Poor Us: An Animated History

Poor Us: An Animated History

2012, History  -   90 Comments
Ratings: 8.17/10 from 195 users.

If we want to make poverty history, we need to understand the history of poverty. A funny and sinister animated odyssey through time.

The poor may always have been with us, but attitudes towards them have changed. Beginning in the Neolithic Age, Ben Lewis's film takes us through the changing world of poverty.

You go to sleep, you dream, you become poor through the ages. And when you awake, what can you say about poverty now? There are still very poor people, to be sure, but the new poverty has more to do with inequality...

Did hunter-gatherers have poor relations? Who became poor faster than anyone else in history? And can Karl Marx make tea? But you also look at big questions: what's lifted people out of poverty and how?

Is there a formula that would work again? Is poverty an "engine of the system" and a great driver of progress - or a terrible by-product of inequality?

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90 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Helena Tomé

    When the Portuguese went to the Orient, to Muslim land, they found famine and poverty. Extreme poverty and famine. Portuguese officers helped the native populations until the king of Portugal remembered them they were there to get good commercial alliances and not to spend the small Portuguese budget in such rich reigns. Spices were paid, not robbed. In Africa the Portuguese didn't enslave people. In the West Coast of Africa slaves were carried by Muslims. Yes, many were sent to Brazil and they are still there. The Portuguese didn't rob the native populations, they were gatherers, they had nothing until gold was found. Their culture was not destroyed, so even now, many ways of life are the heritage of their and African culture. Why should they be badly treated. Your "animation" is ridicule.

  2. Malachi Molina

    f***ing dumb. Some great insights. Really interesting about how nations in Africa were using cowrie shells as currency but then made illegal by foreign governments. The "expert" commentators had vague nebulous bullshit to say "oh maybe it could be like this or like that". Did the producers of the film even care? Did they just want to hear their drab boring shallow ideas for themselves in an echo-chamber?

  3. DustUp

    In other words, less govt = less poor. The socialists cultivate and fertilize them with horse manure so to have more voting for them.

    1. Gunther

      Wrong, less government = more poor. Less government regulation of the economy has created the largest social and economic inequality in the world since the Great Depression. If less government is so great, then why does half the world's wealth belong to 8 billionaires and why does half the world's population live on $2 to $10 per day instead on $200 to $1,000 per day?

      No, the capitalists/plutocrats cultivate and fertilized them with horse manure so the brainwash population continues to support the unequal economic, political, and social system.

  4. DustUp

    Question the premise of everything. Rewind the scenario a bit. Suppose no one wanted those minerals in that supposedly poor country? Would that then make the poor country rich?

    For sure the cause of most any problem is evil people. But who are the evil? People just trying to live a decent life and fooled into being a debt slave? Does that make for a "rich" nation, most being in debt?

    Does a smart phone, computer, big screen TV, fancy car, nice house, jewelry, traffic jams, noise, stress, and all the GMO food you can eat, does that make you wealthier?

    If I could move to an island where people weren't so full of themselves after being indoctrinated by govt and media. Where they leave bankers, lawyers, politicians, and union organizers hanging from a rope with a sign at the port of entry, to keep those attempting to set up their evil to a minimum. Where the people gather to decide if any misreporting of any news was intentional and the appropriate punishment. Where all reporters were only allowed to be ugly men so the public would have no problem serving swift justice to any propagandists. Where the people themselves would repair the water systems and other utilities, hire teachers for the kids, and elect a representative which amounts to a secretary to present issues, pros and cons, welcome discussion, and tally the vote along with two random people drawn from a hat. That is small govt. If it meant living by a rake and shovel in your garden, that would be good exercise. In a communist or fully socialist regime they would come take a large portion of my garden for themselves while claiming it was for the poor. Now what motive would I have to do that again next year? Now you know how the store shelves were bare in the former Soviet Union.

    What brought Russia and China out of poverty? Allowing a fair bit of capitalism. What is the difference between North Korea and South Korea but capitalism.

    Even with capitalism, GOVT is the problem. Without govt providing the means, most evil men could not accomplish much. For instance, the miners in the supposedly exploited poor country, if that govt wanted them to be paid more, they would, up to the point where the corporation wanting those minerals would just get them somewhere else. If not for govt, a city could not claim eminent domain and take a person's place of business and provide it to a different business they claimed would pay them more taxes (supposedly making it the greater good). Yes, that has happened in the good old usa. A Chemical or other company polluting the drinking water or rivers is allowed via govt. Govt IS the problem, not the solution.

