“The End of Poverty?”: How the rich steal from the poor

Does a confrontational new documentary try to resurrect Marx for the 21st century? And is that such a bad idea?

So here’s the real question about capitalism, the one nobody really wants to face: Does it create gross inequality as an unfortunate byproduct of its energy and dynamism — or is gross inequality itself, between rich and poor, between the industrialized North and the underdeveloped South, the principal product of capitalism over the last five centuries?

Philippe Diaz’s powerful and upsetting documentary “The End of Poverty?,” which weaves together a wide range of talking-head experts and a startling array of ordinary poor people and their advocates from around the globe, casts a strong vote for Option B. Unfortunately, that answer is virtually off-limits in public discussion these days, and is likely to make the film and its French-American director unpalatable to precisely the audiences who should see it and think about it.

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