Official Selection in the Critics’ Week 2008, Cannes Film Festival, The End of Poverty Documentary is a must-watch for anyone. A well produced documentary takes an in depth look into poverty around the world, how it all started and why families and villages struggle on a daily basis to provide the bare minimal to sustain life.
Notes Taken from the Documentary
Many people live on less than $1USD per day. Entire families living in small shacks
24,000+ people die every day from hunger and hunger related causes all over the world.
less than 5% of the worlds population live in the United States, yet the USA consume 25% of the available resources and contribute to 30% of global man-made pollution.
1492 start of European intervention in the Americas, from that point on Globalisation was founded. By the 16th Century most continents were connected together via trade routes, later spreading towards Asia and Africa.
The capitalist system started when Spanish and Portugese invaded the America’s, during a 500 year time period the there was a colonization of land and people.
The conquisidors as they were known by the America’s, consiting of Spanish, Potugese and later English and Dutch came and stole the riches of the Inca’s and Maya’s including religious artifacts. Land was also taken over and local economy collapsed.
The British invaders came towards the end of the 19th Century. Upon arrival they used their own legal system to justify the take-over of the land using unjust laws that stipulated that should no form of government currently exist in towns and villages of the America’s then offically it belonged to the Queen of England. The British then leased the land back to the local people.
By the end of the colonial times, the white 1% owned roughly 50% of the arable land.
Even in today’s times, debts are transferred down the generations and people are becoming inslaved by the farm bosses all over the world. This is a direct result of the ‘labour law’ which was introduced through the Kipenda System which meant meant that the people and the land were claimed by the British Empire and treated as property.
The Kipenda System is a registrational system whereby every male child that turns 16 has to register and start work. A form of enslavement.
It is estimated that in 2008, 60-80 million people still live in slave-like conditions, often working on plantations and mines with their families for no wage, only food and basic accomodation.
Many people are forced to work for farm owners as they cannot find work elsewhere or are lured to the farm with false promises of good pay and working conditions. Upon arrival the story is much different, often employees work permits are taken and not returned, they have inadequate equipment and often stay in over priced, poorly sanitised accomodation (also owned by the land owner), and thus make it hard to earn any money.
Many people find themselves working for many years without earning enough money to leave.
In Sao Paulo State, Brazil, employees often work 12-16 hours per day, doing hard manual work with improper equipment. They are paid $6.50/day if their work quota is met. If they fall short to deliver the expected amount they get paid no money for that day.
One worker Edmaldo has been a cane cutter for 17 years in Sao Paulo and makes an average of $27.50 per month.
The gold mines of Ouro Preto, Brazil and the Silver mines of Bolivia (Potosi, Bolivia being one of the most well known), helped to fund the European Empires Industrial Revolutions.
The wealth made from the Potosi mine was so huge that the hill of Potosi was represented as the Virgin Mary in the Christian religious art.
- Amartya Sen, Author/Nobel Prize winner, Economics
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