Michael Matheson Miller of the Acton Institute and the Director of the documentary Poverty, Inc., talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his award-winning documentary on the barriers facing the poor around the world. Topics discussed include the incentives facing poverty-fighting NGOs and their staff, the importance of secure and well-defined property rights, and the costs and benefits of agricultural aid.
Intro. [Recording date: October 27, 2015.] Russ: So, Poverty, Inc., your documentary, argues that fighting poverty is big business, and that vested interests interfere with what we might hope would be better results. So, what's the big business part of the anti-poverty world? I don't really think of it as a business issue. Guest: Right. Well, I mean, the basic gist of the film is that poverty, despite really good intentions of most of the people who have become involved, has become an industry, and the fact that all the incentives--many of the incentives--of humanitarian charity--whether it's foreign aid or Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)--are--the incentives are in such a way that the people who actually benefit the most from it are not the people we're trying to help, but actually the people who work in the industry. Now, I will say that our critique is not really to go to the motivations of those people. We assume benevolent intentions. It's really to kind of critique the underlying assumptions, beliefs, and institutions of the kind of dominant model of development that has developed over the last, say, 50-70 years--let's say since the end of WWII. And so, since the end of WWII you have this kind of dominant idea, kind of humanitarianism--that if we could just transfer large sums of money or do projects in the developing world, we could jumpstart the process to industrialism and poverty. And it really hasn't worked; and sometimes has actually made things worse. And so that's what we say that's what happened is an industry. And I guess the last part of that is that, like any other industry, it has incentives to stay in business. And so it ends up doing things that actually perpetuate poverty instead of alleviating it, or better yet, instead of helping to create the conditions for people to create prosperity in their own families and their own communities--and then they don't really need the poverty industry. Russ: So, as listeners know, I'm sympathetic to that critique. People who would disagree with it would argue that either we haven't spent enough money, or we haven't done the right things with the money; and we, of course, need to try, because the alternative is to give up. And I think there is a temptation to use the reality that we've been very ineffective, at least for the most part, in helping people far away who are very poor, that that tends to lead to people saying, 'Well, I don't have to do anything, because it's a waste of time and money.' Do you agree with that conclusion. Guest: No, I don't think so. I think--you know, sometimes it's a waste of time and money. But just because it's sometimes a waste of time and money doesn't mean it always is. Or that we're not supposed to care. And one of the things that I think we're really clear about--I hope in the film but especially in questions afterwards--is like we're not suggesting in the film, 'Don't care; stop caring,' but to really rethink the deeper assumptions. So there's kind of two questions here. One is: We're not doing enough. This has been pretty much the argument for 70 years. So, you start out with the Marshall Plan, etc., [?] this idea that we need more money to solve the problem. And this is the kind of dominant social engineering approach at the time. But still you have, say, the ONE campaign, which was Bono and a lot of other celebrities saying, 'We need more money; we need to support the Millennium Development Goals'--now the New Sustainable Development Goals--'We need to increase foreign aid.' But really there hasn't been that much evidence that increased foreign aid helps. I mean, this goes back--you've had Angus Deaton on your show. He talked a little bit about this, I think, in his book, and really referring back to Peter Bauer, who is saying that one of the problems of foreign aid is no matter how much money we give them, if there's not the capacity to absorb that aid and use it right, it ends up really creating crony capitalism; it excludes poor people; etc. So, the money question is one. The other question I think is a [?] one, and it's really a question of kind of--especially difficult in contemporary life, and that's, okay, people, like, so we'll do this film, you know, or I'll talk about this and people say, okay, well you care about private property rights for people and everything, and justice, you talk about justice and the ability to register a business--which I hope we'll talk about. And that's great; but I care about helping people right now. And that's what we need to do. Russ: [?] suffering. Guest: Yeah. And I think in one sense, that's fair. The problem is that we've used the emergency model as the model for economic development for 50-plus years. And the second part of the problem is that not every moment in those 50 to 70 years in the developing world has been this tragic emergency need. And so, what's happening is--some[?]--it's a little bit of a sentimental argument that doesn't really go down to the deeper questions. And the deeper question, as I'll probably say more than once, is not 'What can I do to help?' Now, of course, I think we should absolutely be concerned with that. But I think there's even a better question, and the better question is: What do people in poverty need to create prosperity for their own families and for their own communities? And then: How can I go alongside them to partner with them to help do that? And I think there's a lot of people who are actually moving in that direction, so I think there's a lot of positive developments. But I think generally speaking, the way the dominant model of development--what we call in the film kind of the social fact of development: all these attitudes and assumptions and beliefs--have not really asked that question. The kind of underlying philosophical line of the film is that we have tended to treat poor people like objects--objects of our charity, objects of our pity, objects of our compassion--instead of as the subjects and protagonists of their own story of development. And this gets mixed up with this kind of social engineering idea. And so we really oftentimes use the developing world as an experiment for us to try out new policies and new theories. And I think we don't ask the deeper question. And again, this is a very complex question. I think your listeners know--I've heard different interviews with people: Poverty is very complex. There's no single solution. There's no silver bullet. But that what is it that poor people need? Well, we often are so focused on poverty alleviation we forget to ask, 'Well, what are these kind of institutions or conditions that help create wealth?' And once you have that, then you don't need foreign aid.
