Poverty Inc. is set against the backdrop of the Haitian earthquake of 12th January, 2010; after which aid agencies, governments, NGOs and social entrepreneurs made a lot of donations in cash and kind to help the victims of the disaster. In the end, it turned out that the aid crippled the prices of locally produced goods as it happens whenever and wherever foreign aid is made the mainstay of the survival for victims of natural or man-made disasters.
Timothy Schwatz, a Haitian writer and researcher; Andrea Widmer, co-founder, Seven Fund, and author, The Pope and The CEO; Joel Salatin, a US farmer; Kenneth Michel, CEO dloHaiti; Theodore Dalrymple, author/psychologist; Herman Chinery-Herse, Founder BSL Ghana; Alex George, co-founder, Enersa and a host of others, who grant interviews in the documentary, give insight as to how foreign aid under-develops and impoverishes a people. The point is resoundingly made that it is trade, innovation and business that develop countries; no nation has ever developed on aid.
Aid, it is said, has given birth to the global poverty industry. As one of the interviewees proclaims, ‘the earthquake became a short-term natural disaster that turned into a long-term unnatural disaster. Another interviewee declares that there were more than 10,000 NGOs in the Haiti, following the earthquake; more NGOs per capita than anywhere in the world. It was also pointed out that charity has become an unfashionable word that has now been replaced with social entrepreneurship.
In the end, Poverty Inc. advocates that instead of giving a poor population fish, the people should be taught how to fish. Michael Millet’s is extolled for a well-researched story, which is told captivatingly.