Socialist Worker

BBC's take on causes of poverty

by Sarah Ensor
Issue No. 2332

The BBC has been running a documentary series that asks why poverty exists.

The episodes compare and contrast Sierra Leone, Cambodia, the US and Britain. Titles including Stealing Africa and Park Avenue—Money, Power and the American Dream.

The latter episode examines gross inequality in society and the spread of food banks across Britain and US. It points out that the US has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the world and looks at the effects of rapacious multinationals in Africa.

Give Us The Money looks at the Live Aid project that raised over £150 million 30 years ago but barely scratched the surface of the problem.

There are some powerful moments in these programmes. They argue that baby deaths in poorer countries are only caused by lack of resources.

There is a great world history of poverty and redistribution. It argues that there has only ever been one economic system that can create extreme inequality and enough wealth to go round—capitalism. There are some irritating moments but nevertheless it’s very interesting.

Why Poverty? is available on BBC iPlayer till 12 December


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Reviews
Tue 4 Dec 2012, 18:15 GMT
Issue No. 2332
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