Russ: Yeah. It goes back--that insight of yours go back to a point I saw Angus Deaton make. I don't think he made it on my program--I'm not sure, but I saw it elsewhere for sure--where he says, basically: 'Why are we always doing things to people, not with them or for them? And why don't they get a say?' Of course, one answer would be it's hard to find out what they want to say: they don't have a voice; they don't have a mechanism for making themselves heard. And I think one of the things your film does that's quite moving--and it's a fabulous film by the way; I encourage people to see it. At the end of this conversation we'll be talking about how that's possible, I hope. But there are many, many places where I was moved; and I confess that there were parts where I cried--which could have been just for the mood I was in that day. But it's very moving. Guest: Thank you. Russ: So, one of the things that comes through very clearly is the frustration of people on the ground, living--the actual people, not their spokespeople, not their leaders, not their politicians--talking about, 'We just want to try to get on with our lives, and would you get out of the way.' Guest: Right. Russ: And it's horrifying to think that sometimes our good intentions actually get in the way. So, let's turn to one of those--you open with-- Guest: Yeah; can I say something real quick, real fast? Russ: Yeah. Guest: I think two things--first of all, thanks for your kind words. That's encouraging. It was hard. Russ: I bet it was. Guest: So, I appreciate it. But, you know, that was--one of our goals was really to, in one sense--we've known this; this is not brand new. But the channels of communication aren't really dominated by entrepreneurs or small business people in the developing world, and so we really wanted to give a voice to that. And the other thing--and we can maybe talk about this later--is even in the way we filmed it--and you may have noticed this--we were really trying to re-present the way people think about poor people. So, I talked about that objectification: usually you save a poor person, they are really kind of far away, they're poor, they're dirty; you can't kind of relate to them. And even in the way that the cinematography is done, does that. And we try to actually change that and do that to re-present and give that voice. And the other thing I'd like to say maybe early on, in case I forget: we'll probably talk about foreign aid, because foreign aid is the biggest thing. Right? But really the film--and this goes to my colleagues and I, our deeper understanding--is that foreign aid is really not the problem as much as a symptom. It is the cornerstone, the biggest symptom of a broken model of development that goes back to what you were just saying--as Angus Deaton says, we're doing things to people instead of giving them a say. Russ: Yeah, for sure.
Russ: So, let's turn to one of the examples that you talk about early in the film, which is food aid. Which seems like a great thing. Often the worst aspect of poverty is, one of them, is hunger--or worse, starvation. And so, what's wrong with giving people food? We've done, America and the West has done a lot of that. What's wrong with it? Guest: Well, there's a couple of things that we talk about in the film. So, the first thing is: When there's an emergency, when there's a crisis and people really need food, then it's a good thing to help. And we're very clear about that, and the people like [?] and other people in the film make this point. So, that's not what's really at stake. What's at stake is the larger way that it's done. We end up--there's a couple of things that happen with food aid. So, one is: We tend to subsidize our own agriculture in Europe and the United States. We then put tariffs on to protect our markets. We [?] on purpose: in the film there's an American farmer named Joel Salatin, who wrote a book called Everything I Want to Do is Illegal. And he actually makes the case that really a lot of these protections, so called protections of American farmers, aren't really protecting the average American farmer. They are protecting certain special interests. But anyway, so we do that. Then we ship the food over as foreign aid; and this is a good thing; we need to help people. Or, what we often do [?] that we talk about is we sell subsidized agriculture at low tariffs, and we dump it into the markets. And in doing that, we can actually undermine and destroy the local markets. So, what happens is, we protect our own agriculture and we destroy the development of other agriculture. And then if you look at what happens, it becomes connected to crony capitalism. So, The Guardian newspaper reported that out of $1 billion in American food aid, about 70% of that went to 3 companies. So, somebody is getting very wealthy on aid, but it's not the local farmers. And I think a better way of approaching that is: Okay, we've got an emergency; it's two weeks, a month, however; now can we start sourcing from local farmers? And what you actually ended up doing is driving people out of the agricultural business. Two of the commentators in our film mentioned that as Haitians were driven out of agriculture, they ended up moving from the country into the city, causing lots of congestion but also creating a lot of problems when the earthquake came, as well. So, it's not so much that food aid is bad in itself, but that the way it's been done--I think one of the men summarizes it in the film quite well. He says, 'The earthquake happened three years ago, and they are still giving away free rice.' It's not an emergency any more. Russ: Yeah. That's what's fascinating. I don't want to miss this quote, but I want to