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Is There an Upside to Poverty?

Director Renzo Martens‘s fascinating and controversial documentary Enjoy Poverty “investigates the emotional and economic value of Africa’s fastest-growing and most lucrative export-product.” That is: poverty. As he travels throughout the Congo, Martens instructs wedding photographers to try earning more money by photographing malnourished children; he posts a large neon sign reading “Enjoy Poverty” in various villages; and encourages locals to capitalize on their poverty. Blog reader Patrick Pearce, who brought the documentary to our attention, asks an interesting question: “What other benefits can be found in poverty? Obviously there is a difference between the regular poverty of say, a good chunk of Western college students versus the extreme poverty of many people in Africa. Depending on the situation, I am thinking there could be a connection between poverty and with things like creative resourcefulness and happiness.” Your thoughts? [%comments]