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"The End of Poverty?" movie

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fegeldolfy Posted: Sat, Oct 13 2012 8:39 PM

Has anyone seen this? Someone wrote a letter to my school newspaper mentioning it, and, of course, mentioned "unregulated capitalism" or something like that as the culprit.

 

http://www.theendofpoverty.com/

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I haven't watched the movie but the "solutions" on the website are bad.

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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Oct 13 2012 9:51 PM

Well first I'd note that one of the quotes that they have running on their main page states that poverty is not natural, rather manmade. This is correct insofar as the concept of poverty is made by men, as is the state. The former by the manmade existence of something called abundance, and the latter by the fact that humans are alive in the first place. This is to say that it's only through capitalism that there is a state which is not poverty, through a mixture of the fact that not everyone experiences dire scarcity, and that those who would be worse off are still able to live at all.

Yeah, let's look at their solutions:

"First, forgive international debt unconditionally and stop other predatory tactics. End the use of economic power as a means by which the wealthy control the poor."

There is some truth that there are "Predatory" practices, but often these are accepted by the poor governments, and not the poeple to begin with. Investment is needed in poor countries above all else, and if you repudiate all of their debts that is exactly what they won't get. This could either entirely stop improvements in living conditions in these places, or it could put back development by a century.

"Second, change the tax system in every country of the world.  If justice is to be done, most of the taxes should fall on property ownership and not on the wages of working people."

How the hell would this change what we call "poverty"? Taxes should be lowered on wages, and this would be good and increase employment and wages, but property taxation is not the answer because of what this does to the structure of production, distorts it and makes investment less valuable.

"Third, the poor should demand land reform, restoring land (or its value) to the people who actually work on it, instead of a few landowners."

This would take land away from those who can best utilize it, decrease output, and thereby increase scarcity.

"Fourth, end privatization of natural resources and share these in common.  Land, air, water, and oil are the common inheritance of all of humanity, not the stockholders of companies that have managed to grab these resources."

Now, first of all none of the things listed above, besides oil, are usually treated as "natural resources". Second, publically owning resources is an amazing way to ensure they're depleted or destroyed because when no one individual or even group of individuals really owns something, the less value it has to them.

"Fifth, "degrowth" in the rich nations--a radical cut in consumption of resources and production of waste--is necessary for the poor nations to survive.  As Gandhi said, "Live simply, so others can simply live."

Now I don't understand how production of waste IN makes people in the third world worse off, but more importantly they are suggesting that the way to make the third world richer is to make everyone else poorer... This could actually work in a way, because the prices for all existing resources would fall dramatically, and therefore it would be a lot cheaper for these places to buy resources under MOST situations... So you know what, this one would work, but you'd be making one group of people much worse off.

So basically the economics here are atrocious, like repulsively awful, there's no logic behind half of this, and what's ridiculous is that it doesn't actually address scarcity at all or even really distribution of income.... They're idiots who don't know what they're talking about.

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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Groucho replied on Sat, Oct 13 2012 9:53 PM

"Poverty is not a natural state. It is man-made."

Ha ha ha ha ha. Maybe they think the natural state of man is a clean shave, haircut, and french cologne.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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fegeldolfy replied on Sat, Oct 13 2012 11:20 PM

Here's the letter that was in my school newspaper:

 

         Dear Editors,

Many people around the world over look the advantages of political education, creating a vacuum of politcal knowledge in society. When this happens, it makes a little bit of interesting political knowledge affect people so dramaticaally. The point of this is to tell the common Ballard HS students the disturbing facts about unchecked capitalism and it's involvement in modern imperialism.

I'll first start by mentioning a political documentary called "The End of Poverty?" It basically explains the history of Capitalism and it's connection with 3rd world poverty and other international issues. And now, let's compare it to "Kony 2012."

Now think about the most disturbing and widely documented facts from "Kony 2012": At Kony's greatest power, he had 300,000 child soldiers and sex slaves total. Kony might be "The Worst" (still not comparable to Hitler), but one "resistance" leader can only do so much damage to the World. There is no controversy if we should arrest Kony, only about how much we should be involved and how much we should care. The documentary does give an "activism message" to spread the message as much as possible by blogs, posters and raw speech. All of this is expressed in only 30 minutes.

"The End of Poverty?" documentary is made up of interviews with historians and economists, interviews with natives of 3rd world countires and pumped with many other facts and statistics. The most disturbing facts I heard was Europe's and America's involvement in modern imperialism for economic reasons. The CIA has removed or assassinated democratically elected Presidents of small countries, usually in Latin America. However in the 1960s, the CIA staged a coup on the President of Iraq, leading to his execution on live TV, mainly for oil/money.The President was replaced with Saddam Hussein as dictator. Saddam Hussein was also removed and executed for oil/money reasons and this was followed by a 7.5 year military operation of Iraq. There would probably be plenty of controversy over this documentary if it became as famous as the Kony documentary, because it's putting the blame of a large portion of the world's poverty and atrocities on capitalism being backed by the US government. 

"The End of Poverty" is available to watch for free on Hulu and Youtube. I can gurantee that you will be wondering what to do about the problems that you learned in the documentary, but that is up to you to decide.

 

Any advice on writing a refutation?

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Groucho replied on Sat, Oct 13 2012 11:36 PM

"Any advice on writing a refutation?"

Yes - first determine if the letter actually made any definable arguments.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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fegeldolfy replied on Sat, Oct 13 2012 11:52 PM

Well okay...

unchecked capitalism=imperialism

capitalism is the cause of the world's problems

 

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Groucho replied on Sun, Oct 14 2012 12:51 AM

Excellent! Now list the evidence it gives for those arguments. This is usually the easiest way to decide if something is an argument or just a series of assertions or insinuations.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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Well...

He pretty much just says "watch The End of Poverty", so it's sort of an appeal to authority fallacy.

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Groucho replied on Sun, Oct 14 2012 8:31 PM

fegeldolfy:

Well...

He pretty much just says "watch The End of Poverty", so it's sort of an appeal to authority fallacy.

I think you've got enough to construct a very effective demolition of his "argument."

Good work!

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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True, but then again he did have a limit of 500 words, so I'd like to address arguments on their website.

 

I looked at the timeline part and it was all about governments granting monopoly privileges and stuff like that so that's a start.

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LVTfan replied on Sun, Oct 14 2012 9:41 PM

Check out two related websites -- povertythinkagain.com and whyglobalpoverty.com/.  

It is about ecosystem services, about non-renewable natural resources, about access to land, about colonies forced to export their raw materials as is, about monopolies of things like water being given to corporations.  

Each of these has tremendous value, and if that value is collected and recycled for the good of the community, the effect is very different from when private parties, particularly foreign entities, are permitted to treat all that value as if they created it and were entitled to privatize it.

Natural public revenue, or the enrichment of the few.  Which creates the better society, the better world?

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Groucho replied on Sun, Oct 14 2012 9:51 PM

LVTfan:

Check out two related websites -- povertythinkagain.com and whyglobalpoverty.com/.  

It is about ecosystem services, about non-renewable natural resources, about access to land, about colonies forced to export their raw materials as is, about monopolies of things like water being given to corporations.  

Each of these has tremendous value, and if that value is collected and recycled for the good of the community, the effect is very different from when private parties, particularly foreign entities, are permitted to treat all that value as if they created it and were entitled to privatize it.

None of which would be a problem were it not enabled by the state through force and the grant of monopoly privileges. To paraphrase Homer (Simpson): "Government; the cause and solution to all of life's problems" (Homer said "Beer").

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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