come back to the food issue. So the quote that I--I'm not going to get it verbatim from the film but the idea is the same--so, sort of a warning that, after the earthquake, one of the biggest threats is going to be from the NGOs--the nongovernmental organizations that are going to stick around. You'd think that would be a big plus. What's going on there? Why are they not good for the people on the ground? And you show--you have a great little montage where you show--typically we're looking at the sides of SUVs (sport utility vehicles) and cars and vehicles that are in place with the logos of these NGOs to show that they are there; and they all have nice names: Aren't they helping? Guest: Yes, that's a real interesting kind of problem in the developing world. So, Haiti is called oftentimes by Haitians 'The Republic of NGOs.' And they are making this point that it's not really run by the government or the people of Haiti. It's run by the NGOs. Now, obviously that's hyperbole. But still it addresses something. Some people say there's up to 10,000 NGOs in Haiti. Others say it's 3--and there's some debates with the numbers. But per capita, one of the highest places in the world. And as the guys in the film say, some NGOs do some good. But a lot of what happens is, NGOs end up--similar to foreign aid: they end up crowding out local businesses. And so one of the stories we tell in the film is of a solar panel company called Enersa. And these guys hire people from really some of the poorest places in the world. There's, one of the neighborhoods outside of Port-au-Prince, or within Port-au-Prince I should say--it's called Cité Soleil. And at one point it was ranked by the United Nations the most dangerous place on the planet. And these and the neighborhoods, these guys at Enersa, the solar panel company, are hiring these guys to come work. And so they were building up the company and doing a lot of interesting things. So, they give an example of an NGO who helped them. There are a couple of NGOs and finance companies, even one who has been microfinance who moved into this mid-level financing, who helped them. So there are definitely positive things with NGOs. But at the same time, so before the earthquake, they were selling about 50 streetlights a month. They make these solar-paneled street lights. And they have little plugs: you can charge your mobile device, whatever, right there. And they are really made--it's pretty interesting how they do it. They have to make the whole thing so that nothing can be stolen. Right? So, it's a very interesting system, they have. So, they are selling about 50 street lights a month. And after the earthquake, they sold I think 5 streetlights in 6 months. And even though the demand went up. So, here's basic economics, right? There's an earthquake; the demand goes high for solar panels because electricity is out. And the local solar panel company actually loses money. Well, why? Because NGOs came and many NGOs get government money--we can talk about. But NGOs came in and they started "giving the stuff away for free." And they actually crowd out local business. And I asked. I said, 'Well'--then one guy says, 'What do you expect businesses to do?' I said, 'Did you talk to those people?' He says, 'Yeah. We met them many times.' Right? And this is really part of the poverty industry, right? That NGOs oftentimes, and social entrepreneurs and foreign aid, we're--like we're thinking about how we're reporting, right? And this is a little complex so I don't want to go too much into it--it's complex in that it's too much for a radio or a conversation in an hour. But complex in that where we talk about social impact--so, let's say we're delivering shoes or blankets or whatever it might be. We only tell us [?] like well, how many blankets I delivered, how many shoes delivered, how many people got them, what was my cost, what was my return on investment if it's a social entrepreneurship, etc. But we don't really look at the social impact. Like, did we actually put other people out of business? Now, if we're in a free, kind of competitive business relationship where different firms are competing, I don't care if your business puts me out of business if you are providing a better service at a lower cost. That's great. But that's not what's actually happening. What's actually happening is, with the benevolent intention to go help poor people, we are actually destroying companies. And when we destroy companies we're not just destroying one or two entrepreneurs who could start another one. We're also disemploying--if that's a word--all those men, those fathers, in very poor areas, who don't really have that many other opportunities. And this is where--there's some hostility there, to the NGOs. And one other thing, I talked to--this is not in the film, but Herman Jinere Hesse[?], who is the Guineaian[?] entrepreneur who shows up in the film quite a bit, he explained it to me this way, too, is that the other problem with NGOs is that you'll have this kind of pressure from the United Nations, the World Bank, USAID, etc., and it's pressuring down[?] these policies or these kind of social changes. And then, at the bottom, you have "grass roots NGOs" who are pressuring from the bottom. So from the top to the bottom, these African governments are being pressured. But of course the money is being funded from the World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund)--to these so-called grass roots organizations it's a lot more astroturf than it is grass roots. And so, there is a frustration with NGOs that, despite their benevolent language, if you look at what they do, they actually end up harming people more than helping them.