    Can you make the weather the same everywhere? No, that is out of your hands. Can you make people the same of talent, drive, cleverness, ingenuity, persistence, moral fiber, honesty, etc.? No, that is out of your hands. Then how is it that Socialists-Communists-Progressives = Collectivists, are able to fool so many into believing that nature will not react to the attempt to paying everyone the same? Mankind is part of nature and it is in their nature to not produce if the reward isn't sufficient. You could see many prime examples of this in the former Soviet globe of control. Bare store shelves. Pitifully dirty train stations. A man to dole out toilet paper at public restrooms so it wouldn't be stolen/horded. If you didn't like your lot in life, your choice was to escape via vodka or by foot if you could figure out a way to do so. You are not free to leave. Just who are you Mr. Collectivist to tell me where I must live?

    How are today's people so easily fooled into Collectivism? Emotional propaganda. Emotion tends to override logic and reason, especially in those that have been schooled all their lives that way.

    1. frank

      wow a lot of drivel.

    2. Gunther

      You really believe what you are saying?

    3. Malachi Molina

      This is by far the best comment. If people were allowed to live for themselves in a collective. Humans its as if, want evil?

    4. David Dieni

      1. Libertarians do not give shit about any one but themselves. Its about preserving the myth of exceptional, that is more important than the misery this toxic system is responsible for.

      2. Your theories are childish, unscientific, have no nexus to reality and are not recognized by anyone outside of your cult. with academia. The terms big government, small government, collectivism and individualism are infantile meaningless tripe.

      3. Ultimately the entire philosophy rests rest upon the belief of a magic hand of all things, that has been waiting around since the big bang for its time to come apparently.....but only if we do exactly what it says. if we do anything altruistic for example, it cracks the sads, packs up it's bat and ball goes home and throws the world into turmoil because it can't get it's own way.

      4. Without the rape and pillage of the 3rd world, western economies would have collapsed in the 80's. that is why they sent labor overseas to restore profit margins....but competition soon wipes those gains out, and competition as well, as monopolies form and price fixing becomes the order of the day.

      5 The next stage was the turn to credit (that started with de industrialization....produce nothing sell nothing....borrow to fund public spending,. America was broke in the year 2000 fyi) and we can see where that ended up.

      Over population
      Americans use 50 to 70x the energy as do the poor in China and India, and double that of other first world nations.....it is Americans that are the biggest problem when it comes to overpopulation, as Americans burn up energy like no one else.

      Collapse built into the system from day one.
      The other incidental that libertarians can't grasp is the fact the entire system is reliant on a finite resource...oil. It is the energy density in oil that allowed the population of the planet to explode from 2 billion to over 7 billion, as one barrel contains the labor of one man working 24/7 for 3 years, or another way to put it is, it gives us the equivalent of having of 150 slaves each, more than most Kings in all of history.

      We now use 6 barrels of oil for every one we find and one billion barrels every 11 days...we have used over half the world's reserves and production is in a permanent 9% decline. That is what is behind the crisis and means no re-stabilization is possible.

      Because the capitalist psychopaths don't give a shit about us, no infrastructure is in place for transferring too renewables that requires 30 years to complete...while we do not have the oil reserves to do it now at any rate.

      Reality will soon disabuse you of your mad beliefs.....then again probably not

    5. David Dieni

      30 years of activism = 30 years of abuse, of shooting the messenger, of chasing my tail and preaching to the converted. If Karl Marx had a crystal ball that could see into the future the only quote he would be famous for would be "fuck it, I am going to the pub instead"

      There have been so many low points, but the one that sticks in my craw, is the indifference of white western populations to the suffering of millions that provide the standard of living that they worship as pinnacle of civilization.......it's nothing short of vile and barbaric

  5. Gary Figgins

    When looking at poverty in the United States, one should realize that every pocket of poverty is represented and controlled by the Democrat Party year after year. Look at Watts in California, Southside Chicago, Harlem in New York I believe this is planned.

  6. Sandip

    How do europeans sleep at night knowing the evil that ancestors did?

