In an October 8th article titled, "Reframing the debate around poverty and foreign aid," MBA student Katie O'Brien covers the four screenings and 75 minute discussion of Poverty, Inc. led by co-producer Mark Weber who flew out on an invitation from Dr. Mark Milstein, Professor of Sustainable Global Enterprise.
Weber encouraged the audience to think about the person on the other end of a transaction whenever we buy something. “Unethical businesses won’t be beat out by reformers; they’ll be beat out by better businesses who capture the spirit of consumers who are demanding more.” And when doing humanitarian work, Weber argued for forming collaborative — rather than paternalistic — relationships. We should ask ourselves, he said, “Am I engaging people in the fullness of who they are as creative individuals, or am I displacing them in their proper role and making myself the protagonist in their development?”
Weber conducted the Q&A as a conversation, encouraging the audience to share their own experiences with humanitarian aid and global poverty. He and his co-producers not only learned from those they interviewed for the film: “We were changed by them,” he said. The documentary is, in part, a means of sharing the producers’ own education process. Weber expressed the importance of amplifying the voices of those in developing nations, and concluded by saying, “cultivating the conversation is going to be up to you guys.”