Russ: So, there's two issues here, one of which is: Normally free stuff is good. If somebody says to me, here's something either cheap or free, I'm happy to take it, and take the money I would have spent elsewhere, spend it on something else. So that's usually a nice thing. And when we get rid of tariffs our prices go down, and we say that frees up resources to do things more effectively--to have expansion of opportunities. And I always argue that tariffs don't create or hurt jobs--they change the kind of jobs we have. So, that's in America. And I've talked about this--it's been a long time since we brought this issue up, so I'm glad to be talking about it again. Long time listeners with good memories will remember these conversations from a few years back. But normally, you say, 'Well, if you're going to be giving me rice, if you're going to give Haiti rice, then Haiti doesn't have to grow rice any more.' Just like when we import more cars from Japan, we don't have to make as many cars here, and that frees up people and resources to make other things. And similarly, if you are going to give me solar panels, those men you were talking about--I assume it's mostly men in those solar panel factories--they'll go make something else. I guess, it seems to me that, maybe in some situations, Haiti being one, there isn't something else. It's not a very dynamic labor market, not a very dynamic capital market. When you find something that actually works, you have to hold onto it very closely. Is that accurate? Guest: Well, I think that's really a good point to make. There's a couple of things that are somewhat paradoxical [?]. I agree with you on lower tariffs and the free stuff. I think you're right. So, here's a couple of problems. So, in one sense, what's the big deal? We're getting free stuff; can't we go do something else? And, you kind of hit the point here: We assume in a dynamic market economy that if something free comes in, then we can use that labor and move it somewhere else and start a new business. So, I'm going to jump ahead, and then I'll jump back. The thing is, we take for granted a certain, what we call 'institutions of justice' in the film. We take these things for granted that to us are normal--that is, like clear title for land, ability to register your business without undue burden, ability to engage in economic activity and free exchange, enforcement of contracts, and all these things. Well, these things actually don't really exist so much in lots of places in the developing world, or at least they are not very strong and effective. So, it's not so simple to just kind of start a business. That's one problem. The other problem is, is that it's erratic. Okay? So in the United States and Europe, if free food is going to come in to the city--I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan--it's going to be on, you know, on the Internet and on Twitter and we're going to know free food is coming in; and somebody's going to be complaining and other people are going to be happy. Etc., etc. We have a lot of information to be able to make decisions in markets. Not perfect information, obviously, but we have information to kind of make decisions and change and see what's happening. This is really a little different in the developing world. It's erratic. One of the guys we talked about--TOMS Shoes, one person explains, when the bus arrives-- Russ: Explain what TOMS Shoes does. Guest: Sure. So, TOMS Shoes is what's called a social entrepreneurial venture, and Blake Mycoskie is the founder of it. And the idea is that if you buy a shoe in the United States--if I go to a fancy store there's these kind of like--you've probably seen them around or your listeners have seen them around--there are these Argentine-style shoes. If you buy one of those shoes in the developed world--United States, Europe--a free shoe, an extra pair of shoes, I should say-- Russ: Two of them. Guest: Yeah. Russ: Not that cruel. Guest: Everybody has one shoe, yeah. No, it's not that bad. A pair of shoes gets sent down to the developing world for a child who needs shoes. Russ: Sounds great. Guest: And so, when the shoes come in, does that put out of business local cobblers? And the answer is--goes to this question--it's like, who cares? That's good. Then they can use those, reallocate those resources. Russ: And parents who couldn't afford a second pair or maybe even a first pair will have a pair for their kids. It's great. Guest: Yeah. So, there's a couple of problems with that. I don't know if you want to go into that now, Russ. Russ: No, go into it now. Guest: Okay. Well, there's a couple of problems. One is going back to this question: it's erratic. You don't know when the bus is coming. So, for the cobbler, he can't simply predict, 'Hey, guess what? I hear some shoes are coming in. Let's make sandals.' Or let's make iPhones, or whatever it might be we are going to make because we don't need to do this any more. It's just kind of coming in blind. And so that's the one problem that's erratic. The second problem is, as I already mentioned: it's not really so easy to do the shift. And the third problem is: Because it's not--and this is where I think it's very important to talk about--because it's not, say, a competitive market economy--so I'm repeating what I said earlier--the intention of the social entrepreneur, the intention of the NGO or aid is to actually help those communities. Now, there's no doubt that some people get a benefit. But this is exactly like what we were talking about--tariffs, or crony capitalism. Some people get benefits. But the overall--the economy doesn't grow. And so if the intention is to actually help the economy, then the measurement by which we look at--are you doing good?