  7. Guest

    Almost everyone in the world believes in the God of Abraham (Jews, Christians and Muslims. If people abided by the laws that God wrote in the Bible then living unselfishly would solve spiritual poverty, emotional poverty, mental poverty and physical poverty. The one force that prevents this is Satan who offers up lust so that love dies, greed so that generosity dies, pride so that humility dies, wrath so that peace dies, sloth so that diligence dies, gluttony so that equity dies, envy so that charity dies and all of these so that healthy balanced relationships die. The reason that poverty and every bad thing exists is because of your and my sin and every human's sin that have gone before us. If God's people will humble ourselves and pray and seek His face ( by listening to Him through reading his life instruction manual-- the Bible) and turn from our wicked ways then He will hear us and forgive our sins and heal our land. This applies to every believer in the God of Abraham. It's up to us to listen to God and turn from our sins..... That will help more than anything because then God will do what mankind cannot.

    1. tom432

      im afraid not the gods of old did not help and Yahweh will not save you now. hope is one of the most enduring sprits in man however we must understand that this has been used to control. example: its ok things are bad know because I have been good and so god will save my soul. Only he wont your soul needs saved now we need to stand up now not when we are dead this is the power Islam and Christianity gives the powerful in this world. it was established by rich people and has been used to control ever since. there is no hope accept it and then let the anger out.

  8. FEDUPAmerican1

    This is a awsome video it clearly shows that poverty is not the norm, poverty that we have today is poverty by design.

  9. Jon

    I realize that nobody pays attention to the human condition. The issue of poverty is traceable to the knowledge of right and wrong. Ever since mankind got infected, wrong knowledge accumulated and this has become the source of mankind's burden.

    Ever realize why Truth is not the same as knowledge? Truth is what science is really after. People discover Truth, and it is irrefutable science.

    Knowledge is power, only if what you know holds as the truth. If what you know is false, how can it empower you? Wrong knowledge will be a source of problems and that can cost you dearly.

    No wonder, it shall be Truth which will set men free. Truth is liberating and can provide independence. Lies meanwhile would enslave us and eventually false knowledge leads to destruction.

    1. coryn

      "Ever since mankind got infected, wrong knowledge accumulated and this has become the source of mankind's burden."

      Infected? Mankind got infected? I'm glad you've got a lifetime ahead of you to read history, and try to discover reality.
      OK, I'm ready.... what did mankind get infected with? Or by?

    2. Jon

      Please finish reading the post and take more time to communicate COMPLETELY. You got a habit of taking a few ideas then posting one and the same bias religiously.

    3. coryn

      Jon, maybe start with that one sentence and please explain what you mean...... "Ever since mankind got infected.." Infected with what? And when?
      And please tell me, how is "Truth the same as irrefutable science?" Science is always open to revision and correction, that is it's essence. But religion, which proclaims 'truths', is static, whatever matters is in the past, God did this and that and it can't change.
      Unless 'God' would choose to SHOW UP, but that's not likely, is it?

    4. Jon

      Jon, maybe start with that one sentence and please explain what you mean...... "Ever since mankind got infected.." Infected with what? And when?

      ANSWER: Infected by FALSE, misleading and poor KNOWLEDGE spread by F O O L S and forced down everyone's throats by propaganda: social or peer pressures. It started as soon as men found the means to learn from each other.

    5. coryn

      I see...... Yes, that certainly clears things up, so I'll close with a quotation:

      "There is no antidote for religion mixed with mother's milk." -- Robert Ingersoll

    6. Jon

      Maybe reread the original post too. It cannot be any different from what I am saying the first time. Stop the habit of reacting too hastily. That is cheap tabloid. You create a bold and huge headline but hide the facts in fine print to attract attention.

    7. coryn


    8. tom432

      if only there where absolute truths. this is a construct of the human mind things are not right or wrong. good or bad, false or true only religion deals in absolutes and has left us with this idea we must know the truth. science is doing the same it cant break from that narrow narrative. add on "lies meanwhile would enslave us" i say the opposite is right. the truth enslaves you because u never question it.

    9. Jon

      You mean just like in WW2 the socialists took over and liberated the masses but most of them were RIP. Propaganda is never the idea for TRUTH. A lie often repeated does not become truth but a passport to HELL.

    10. tom432

      yes propaganda or public relations from a state is the same as religion. nationalism is worse than religion ill say that much because it leaves no room for the good messages religion brings. Both serve the same purpose teaching a absolute truth or ideal and both lead to a grandiose sense of self meaning you can kill for your truth or ideal. Heaven and hell exist in our experience of life not in the devotion to a promise you can never know.

  10. Engaging123

    Excellent! Very concise historical road map of poverty through the ages! Well Done super documentary for all ages!

