Poverty Inc by Michael Matheson Miller – Film Reaction Paper

Poverty Inc by Michael Matheson Miller

Poverty Inc . is a film that focuses on foreign aids and its effect on the economies of developing nations. According to the film, foreign aids are sent to struggling nations with intention of helping them. However, their situation does not change years after, or it has worsened. This means that other than helping them, offering foreign aids condemns people in developing nations to a lifetime of poverty, as it directly interferes with locals’ efforts to develop their economy, promotes laziness and wrong mentality.

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The film defines the global poverty industry that comprises governments, charities, NGOs, celebrities, multinational organizations or corporations, social entrepreneurs, and aid agencies. This industry focuses on helping the poor in developing nations. However, the current set up according to the film ends up benefiting those in the global poverty industry than the intended people. The film insinuates that this setup is deliberate since the complete elimination of poverty will set the global poverty industry out of business.

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A Reaction to the Film Poverty Inc by Michael Matheson Miller

Various incidences are illustrating how foreign aids propagate poverty in developing nations. The three selected incidences include rice aids in Haiti, the child adoption case in Haiti, and a high level of second-hand clothes in Kenya. The first incident illustrated in the film is the dumping of cheap rice in Haiti from the United States. Haiti was a rice-growing nation. Most farmers focused on rice farming as a form of economic empowerment. However, the U.S.A. aids brought free rice to Haitian people. This resulted in a lack of market for Haiti-grown rice. After the earthquake incident in 2010, rice importation from the United States did not stop.  The U.S. was imported at subsidized rates. This resulted in to increase in low price cost in the market, making it hard to sell local rice (YTminusTime 1). As a result, Haitian farmers stopped growing rice. This created a stop in their economic activity, creating unemployment and death in the rice farming in the country. Majority of farmers migrated to urban areas to look for jobs, increasing the number of slum dwellers, and the unemployed population. Instead of aids helping in fighting poverty, they interfered with individual economic growth and general economic wellbeing in the country. Although cheap rice resulted in low spending on food, it killed local agricultural industry slowing down the economy.  It also made farmers poorer by leaving them with nothing to do with their swampy land and without any source of income. It also interfered with the country’s economic growth. A country is said to experience economic growth by exporting more than importing. When a country imports what it can produce and maybe even export, then it creates a trade imbalance, making it poorer. 

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In the child adoption case, an American couple traveled to Haiti hoping to adopt a child. They later realized that there were so many kids who needed help, and hence they opted to create an orphanage. In their process of running the orphanage, they realized that majority of kids in the orphanage had one or both parents, who loved them and visited frequently. They were in an orphanage only to escape poverty and not to lack parental love. The couple realized that the adoption system involved children loved by parents but without means of survival (YTminusTime 1). They realized that those offering adoption for those kids were relieving parents from their parental duty and denying children parental love. This would result in broken families by the separation of kids from their parents who loved them. The availability of foster families made parents ready to neglect their duties and to give kids they loved away. This created a scenario where aids promote laziness and the wrong mentality of perceiving circumstantial poverty as a lifetime situation. Parents were ready to give children a way to escape poverty, rather than trying to figure out how to earn to raise them. Aids made them close their mind and take the easiest way out, resulting in a broken society, with a lost future.

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The increase in second-hand clothes in Kenya has resulted in the death of cotton farming and the textile industry in Kenya. Kenya experienced dumping with second-hand clothes that are way cheaper than the locally manufactured ones (YTminusTime 1). Consequently, there was an end of cotton farming in the country and a downsizing of the textile industry in the country. This resulted in job loss in cotton farming, leaving farmers jobless or with unprofitable agricultural products to grow due to climate and soil type. There was also job loss in the textile industry. The government also lost a source of taxation and a chance for experiencing industrialization in the country. All this promoted poverty in the country. People lost the desire to invest their skills, mind, and hope in the textile industry due to a lack of market for their products. The fear of dumping and the death of industry makes it hard for people to invest in the local industry, promoting a poverty mentality, and slow economic growth.

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The films gave a clear picture of the effect of excessive aids, especially where not needed. Rather than dumping finished goods in developing nations, the film advocate for improving people’s productivity in various areas. The film has made me realize how wrong I was about aids given in developing nations. Africa and other developing nations have enough natural resources to facilitate their growth. However, they lack the necessary support needed to exploit these resources for the economic good of their countries and themselves. However, developed nations deny them a chance to try or improve by bringing cheap or free products, destroying their market, promoting laziness and poverty mentality. The film has made change my mentality about aids. I have realized that aids are not always meant for helping the targeted party. With the global poverty industry, the provider of the aids seems to be benefiting more than those intended to receive the aids, and that is why they are not ready to stop. They are also not willing to bring aids that can aid in enhancing means of production. Normally, people become innovative when they have problems they must solve. Aids eliminate the need to solve any problem, making their receiver appear dump and without focus. Although it is okay to help during crises, those offering aids should know when to stop and give locals a chance to solve their problems. This is the only way they can grow.

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