--has to be measure. So that's the big picture. On to TOMS Shoes: there's really two or three critiques of TOMS Shoes that we heard. One is the very similar to what we're talking about now: when you give shoes into a community, you are actually helping some people but you are hurting the local cobbler and the local economy, and some different people who then go out of business. So, and then those shoes maybe won't come to that community again for another year, etc. So, when you talk about sustainability, self-determination, a lot of those things get broken by free things. So that's the first. The second: Of course, some people complain about the quality of the shoes. But, I don't think that's super-important. I mean, I think it's a little important, but I don't think it's the main thing. But the third thing we heard that was kind of a surprising point in the film--and so, I asked this man named Daniel Jean-Louis[?] about TOMS. And he was very critical about how they come in and harm local businesses. He was also critical that, because they are NGOs, or social entrepreneurs, they are actually giving away free goods. Not only are they undermining businesses, but they are not paying taxes. And so, it's all part of what one of the guys explains, cutting the link between the government and the people. We can talk about that in more detail. But they are not paying taxes, so they are not contributing--this is the other. But the biggest critique he had, which I thought was really interesting, is: So, I gave him this iPad, and I said, 'Daniel, what do you think of this commercial?' And the commercial said, 'We want to be a for-profit business'--that's TOMS Shoes--'so that we could be sustainable and provide shoes for children for the rest of their lives.' I said, 'What do you think about this?' And now, I had spoken to Daniel; I knew what he--he's actually pretty much of a free market guy and he was going to be critical of, basically, distortion of the market, etc. But he said, 'There's no words to describe this.' He said, 'Saying that you want to provide children for shoes for the rest of their lives is implying that you don't want them to have shoes so that you can provide them.' He said, 'No one wants to be a beggar for life.' And this actually struck me really powerfully, because I was expecting kind of the economic response. But he gave a much more anthropological response. Like, 'Look, your short-term help is like a small band aid on a larger problem. But if it were just a band aid, that would be fine. But it actually creates to perpetuating a problem of joblessness, inability to build markets, etc., etc.' And it creates a poor [?]. So that was his reaction.
Russ: I think it's more of a--his criticism I think is a sociological critique or a philosophical critique. Guest: Right. Russ: Makes sense in that the idea that somehow there will never be a child in the developing world who won't need our shoes is a tragic thought. And it does encourage us and them to think of a dependent relationship rather than a more cooperative relationship. So, that part I agree with. I think on the economic side, I have trouble with the argument, again because it's a little too much like the buy local argument, the idea that somehow they've got to buy their own local shoes. It would be great if they can get their shoes, if they can buy their shoes, outside; and really, if people dump free shoes for the rest of eternity into Haiti and the poorest countries of the world, I don't think that would be a tragedy per se. I think the erratic part--I think it's the erratic part, but not quite what you emphasize. You emphasize that it sort of comes out of the blue. Well, a lot of innovations come out of the blue and we expect entrepreneurs to deal with the creative destruction, and some of them can't. That's life. That follows inevitably. But it's more like: Here's a truckload now, and we don't know when the next one's coming, because they're not here to make a living. They are here to be helpful. And they're not going to be reliably helpful. Their stake is smaller. I think that, combined with the lack of dynamism of the market, has got to be where the damage comes. At least, that's my thought. Guest: I think that's basically right. It's kind of going back to the underlying assumptions--the dynamism of the market and this, when you have creative destruction and you have a new innovation that puts people out of business. That's great; like, oftentimes you'll hear people say, 'We need to defend business.' I think business is great; I've written about business as a moral enterprise and its value. I don't really care about business. I care about a free and competitive market economy. That gives people opportunity. If you go out of business, good--that means that you are not serving other people. I'm glad you went out of business. That doesn't mean that I don't have care or concern for the people who lose their jobs. Russ: [?] transitions. Guest: Yeah. It's difficult. Russ: You shouldn't get a voice to preserve your particular style of manufacturing or whatever it is. Guest: At the expense of others. Russ: Yeah, at the expense of others. Guest: So there is a lot of things going on here. And it's kind of interesting, because when I talk to people who are kind of [?] free economy, they always bring this point out: Isn't it good? And in one sense, yeah, it's good to get free things. But I think you've hit it--it's the erratic--because there is no market, there is no connection to living, it's not reliable. So you can't really make decisions