HLGU had the privilege of hosting the director of the movie Poverty, INC, Michael Matheson Miller, for a movie showing on Monday night and a lecture on Tuesday night. While in Hannibal, Miller sat in on a few classes and also hosted a question-and-answer session after both the movie and the lecture.
The movie discusses the role of politics, the church, and poverty in other countries. Much of the premise of the movie is that foreign aid not only does not help poor countries, it often makes their situations worse. Local businesses cannot compete with the free products that are brought in by relief organizations. Ultimately, Miller says that the best thing for the economy of the countries is for local businesses to function at peak capacity. In the movie, someone says that “no country ever received so much aid that they became a first world country.”
Many third world countries have orphanages that have a lot of children, but very few orphans. This situation exists because, while the parents want to care for their children, they believe that it is better for the child to be separated from them and the poor life that they are leading. Miller’s movie then shows the difference if the money that had been given to the orphanage had instead gone to create a local business. There are many companies in countries like Haiti that employ parents to make bracelets. This allows the parents to keep their children and lift themselves out of poverty. In addition to lifting their financial status, their self esteem improves drastically.
Poverty, was created through the work of the Acton Institute. Per their website, The Acton Institute is a think-tank whose mission is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.
- Tyler Byars / February 2018 / HLGU Vanguard