  11. Stephen Moss

    So many holes in this !!!

  12. Jennifer Thompson

    I watched, I learned, I really really liked it! This would be an awesome video for first year social work students; it explains a whole lot in a very short video. I would use certainly use it as a teaching aid.

    1. UBK

      From a childhood during WWII, a period when there was no inflation and the world population was less than one-third of today's it has become plain to see this film avoids addressing the real truths. 1. the imposition of compound interes by the IMF and The World Bank go a long way to the further impoverishment of already poor countries. 2.Coupled with prolific population growth the amount of poverty can only grow commensurately. WAR was an alleviating factor by reducing population it gave reconstruction work to the survivors. Today the weapons of war are so horrific they can only rebound on those that use them. Reduction, not elimination of poverty can only be accomplished by reduction of debt and population levels by a quantum leap in world education.

  13. Jo McKay

    In my own opinion of course...(cheshire smiles)...the film is worth a watch; well done with the animation. I'd argue it moved through the 1st 200,000 years of 'human' history a little too quickly, and thereby missed an important story-'more' research is proposing that many hunter/gatherers were quite successful and stayed in abundant food forests for long periods of time. In addition, it seems that women of the clans/tribes were highly regarded and societies were egalitarian (more equal). Turns out the women who hunted smaller game, and gathered vegetables, roots, nuts, berries, and medicines actually provided between 50% and 80% of the communities needs, including food. Regarding poverty today I would add: 1. we have already reached 'peak' child - we are having fewer children everywhere (but our pop is very young, so the #'s will rise until 2050 and level off, then gradually decline) and further 2. the 'idea' of over population I think is relative. Consider, living close, like in Tokyo, we could fit the world's entire population into the state of Texas, in the US. 3. We are now (as in today) growing 2 times MORE food then we need in the world-in fact in developed nations (so called) we 'throw away a great deal of food. Soo - population and too many children? not an issue, there is lots of room on the planet; Food? we already grow more then enough for double our current population. Those arguments are 'smoke screens'; the real answers are a) forgive debt - everywhere - the super rich are rich enough,(and all they would lose is more $ numbers on paper) b) provide equal education and opportunities for both girls and boys, c) financially support - minimally - communities with their own solutions and ideas. d) eliminate monopolies and break up banks and companies 'too big to fail' into smaller companies who are not provided unfair tax incentives or influence over people's representatives, e) no more wars. I think sincerely that greed and lust for power, and judgementalism are the reasons for today's inequity; we will change all that when we decide what 'humanity' really means. If our planetary values include value for 'life' and quality of life, and some reasonable semblance of fairness and justice, then we can fix this, all of it, quite quickly.

    1. Jacek Walker

      Surely there is enough room for more of us on the planet. But bringing more and more to add to those already starving or living in an abject poverty wouldn't improve much, would it?
      It is nor a question of how many kids an average couple can have. It is a question of what is the reason behind it.
      Often the reasons are negative like :
      1. "I wanna more kids to have someone look after me in the old age" - that's a sheer selfishness and fear.
      2. "I wanna my own kid, my own" - What does that mean? You own kid like your own car or your own handy? - That's not love, that's possessivness.
      And then we got what we got - hundreds of millions of kids abandoned, neglected, rejected, abused and left to rot.

    2. Jo McKay

      perhaps u did not intend to be harsh? You sound very judgemental. The 'evidence' tells us that when people do not lose children in childhood because the health status improves, and, when education levels improve (esp. with women) then people 'generally' have fewer children. The reason people have children is none of my damn business (and I would argue, nor yours). That said if you want to help the children abandoned, then help. However, if 'we' (all of us) fail to address the giant issues of our time - the injustice/treason of elites owning governments, exploiting and making war, poisoning the land, the air and the water, and still mostly successfully, managing the 'masses' through media and distraction. Whatever one of us does to help another is surely meaningful, yet we must also DO something to deal with the bloated purple elephant in the room!

    3. Jacek Walker

      No, but it certainly sounds harsh in a society that is built on lies.
      And what choice does one have when one tries to shatter someone out of illusion? It is painful and it evokes anger. But still it is better than indifference. It is a chance for a discussion, you have stirred the heart a bit.
      But when there is only indifference as the reply then the game is over.

  14. Rodney Bresch

    Scarcity is relative, and knowledge is the greatest resource. It is a resource that is exponentially being generated as well. There will be more than enough to spread around before long. The question is will we actually utilize tech for the betterment of all mankind , as we def haven't been.

