit all over the place. The scenes jut from fancy graphics and music to boring dry spells. Some scenes, definitely, could have been left out of the film.

The best part: the ‘cutting up’ of poverty-activist Bono.

It’s worth being introduced to the ideas they’re conveying, but it could have been done much better: 3/5.


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