there. And then, the other problem is this: It's that, if it were a free and competitive economy, if these poor people were not fundamentally excluded from what I call the institutions of justice--if they were actually able to have a dynamic economy--this wouldn't matter very much. Russ: That's a good point. Guest: And so, this is why actually I think, to maybe shift the discussion a bit: I think there's a problem with foreign aid, there's a problem with NGOs, there's a problem with charity of different types, and social entrepreneurship. But the biggest problem is we are not focusing on the core questions. And this is where the perpetuation-of-the-industry theme comes through. What are the core questions? What the people need to be able to create prosperity in their own families and their own communities. And this is complex. I'm not saying it's not. But there are certain key things. One of them is: Clear title to your land. And we talked about this in one of the sections called "Excluded." Clear title to your land. In some places, 50, 60% of the land has no title. If you don't know who owns the land, then you have no incentive to start a business, because it can be taken away from you. And it can be taken away from you especially if you are a widow or an orphan. So, if you are poor, you are in a dangerous spot. That's number one. Number two: Access to justice in the courts. I think it was the Center for Research of Justice--I forget the name--in India, did a study and they said on average it takes 20 years to get your court case heard. And it costs a lot of money. So, if you are poor, you are completely excluded. The second part of the justice, that we address in the film, is just the ability to register a business. And so, I think many of your listeners probably know the work of Hernando de Soto. But, de Soto decided to test: Okay, I can set up a business, because, you know, I can get a driver, get a lawyer to take me around. I lived in Nicaragua for 3 years, and you see this all the time. You see, if you are wealthy and connected, you can get a lot of things done. He said, 'But let's see what happens if you are poor.' So, de Soto set up a little sewing machine shop about 5 kilometers outside of Lima. And he got 4 student lawyers to go around and follow all the rules and regulations in order to start up a business. And they couldn't take, [?], air conditioned Toyota Land Cruisers. They had to take the busses and they had to go through all the things, get all the paperwork done. And it took them 289 days, 8 hours a day. Two hundred and eighty nine days to get their business registered. That's 289 days of not being able to work, right? Because they are spending their time doing this. And so, what he said is that the legal system is simply unfriendly to poor people. And this--so, if you don't have private property; if you don't have access to justice in the courts; if you don't have the ability to exchange--if you have to sell your goods to a government board instead of onto the market--and then you are going to compete in the global agricultural market against the United States and Europe, that have high tariffs, while they are tweaking tariffs and dumping free stuff, or more basically dumping subsidized stuff, it's a lot harder to respond to these erratic, big influxes of food. And so I think that the bigger question is not, 'Okay, does free stuff hurt?' but again, shifting the discussion to how these people--like, why do they need foreign aid in the first place?
Russ: So, I totally agree with that, obviously; and I think--it's interesting to me. Hernando de Soto was an international phenomenon and got a lot of attention, and his work got a lot of attention. And you just gave a perfect example of the kind of insight. I mean, that's an incredible discovery, right, that the world works really poorly for poor people. And probably for some rich people, too, in those countries. And there's a lot of barriers to innovation and to small enterprise, small business. The question is: why isn't--I don't think we've made a lot of progress in--'we' is the wrong pronoun. I don't think countries that have those problems have done much about it. I don't hear anything about it. So I'm just going to raise a question: Celebrities take a beating in your film, which I can-- Guest: A gentle beating-- Russ: Correct. Which I enjoyed, I have to confess. But a thought experiment: What would happen--I'm thinking of Paul Romer's, perhaps Quixotic attempt to create a charter city, a city that has a certain set of governance rules that might be more conducive to enterprise and prospering and flourishing and human creativity? What if those celebrities said, 'We're going to pick one country and we're going to try to find a way to put pressure on the government--we're not going to put pressure on people to give money; we're not going to put pressure on governments to give more foreign aid. We're going to put pressure on a particular poor country's government to lighten the red tape burden.' Now, part of the challenge is it's hard to write a song about it. So it's a big-- Guest: I've tried. I have really tried. Russ: It's a big problem to get people emotionally attached to this idea. But you'd think if we could motivate people at the celebrity level to deal with this very small but perhaps crucial thing, we could create a little natural experiment, where a country could actually, perhaps, there would be some kind of difference that would be observable. Because right now, I think mostly--when you give the de Soto evidence, like 289 days, and we all nod, we shake our heads, we go, 'Oh, that's horrible'--it's like: Now what? Not