In this column, in the Summer 2006 issue of R&L, I answered the question: How does Acton communicate its ideas to the world? You might recall how I explained that video will be an increasingly important tool for Acton in the future. Video, of course, is today's dominant popular medium and we've been using it at Acton for some time now to advance the cause of freedom, globally and instantaneously.
That's why Acton is one of the lead sponsors of PovertyCure, a website, documentary and group study curriculum that will change the international aid conversation by its simple appeal to the entrepreneurial spirit that is embedded in human nature. You and I know that the materialist anthropology of the U.N. Millennial Development program is a poor foundation for the development of the person. PovertyCure offers a real alternative.
Floods of Western aid serve not to lift developing countries out of poverty, but only to poison their homegrown industries, to promote unrest within their borders, and ultimately, to strip away the dignity of their people. At the risk of sounding trite, the solution to Africa's problems is Africa; its people -- not neocolonialist U.N. bureaucrats -- are best equipped to solve the crises of hunger and disease the continent faces.
In the battle of ideas, there are some hard lessons to be learned from the global War on Poverty. Billions upon billions of dollars have been spent to aid developing countries (almost $50 billion by the United States in 2010 alone) and yet, when we look for results, we find little fruit. U.N. diplomats, the Department of State, and Hollywood, can present tantalizing figures as "the amount of aid that would end hunger forever," and there's a great deal of emotional pull in that argument. But, inconvenient though it may be, feelings don't alleviate poverty, and neither do the hefty but seemingly blank checks we've been writing for years.
I'm excited about our involvement in PovertyCure and the transformation we expect it to accomplish. PovertyCure's impressive list of voices and partners, many of them captured on compelling video clips, is to be found at www.PovertyCure.org, where you too can join the movement by signing the statement of principles.
Kris Alan Mauren