The End of Poverty

The End Of Poverty is a new documentary release directed by the brilliant Philippe Diaz. Imagine listening to politicians, economists, and leading experts in the world, along with the voices of people living in poverty. This movie is the first of it’s kind.

The End of Poverty asks why today 20% of the planet’s population uses 80% of its resources, and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate? Today, global poverty has reached new levels because of unfair debt, trade and tax policies — in other words, wealthy countries exploiting the weaknesses of poor, developing countries.

The film premiered in NYC this past weekend at Village East Cinema, sold out some show times, and had better box office numbers than every other film playing at the Village East including Disney’s ‘A Christmas Carol’. Unfortunately because a lot of the Hollywood blockbuster’s are coming out this weekend, ‘The End of Poverty?’ will only be playing in New York for one week (ends on Thursday), so make sure to check it out and tell all your friends in NYC.

November 18th 2009 there will be a benefit preview screening in Los Angeles for Office of the Americas. A panel discussion with the director, Philippe Diaz, the founder of OOA Blase Bonpane, and philanthropist Aris Anagnos will follow the screening. Everyone will receive a free gift bag. Tickets are still on sale. Go here for more information:

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The information I share below is from Film Review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

• The richest 1% of the world’s population owns 32 % of the wealth.
• Today more than one billion people live in the slums of the Southern hemisphere.
• Almost 1/3 of the world’s population has no access to affordable clean water.
• Almost 16,000 children die each day from hunger or hunger- related diseases.
• Cutting global poverty in half would cost $20 billion, less than 4% of the U.S. military budget.

Systems that create poverty have been in place since 1492 when the Spanish and the Portuguese conquered the Americas; indigenous people were killed in mass murders, mineral wealth was plundered, local economies were destroyed, and a plantation culture was established. Although the institution of slavery was abolished in the 19th century, it still exists around the world where at least 80 million people are forced to labor in terrible conditions for very little money. The filmmaker interviews poor workers who complain about being treated like slaves, abused and humiliated, and always forced to live with no security or hope for a better life.

The economic damages wrought by colonialists, with an assist from Christian missionaries, stemmed from a series of power plays that encouraged the private ownership of land, the destruction of the communal way of life, the promotion of individualism, and the stamping out of indigenous cultures. All of these developments solidified the enormous gap between the rich and the poor.

Capitalism with its emphasis on greed, profit, and political wheeling and dealing has further widened the abyss between the haves and the have-nots. Under the aegis of neoliberalism, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have subjugated poor nations — especially in Africa — with the burdens of international debt and economies based on raw-material exports. Two scary stories illustrate the structural violence of neoliberal polices. One is the privatization of the water supply under Bechtel (which was overturned by the angry response of the poor who could not afford it) and the injustices perpetrated on poor Africans who cannot pay for hospitals and schools.

The voices of those who have suffered set alongside the consensus of the experts bears witness to the deprivations heaped upon Southern peoples by the nations of the North who have accumulated more than 80% of the world’s resources for only 20% of the world’s population.

French filmmaker Philippe Diaz discusses his latest gem, The End of Poverty? about the systemic causes of poverty, what is terribly wrong with our system of global capitalism and its control of Western foreign policy. Interview by Jim Dingeman.