much has happened from that. Do you--what do you think? Guest: Yeah. I mean, that's the big question, right? That's what happens. Okay, now what do we do? And I think some people are trying to do work on land titling, besides de Soto, in addition to de Soto, and working on justice questions like access to justice and things like that. You know, I mean, I don't know. I'm--it's a little weary of the kind of social engineering aspect of getting celebrities to kind of do that. Russ: For sure. [?] It's better than what they are doing now. Guest: Yeah. That's for sure. Exactly. I'm hoping Bono comes out with a song about private property soon. But, you know, that's a real question. So, there's a lot of things going on here that are difficult. So, first of all, the typical way we think about foreign aid--so let me, I'm just taking a second. So you would, sorry [?], we think about poverty, we kind of think there's maybe 6 or 7 solutions. Right? The first idea is if we could just give more stuff. And that's not just foreign aid as we've talked about it. You know--I've heard many religious leaders say things like, 'If North American Christians could just get together and be more generous, we could raise $84 billion and eradicate extreme poverty forever.' And the answer is: 'No we couldn't.' Because poor people are not poor because they lack stuff. Poor people are poor because they lack these institutions of justice we talk about. Right? The other thing you hear is: 'Oh, we need infrastructure and education and health care.' And all those things are very good. Right? But they actually are really--they are a result of wealth, before they become the cause of it. You don't see life expectancy shooting up really high until you get to a certain point. So, the other, so the real question is: How do you get the institution of justice? And I think--like you had Daron Acemoglu on your program a while back. And part of Acemoglu and Robinson, I think their critique of, like, policy as the solution. Like, the ignorant kind of predict they make, like if we just put the right policies in, it will work. I think they are right. I think this is one of the dangers to the thought experiment. When we say, 'Put pressure on governments,' we tend to say, 'Let's privatize,' or 'Let's create a market,' or 'Let's create this thing or that thing.' But if you don't have the underlying structures and institutions of justice--if there is not, say, fairness--and another, to your listeners out there, trust. You had this, I think this, Weingast--is that right?--talks about what law is. And this was really interesting as I listened to it: Wow, that's Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica. So, these aren't new-- Russ: I'm sure you were joined by thousands of listeners who had the same spontaneous thought. Guest: Twitter blew up. Russ: I noticed. What does Aquinas say, and why is it related? Guest: So, well, Aquinas just talks about, in law, that it needs to be promulgated. It needs to be--to use some of the language--it needs to be promulgated; it means you need to know what it is, beforehand. It can't be retroactive. It needs to be universal: It needs to apply to everyone. Right? And it has to be in a court with reason. Etc. So, it couldn't be some like radical--how could I possibly discern this? And then of course there's other philosophical and theological questions that he has, right? So, he says that positive law, human law, needs to be in line with the natural law. And the natural law is the cognitive access of the mind to the eternal law. And so, the natural law basically needs--some things are morally evil and some things are good. And that there is justice in the world, there's a certain kind of justice; and an unjust law is in fact no law at all. These are really complex. Volumes, hundreds of volumes were written on Question 94. Russ: If Aquinas were alive and we'd have him on, and we'd knock it out in an hour-- Guest: Yeah. Sure. So--Aquinas, kind of interestingly, because Aquinas talks about private property as well. He takes property very seriously. And following Aristotle and following Hebrew Bible. These ideas of the importance of property for social cohesion are not new. So, the question is: Why do they arise in some places and not arise in others? And then: Are there ways to create incentives for them? And here's like--so, I thought the book, Why Nations Fail, is really good. Talking about institutions and the work of Douglass North-- Russ: That's by Acemoglu and Robinson. Guest: Right. But one thing I thought was a little bit problematic: I thought they had kind of a limited view of culture. You know. And I would need to go back and read it again-- Russ: Well, they're economists. Guest: Yeah, there you go. Russ: Serious. Guest: I should have just-- Russ: I wish it were a joke. It's not. Guest: But they have this limited view of culture, as if somehow these political and economic institutions are disconnected: they don't emerge out of culture. But they do emerge out of culture. And, so really, the--whatever, $5 million, whatever $64,000 question is: How is it, if we know what are the certain political and economic institutions that enable prosperity, how do we create the incentives and the encouragement for those to be built? And I think that's a really complex answer. Russ: That is the $64,000 dollar question; we don't have an answer to it. If we did we'd be using it, or at least we'd be trying to use it. And as you point out, I think the problem here is partly that the interactions are too complicated and we don't have the levers that would incentivize people to do the right thing. Guest: Yeah.
