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The End of Poverty? (2008)

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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 299 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 20 critic

A phenomenal discourse on why poverty exists when there is so much wealth in the world. A must see for anyone wanting to understand not only the US economic system but the foundations of today's global economy.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Amartya Sen ...
Himself - Author & Nobel Prize Winner
John Perkins ...
Himself - Author & Economist
Eric Toussaint ...
Himself - Author & President of CADTM
Edgardo Lander ...
Himself - Professor & Historian
H.W.O. Okoth-Ogendo ...
Himself - Author & Law Professor
Miriam Campos ...
Herself - Ministry of Indigenous People, Bolivia
Mashengu wa Mwachofi ...
Himself - Former Parliamentarian, Kenya
Maria Luisa Mendoca ...
Herself - Rede Social President, Brazil
Jaime De Amorim ...
Himself - Coordintor, Landless People Movement Brazil
William Easterly ...
Himself - Author & Professor
Michael Watts ...
Himself - Author & Professor
Alvaro García Lineras ...
Himself - Vice-President, Bolivia
Nora Castaneda ...
Herself - Women's Bank President, Venezuela
Joao Pedro Stedile ...
Himself - Landless Movement Leader, Brazil


The End of Poverty? asks if the true causes of poverty today stem from a deliberate orchestration since colonial times which has evolved into our modern system whereby wealthy nations exploit the poor. People living and fighting against poverty answer condemning colonialism and its consequences; land grab, exploitation of natural resources, debt, free markets, demand for corporate profits and the evolution of an economic system in in which 25% of the world's population consumes 85% of its wealth. Featuring Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz, authors/activist Susan George, Eric Toussaint, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and more. Written by Beth Portello

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In a world where there is so much wealth, why is there still so much poverty?







| | |

Release Date:

16 December 2009 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Progress vs. Property  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,593 (USA) (13 November 2009)


$57,324 (USA) (19 March 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

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User Reviews

an important, if ultimately frustrating documentary
20 January 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm not really sure why those who made "The End of Poverty?" felt compelled to include a question mark in their title, since around 90% of the movie is devoted to defining the problem and only about 10% to offering solutions.

For much of the movie, director Philippe Diaz and narrator Martin Sheen keep hitting us with a litany of shocking and depressing statistics: that over 9,000,000 people die of starvation each year, that millions around the world earn less than a dollar a day, and that 60 to 80 million people work for nothing but room and board, making them virtual slaves in a 21st Century world. And that's just for starters. And just as you're about ready to throw in the towel and declare there's no hope for the world, the interviewees begin exploring possible answers (a fairer tax structure, returning land ownership to indigenous peoples, etc.), but it still seems an insurmountable task overall.

On an instructional level, the movie traces the roots of modern poverty to the colonial era that began with the discovery of America, when countries - and now mega-corporations with no moral compass beyond the bottom-line - could exploit someone else's resources and amass huge stores of wealth at the expense of the lower classes. And that doesn't even include the robbing of the culture and the feeling of self-worth from the indigenous peoples of these lands.

Diaz shows how the "haves" in the Northern Hemisphere have built and continue to build their fortunes primarily on the backs of the "have-nots" in the Southern Hemisphere. He interviews both economic theoreticians and common folk struggling for survival in both South America and Africa to drive home his point. He provides example upon example of how the policies of First World nations - neo-liberalism, unfettered free trade, multinational corporatism - have devastated the economies and peoples of the Third World.

It's a depressing experience sitting through this film, but the shards of hope it provides towards the end do provide some comfort. And you might even be inspired enough to rouse yourself off the sofa and work on doing something about the problem. Now, if only anyone knew what that solution was.

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