  15. Josh Christian

    Poverty is a byproduct of false scarcity. The manipulation of humanity through the control mechanism of "money" and profit is pure evil.

    All of these words, ambition, drive, skill, success, failure, shows the singular hive-minded imprinting my friends. The trained response of a human that has accepted itself as a unit of production in a system of consumption.

    This is a manufactured Hyper-reality... none of it is real, it's all pointless.

    I hope the moderator will post this.. as it says it all..

    “We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”
    ― Richard Buckminster Fuller

    1. IHateTrolls2013

      With all due respect to Richard Buckminster Fuller, many of the people he refers to in his last sentence were "thinking" about absolutely nothing prior to someone coming along telling them they had to earn a living, or if they were thinking about something, it was utterly selfish. Does he believe that everyone should, at the very least, attempt to be CONTRIBUTING members of society or not? What about you? Do you believe that certain members of society, perfectly capable of contributing something, should be allowed not to simply because they don't want to?

    2. Jacek Walker

      Of course it is an indoctrination that have been rammed into people's heads for centuries.
      The army of sociopaths in various organized religions and state organizations have been working on it side by side in order to gain power, control and money.
      Pharaos and cesars? Kings and queens, popes, high priests, barons? Out of fear, ignorance or sheer stupidity the unconscious masses have been worshipped these predators and parasites while themselves vegetating and dying in misery.

      This is what I call poverty - poverty of human consciousness.

  16. smokesiniztr

    Poverty can and will NOT be solved. We will always have the rich and the poor; because of variations in circumstances, drive, talent, and luck. Some ppl have it all and end up "failures," while some have nothing and are "kings" in their own way. You don't need money to get things done. Some ppl with money have to pay ppl without money to do things ppl with money "normally" wouldn't and / or couldn't do. What I'm trying to say is Power is where it's at, and the rising poverty of our nation is directly related to the moral and mental status of those in power.

    I believe the power to change begins by you wanting to change. One individual can influence his circle, which in turn influences another circle, and so on. But as humanity conforms its value system more and more to the values of those presently in power, then our income gaps will also get ever wider because the economic game that we play everyday turns from providing a service to all to a competition where only the best wins and everyone else can eat it.

  17. Insanezenmistress

    What a shame. Poverty is easy to fix. Why with the application of genuine humanity and logical planning and just a touch of compassion for our fellow man we could devise economic systems and level out the standards of living common to all , organise, educate and liberate all humans form disease and ignorance.

    Naturally implimenting such a system of integrity would take time. I mean humans are raised up on the maxim..."it is it too good to be true, then it isnt" . It might take a long time to condition people to favoring intelligence over manipulation.
    Maybe someday, if greed, and power could be left out of the equasion for a change. But you know.... that's totally unrealilistic....

    1. avd420

      While economic poverty may be an easy fix in theory, the moral poverty, poverty of ambition and talent, poverty of will, drive and skill, is not so simple to fix. In theory and in practice.

    2. Insanezenmistress

      true that. I have tried to figure out a starting theory for the fixing of that ambition of mankind to better himself. But find it is highly subjective, and easilly sucumbs to repetitive negitive suggestion. When you find a person with a good working theory on that matter, it will hardly stand the riducule of the outsider who resists the attempt at the practice. Yet when you find five or more following the theorm, you have a cult whose method of practice cant be applied to outsiders. Then I have my fourth mental break down of the day and watch some Law and Order instead.

    3. avd420

      Lol. Enjoy your life girl. Enjoy your f***in life. The problems of the world will be here centuries after we have passed. Some of these problems will have been fixed, but the process of fixing them will cause even bigger issues, and so on and so on. If you enjoy thought experiments then by all means, continue. But if you are emotionally invested in the outcome and your personal solutions, you're doing yourself a disservice.

      "I truly believe that if you think you have a solution, you're part of the problem." - George Carlin

  18. Dean Wilson

    There are 2 issues here, poverty and income gap. In the developed nations income gap is a huge issue. Read "Spirit Level" to get a better understanding of the real impact income inequality has on societies, its huge.
    I believe in capitalism and its impact on man kind over the years. However I believe it needs to be combined with a compulsory profit share for the employees. By all means reward the entrepreneur who's willing to risk it all to make a dream come true, but the grafters at the "coal face " ultimately make it happen with the systems/culture of the company. The workers need the recognition and reward they deserve.

