Re: the documentary “Poverty Inc.”

First off, I really enjoyed the film. I was introduced to an entirely new paradigm with regards to foreign aid and the developing world more broadly. The idea that institutions must be set-up to allow people in developing countries to thrive on their own seems like a terrific idea. One issue that was introduced in the film, but that was not fleshed out entirely, was: How are these institutions created? For instance, if there are nebulous legal structures within a given developing country, how do people go about correcting this? Could NGOs or certain interested parties lobby for legal reforms? How would this work?

Before the emergence of any¬†burgeoning economy, there must be legal mechanisms in place to protect things like private property. As such, if a country’s laws are not conducive to such protections, then where do we start? This seems like an extremely tall task, does it not?

Also, I wonder where the director of the film comes down on aid for things like health care. Were people interviewed in the film advocating for an end to aid altogether, outside of the disaster relief context?

These were just a few thoughts/questions that I had re: the film.

-Robert Cave


One thought on “Re: the documentary “Poverty Inc.”

  1. Robert,

    I shared many of the same questions as you regarding NGO’s, and in particular what types of aid the director would consider to be beneficial to development rather than a deterrent to it. Interestingly I found a list of NGO’s that offer to help finance projects for development rather than hand out goods for free: I wonder if the director would approve of these NGO’s or if they too would be considered to bring more harm than help to developing nations.