Reblog: ‘Poverty, Inc.’: The Global Poverty Industry

This first appeared on Compassion Internationals Blog on Aug 21, 2015. It’s well worth the reblog today.

The room was packed, occupied by some of the most inspiring Christian leaders I’ve met from across the continent of Africa. I began my afternoon presentation in Ethiopia with a movie trailer for a new documentary, Poverty, Inc., that seeks to reveal some of the pitfalls of the global aid system.

At one point in the movie trailer, an entrepreneur in Haiti states, “No one wants to be a beggar for life.” The room immediately erupted in applause! I knew at that moment this documentary would be important in the dialogue of how we partner with the church for children in poverty.

Poverty, Inc. is a project by PovertyCure and Acton Institute, and was directed and produced by Michael Matheson Miller.

In early 2015, Compassion invited Miller and his colleagues Jonathan Moody, Managing Director of PovertyCure, and Simon Scionka, director of photography for Poverty, Inc., to provide an early screening of the movie and to engage Compassion in a conversation about what they’ve learned and what it means for Compassion.

The film provides a critique of the system of aid that began as a response to the global needs following World War II, and shows how those same financial solutions are often misapplied to a wide variety of holistic problems facing the evolving global economy.

Poverty, Inc. asks the probing question, “Could I be part of the problem?”

The documentary cites the impact of food tariffs and subsidies between USA-based rice producers and Haiti that have undermined local food production and ruined aspects of the Haitian economy. Subsidized rice from the USA has become so cheap that it now dominates the diet and has supplanted other indigenous foods.

Other examples of aid that can do more harm than good include: mass clothing donations to Africa, one-for-one giving models that are not locally sourced, and solar power hardware donations.

Poverty, Inc. labels this system of aid “the global poverty industry,” and it distributed over $134 billion (USD) in official development assistance in 2013 alone.

The main players in this industry, according to the documentary, include the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. From these organizations, foreign aid flows directly between countries and is also routed through a complex web of grants to NGOs, consultants, and multi-national corporations.

So what’s the film’s answer to this powerful system that continues to promote solutions that seem to be keeping people in poverty instead of releasing them from it?

Read more on Compassion International’s Blog.


I thought this was the perfect reblog for today’s Compassion Wednesday post and my 1 year Blogging Anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been a year already. Lots of stories told, lots more to tell. Thanks for your continued encouragement and support. You are the best.


I would love to discuss this story and more with you. You can Contact me through email, or Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Don’t forget to sign-up for my monthly Newsletter to keep up to date with all that’s going on. When you sign up now, you get my two Scifi short stories as a gift!

3 thoughts on “Reblog: ‘Poverty, Inc.’: The Global Poverty Industry

  1. Very interesting, Russell. It’s amazing how complex the systems are and how good intentions, if not sustainable by the local population, can actually entrench poverty. There are some organizations that understand that the way out of poverty is to provide communities with the resources to improve their own lives, and then there are organizations who unwittingly create long-term dependency. Lots to think about here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed it is. Sometimes, it can be a bit overwhelming to try and make sure what you do to help isn’t actually hurting. That’s why it’s always good to educate yourself on the organizations you choose to support. And, sometimes it is better to support organizations that have established the necessary means than to try and go in and do it yourself. Sometimes. There are always times when you need to go in and get your hands dirty as well, just make sure your not going in with the Superman mentality, but with the idea of walking beside those you help. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to D. Wallace Peach Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s