    1. avd420

      Do the workers get a base-wage pay cut if the company doesn't make a profit?

  19. avd420

    If the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, than why is the population so ****** high?

    1. Sail2DeepBlue

      This is the typical logistics of poverty, which unfortunately can be, but need not be, a perpetual loop. In poor countries lacking more modern development, children are necessary as a labor force (you can't afford to pay anyone else to harvest, for example and you equally may lack more labor saving devices) and for your care into your old age.

      Where modern medicine and sanitation may be lacking, a larger family better guarantees descendants surviving into adulthood to better perpetuate the family line. And devastations (war, epidemics) can feed an overcompensation

      Some of this can be cultural too. Countries where women do not have the same legal equality as in more developed countries tend to show increased family size. You'll notice that population DECLINES have been a concern in parts of the developed world (and wealthier families tend to have smaller families)--and falling birth rates here were already a phenomenon here even before the advent of recent contraception like the pill, etc.

      Perhaps one reason why the Earth has 7 billion people nonetheless (where in earlier centuries this would be impossible owing to disease and a productivity not nearly as abundant and dynamic), is that the poor of the world, depending on where you are, have not entirely escaped some of the improvements of the modern world (medicine, infrastructure) though very insufficient for a more decent development as where many poor can be adjacent to more urbanized centers (i.e, those who live in slums).

    2. avd420

      Thanks a lot for your articulate and informative reply.

    3. Sail2DeepBlue

      You are most welcome. I appreciate your time in reading it.


    4. Insanezenmistress

      cause poor people like having lots of relations

  20. Rohyp Gnosis

    How different might the world be if young minds watched this, instead of being fed Bronze Age Abrahamic Myths? Discussion and 'thinking' is unarguably a good thing for people to do. So why, here in the UK, and in most schools around the world, our young are indoctrinated into Christian, Jewish ir Islamic nonsense. Nonsense that keeps a very, very, few at the top...and everyone else contended just treading water, with no real hope of equality, and feathering the nests of the elite.

    Whether you like this doc or not... If you berate it, I think you are kinda missing the Eleph...err, no...the Brontosaurus in the room!!!!!

    1. Pierre

      The theistic beliefs themselves have little to do with the oppressive systems their religious elite have structured. At least that's the case for Christianity.

  21. Rick Barley

    You guys sure complain a lot, I thought it was good as a basic overview although I was slightly offended by the fact that they seemed to think keynesian capitalism is the only thing that has been successful in reducing modern poverty.

    Cuba has one of the lowest poverty rates in Latin America in spite of the fact that the most powerful nation in the world has been constantly trying to destroy its economy for more than half a century just to prove a point. That is a god damned miracle and absolute proof that communism works at least on some level even if you dont agree with it on the whole

    1. miguel_gomez

      Keynes' theories do a lot for people in the short run, but its long-term negative effects far outweigh the short-term positives. I prefer Chicago-school economics.

    2. Josh Christian

      That's because you've never been at the bottom of the class pyramid when it was in practice.... see Chile and the Brick.

  22. Tom Chuong

    Longest commercial on poverty- ever!

  23. Nakor

    I grew up poor. Never knew why until I read The Creature from Jekyll Island.

  24. David Gallant

    I found this documentary to be an incredibly useful overview of the evolution of social movement through human history. The simplification along with the great animation allowed me to be drawn in to a deeper understanding of of some key factors. Done in a more poetic way that allows for fundamental truths...A way that a more detailed and "accurate" representation likely be lost on someone like me. I am going to highly recommend to my high school kids and their teacher. Seems like it would be a great starting point for discussion.

  25. abdulwalee

    They missed the Golden age of the Muslims of spain and went straight to the Dark ages and so-called age of enlightenment

  26. irondude

    Full of cliches and imprecise. Just compare the human population in the 70's and in 2010 and compare the rates of extreme poverty and hunger there in now. The same 1 billion remains today despite humans are now 7 billion people instead of 3 billion. This reduction of hunger and poverty has benefited mostly the periphery not the rich countries.

  27. Kevin Hagen

    the depiction of hunter gatherers is not accurate and skews the rest of this history. I suggest reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn and the other books in series. the website is full of information too.

