Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The historical origins of global poverty

Why does poverty exist? Why are some nations rich and others poor? What are the historical origins of debt and inequality? Does wealth "trickle down"? Does foreign aid help poor countries?

My wife and I watched this excellent documentary. Although it is called "The end of poverty" I think a more appropriate title would be "This historical origins of global poverty" and does not really discuss how to solve the problems. It is also not to be confused with Jeffrey Sachs book of the same title, which focuses more on practical solutions.
It is quite disturbing.


  1. Before I watch it I will comment as someone who has studied these things . Just to make it simple ( cause the rural past drives us to today ) a better future ( recognising that city /rural is a divide ) is only possible if we STOP treating ALL ecomonic development as a clone of industrial development ( cities). Our cities are wealthy and the poverty is on the edge of them . Use of the earth ( as a sensitive and weather dependant organ) requires us to treat it an economic special case. If we allow diversity in ecomia we will see a way to avoid the intransigency ( poverty and exploitation ) that must result from treating" the organ" like we do concrete and steel ". The reason we have seen so little progress in our generation on poverty is because we refuse to put the monolith model of industrial economic progress aside -for even a moment !
    So what does the film say?

  2. Watched 50 minutes . As expected the film gets lost in a whole lot of half baked evaluations , fasle demons and therefore , quite rationally, does not provide a clear way forward .Its not economically or ecologically tight so it repeats the old stuff (inc blame games )we should have sorted by now This sort of simplicity suits the middle class to assent to while they share coffee ; Blame the rich .Sure the colonisation process set a tragic and ongoing frame for rural economies ongoing poverty. The point is its not just one group ( the rich ) who perpetauated this but a range of people who thought ( the problem is still how we see eco development!) industrial progress brought nothing but progress ( iam saying celebrate industrial progress just don't try and apply it to everything !) . Marx tried to unpick what was wrong better than this quickfixhunt for the causes. so many lines of misplaced love for a world that noone should have to live in today ( self sufficient agriculture ) And over use of the word " destroyed " (good cultural elements come back bigger and better after a prune) As good theology teaches when we are there on the road we find diversity of economic drivers and by being there we can actually sort them - not stamp our solutions on them ( no final solutions for we have the poor always with us !)

  3. As for the trickle down thing – no it’s not acceptable to assume at all. –if it works its weak. But neither is the nonsense perpetrated in the film that a return to “the natural economy destroyed by colonisation” would help them out of poverty – it never would or will . Things work because we plan them to work. We have made mistakes – we need to know exactly which components of the western machine aren’t working in their area . Christians need to avoid the sort of do nothing naturalistic deterministic hope that effectively traps and leaves people in poverty or offers them handouts and dependency from the rich – look around you at the poverty the west is now creating in its own backyard – because of how it “blames the other “ . We can’t create hope it’s a triad . Faith in Love provides hope. bless you mate