Here is a series of documentaries which were a real eye-opener for me. I have often wondered why some countries have economies that seemingly have explosive growth and others remain in a state of permanent stagnation. Sometimes the answer is obvious. I can see that a region which is in a state brutal civil war is unlikely to develop economically. But what of those countries that are peaceful, why do some remain poor - is it simply a case that we in the developed world need to dig deeper and give more? The answer, it seems is no. Poverty, Inc gives an alternative viewpoint.
If ever there was field in which people have been measured by their intentions rather than results, it seems, it is in the efforts to eradicate poverty in the developing world. The intentions of people who give development aid are often noble, but the effects have been mixed at best, and in some cases disastrous.
Some of the problem is corruption and the fact that there are unscrupulous people around who pocket the money so that much of it never gets to where it is intended for. But it runs much deeper than that. It seems that problems are intrinsic to the whole system of aid that the West has created and there are terrible unintended consequences for the very people whom we want to help. Even if all involved are honest and diligent, the nature of the projects that the money is actually spent on is such that when you examine the effectiveness, they actually keep people in poverty. Whether it is intended or not, the people who really benefit most are those who are involved in the multi-billion dollar development business. As a result, leaders in the developing world are growing increasingly vocal in calling for change.
Here is a video, now available on Amazon and iTunes, which examines this problems and comes up with answers. 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 is challenging and certainly made me wonder if I am part of the problem too? The evidence seems to suggest that the most effective answers are rooted in the cultural backdrop of faith and family from which the entrepreneurial drive can flourish.