  28. Hiefa

    Very well presented, I feel that all a 'normal' person can do is educate themselves to the best of their abilities not just academically but socially and historically, to aim to keep away from the modern age traps of loans, gambling and living in the red. Be the very best that you can be in your career, and to your fellow man and educate your children to do the same

  29. NoRighty

    Poverty is always relative. As GDP grows, so grows GDP per capita. Unless the government is too corrupt to distribute the nation's wealth evenly across the society, no place on earth would enjoy absolute poverty.

  30. silkop

    @Kateye70 I think Rand had a noble idea, if not a very original one (we've seen plenty of individualistic romantic heroes before her), but she got strangely confused with details. Profit-seeking doesn't necessarily lead to high achievement as she proclaimed (nor does it automatically lead to exploitation, an opinion she attributed to opponents). I don't see yet how she could have missed the point given that some of her most negative "looter" characters were in fact underachieving egotistical profit-seekers.

    Also, I read her novels - which are works of fiction for a reason - as intended exaggerations, a semi-religious satire (not of the positive rich heroes, but more of the collectivism and politics). They can and should be interpreted as metaphers, warnings, stipulations, rather than an accurate description (or prescription) of reality. Could be that she got carried off herself into believing too much of her own stories, what with the drug abuse and psychological problems. But there are grains of truth in her writing, too, for the discerning observer. Same goes for other religious texts - study them and you might find something useful, believe them and you're the utter fool.

    1. SilverBee

      Regarding your view of Rand, that she had ""a noble idea" was "confused" that she "intended exaggerations" and "semi-religious satire" and so on:

      All one has to do is watch just one of the interviews where she unequivocally states her views, and the notion of confusion and intentional exaggeration for purposes of satire fly out the window. She was not confused about what she meant, and there was nothing metaphorical about it. However, I agree with your last few words: "believe them and [one is an] utter fool."

  31. Mercenarry ForHire

    I like the Doc, true it leaves a lot of stuff out. Direct and indirect causes, i dont mind because im curious and i like to listen to docs to pass the time while i work on drawings. :3

    My guess is that as far as poverty goes there's many solutions. Most are just variations of borrowing time, depending on WHAT,HOW and WHY you want to do them, some ideas may be better than others.

    The solution that makes the most sense to me is a mixture of many processes, which may also come with a composite set of problems. Another good option is just to simply do what you can in your lifetime and ultimately let time decide our fate.

    Time, which we may or may not have. Time, the enemy of all things.

  32. Chrosmata

    The reality of impoverished nations is we want them that way, its what allows our high standard of living. We like despots, they allow us to extract large amounts of resources for pennies on the dollar.

  33. VitunRekisterit

    This "documentary" really sucks.

    It hardly touches the real reasons for the poverty, and it completely leaves out the biggest reason for it - privately held money creation power.

    Also this "doc" is so fragmented that it makes it very confusing. And we all know what people usually do when they are confronted with confusing things. They stop while they are trying to make sense of things at hand.

    Which of course is nice for status quo.

    1. princeton

      I fully agree with you
      these so called experts seemed to not know much about the problem. at one point one of them stated that economists cannot figure out what causes prosperity or "the formula" and it just happens randomly (paraphrase).

      No woman... we know what it is thats causing poverty.. the power to create money (counterfeit) held by private banks and entities, having a form of currency based on debt, and structuring welfare programs to penalize ppl climbing out of poverty and encourage divorce and illegitimacy which leads to more crimes and ultimately poverty. the war on poverty is why there is still poverty.. before then poverty rates were declining by over 1% a year due to the free market and industrial revolution. look at the chart... now its not just poverty, its an unpayable debt.. which is some poverty now, and total collapse in the near future

  34. Matt Kukowski

    Technology allows for more work done with less people... but as soon as the technology is unleashed the population goes up and up.

    We need to unleash clean tech, but make a policy for population stabilization. We can have all the best tech in the world to reduce poverty, but if people are wealthy they also want to f--k like rabbits.

    So, unleash the tech, implement population stabilization policies.

    Pretty simple.

    1. wald0

      Actually the highest birth rates by far are in the impoverished countries. They also have more infant mortality but their higher birth rate still means they are the biggest contributors to the world population by a significant amount. There are several reasons for this-
      1.In poorer societies sometimes people purposely have more children so they know someone will be there to take care of them in their old age, help bring in income, help tend fields and with manual labor, etc.
      2. Different theocracies forbid the use of birth control of any kind.
      3.Lack of education means often people are not even aware of all the options modern science offers.
      4. Even though many poorer cultures have advanced to the point large families are a detriment people cling to cultural norms rooted in the past.
      However, according to the United Nations world population should flatten out around 2050 at ten billion, and then decline back to were we currently are by 2100. At least this is the statistics Micheal Shermer quoted at TAM this year.

    2. VitunRekisterit

      Matt. It's good to get ones facts right before one share his/hers ideas with others. That way one doesn't look like i*iot so easily.

      Birthrate is highest in poor countries, and birthrate is lowest in rich countries.

      Pretty simple.

    3. oQ

      I think people fock equally accross the globe....rich or poor, if they can. The result does not end in birth in developped countries because of the pill, abortion, women's freedom of sexuality (as in saying don't come inside), and the likes.

    4. invient

      Matt, I agree... Anytime efficiency is increased, we just use more of it. See Jevons Paradox. Population size is regulated by our ability to produce energy. With oil, you see population become exponential. If we increase efficiency, then without population policies in place, we will fill that efficiency with more people... The same goes to new energy technologies (think fusion), we will just consume to the point that the population cant sustain the standard of living for everyone. We are already at this point with our current energy production, people dieing from lack of basic necessities is a sign of meeting this tipping point.

  35. Paul Gloor

    But you can save a child's future for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a day !!!
    Guilt trip anyone ? The industrialized nations are consuming vastly more than the impoverished nations, and the kicker is, the big industry gets most of those resources from the impoverished nations. And thanks to privatization its beginning to happen in our own back yards.

    I'm just thankful Ill be going into 2014 with nothing but recurring bills. Debts will be done with in the matter of a few months.

    1. MamaChitChatChitterling

      Congrats! That's a good way to begin the new year.

  36. pwndecaf

    Don't want to spoil the ending, but the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer, but the presentation was cleverly done.

  37. Michael Schwinn

    the wealthy should get a taste of poverty themselfs!!!!

  38. dmxi

    you need the poor to create a canvas for the rich to explain their (in-)human(e) nature....
    ........of sociopathy.

    1. Kathy

      Is it worth a watch?

    2. VitunRekisterit

      Not really.

      For example. "Doc" doesn't address the biggest reason for poverty - pervertic money mechanics - at all.

    3. andruwww

      Not super thorough, more of a general overview of historical to modern poverty. It does rather successfully display different types of poverty and a widened definition of it as well. Really nice animation as well. Great production value. Overall, definitely worth a watch.

    4. dufas_duck

      Equal outcome is the order of the day, ......limit everyone to a basic wage, maybe $5.00 an hour, educate kids in school not to try achieving anything [give every kid the same grade ], all consumer goods are to be the same, one kind, one model, one color. Those that try to achieve anything above the set limit should be fined, jailed, and then executed....

      We need a world in which the do-nothings convince the know-nothings that the have-nothings will lead us down the path to wonderfully equal nothingness.

    5. wald0

      What ridiculous exaggeration!! No one wants to do away with meritocracy, no one ever said they did. This documentary just outlined the fact that the monetary out flow of poor nations to the rich nations equals about one trillion US dollars, while the aid they give in return is only one tenth to an eighth of that. Now you can say they are asking for charity or a hand out but the truth is you and I gain from their poverty and in return people like you have the nerve to thumb your nose at the less fortunate? Whats more you refuse to even admit you do gain from their unnecessary suffering in any way and try to present it as if all you have access to is what you have earned- not true for you or any other person living in the developed world.

    6. silkop

      dufas_duck is an example of someone who has not studied the Great Book of Rand carefully enough, and so took from it only what fit his narcissist self-image. Rand has made it very easy for dumb people to read her like that and to confuse her satirical black-and-white world with reality.

    7. Kateye70

      I guess you don't know much about Ayn Rand and her little in-group. There wasn't anything satirical about her writing, although I agree her world view was pretty much black-and-white.

    8. VitunRekisterit

      I think Ayn Rand's world view was mentally ill and boosted with amphetamine.

    9. MamaChitChatChitterling

      Yes, until her world changed and she died in poverty, collecting not only supposed "welfare" before she died--horrors!--in the form of Social Security, but also possibly Medicare. Her husband collected Social Security as well. Funny how those abstract theories change once the real world sets in.

    10. VitunRekisterit

      I'm sure you were very good in school. You seem to be very good in repeating the message from above with zero critical thinking.

    11. dufas_duck

      If you would check on the claims of many of the documentaries that I have seen you support, you might find that many do not fit with the facts. Some are true, most exaggerate for effect, many are outright propaganda.