Russ: I talked about this a couple of weeks ago with Pete Boettke, talking about the aftermath of Katrina here in the United States, a developed country; and people have recently written about the 5-year aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, and it's mediocre. It's depressing; it wasn't very successful. And the aftermath of Katrina is not so successful. And I think those are two parts of the world that have something in common, which are that some of the glue that holds other places together for some reason isn't there. We don't know how to get it there. It's an interaction, as Pete describes it, a three-legged stool interaction: government, private enterprise, and culture. And we don't have a good model. There's x1, x2, and x3; and that doesn't get you very far. Guest: Yeah. I think there are two questions, one smaller and one more direct to this conversation in the film. The bigger question [?] is that when you look at the developing world, if you say, okay, we know what institutions are needed--and I think, so Acemoglu and Robinson make this point, like you can't just privatize; you need political economy. And I think that's right. But the question is, if you are in the top level, if you are one of the oligarchs, in Latin America, Africa, whatever somewhere, there's no economic incentive whatsoever for you to help create the institutions of justice. You don't need them. That's one. Number two, even if you are in the upper middle class, right, you don't--so I lived in Nicaragua. I taught there. But we had a driver and a maid. And Theodore Dalrymple says beautifully in the film, you know: 'Schumpeter says a maid is worth a household worth of appliances.' Russ: Right. It's lovely-- Guest: Driver, maid, it was fantastic. And I wish we had one now. It would be great. But think about it: in the United States and Europe where you have to develop dynamic economies, you have to be pretty wealthy to get a maid. So even in the upper middle class, they don't really have an incentive to create this inclusive economy of justice. So really in one sense-- Russ: I'd say they have a disincentive-- Guest: Right-- Russ: Because the system is working pretty well. It might be better. And you might have some compassion for your maid, who would maybe have a better, richer life if things changed. But then maybe you wouldn't have a maid. So it's kind of hard to be a big cheerleader for losing your maid. Guest: Exactly. I couldn't agree more. And the other thing is it gives you something to kind of lament about. Right? People like something to lament about: 'Oh, wouldn't it be great if things were better.' Well, you don't actually have to do anything. You just can kind of do a little bit here or there but it's not going to have any impact on your life. So you have this incentive problem. And I think that underlying--and this is very complex, but I think underlying the institutions of justice is a certain kind of cultural and moral framework. And this cultural and moral framework is ancient. It appeared over time, and developed, in a very complex and up and down manner--it wasn't linear--over time in certain places. And one of the problems with modern economics is that we've split moral philosophy and economics. And so like, Adam Smith, of course you have that lovely book on Smith--Smith didn't do this. He saw economics connected into moral philosophy. And this is a problem-- Russ: He kind of did. He did keep it separate as two books. But I take the point. Guest: Yeah. Exactly. For Smith, we can read your book and not talk to me. I'm not a Smith expert. So anyway--but generally speaking, it wasn't like somehow [?]. And I think that this makes economic development even more complex. So that's one thing; let's just put that aside for now. There is one thing, however, I think we can do; and that is, if celebrities--I don't know if they should do this thought experiment. I'd love to see celebrities talking about property and justice in the courts and ability to register a business. I think it would be great. Let's get Bono to start talking about these things, and I think it could have absolute impact. So, Russ, if you and I, we can get Bono together-- Russ: [?] Guest: You're a rapper, so we can do it. Russ: Definitely. I'll draw on my musical roots. Guest: But the other thing is to say that part of the problem is that the poverty industry as it is now operating creates the incentive for governments in the developing world precisely not to build these institutions of justice. Because we are doing all these things that end up--the governments don't need a vibrant tax base and a dynamic economy to be able to stay in place. And so what's happened is that we've used this kind of sentimental--this goes back to our earlier in our conversation--sentimental language, like, 'Oh, the poor, we have to help them.' And so we use emergency models for 70 years to create precisely the incentives that are needed for governments not to build inclusive institutions. And so we may not be able to solve the deeper problems, and they are not easy to solve, and they weren't solved in Europe and the United States very quickly. But we can at least change the direction of the poverty industry. And here's where celebrities also have a lot to say. Russ: Yeah. I think that's the most important point: we may not know how to fix it, but we certainly know how to make it worse, and we should stop doing those things that we are doing that make it worse.
Russ: Now, you raise this issue of moral philosophy, and it let's me segue into something I want to talk about, which is: there's an increasing interest, and we had Chris Blattman on talking about it a while back, a year or so ago--an increasing interest in cash transfers. So, one of the critiques of the Aid movement is it's project oriented: we bring rice or we build a dam or we build some kind of infrastructure project like a dam. And that's not necessarily what they want, but that's what our contractors want to push for, and so there's this terrible Bootlegger and Baptist thing going on. And that's part of the problem. So what we need to do is just give people money. Because when you give them money, not a lot necessarily, but that helps them get through the worst of things. And there's some empirical evidence now that maybe that's an effective way to help. So, there's a lot of push for this. My thought is that--I'm open-minded about it. It might be a good thing. But I do think giving away money has challenges and some issues. So, I want to hear your thoughts on that. Guest: You know, that's really interesting to me. I don't know so much about it. I will look into it. I can't really comment intelligently on that, because I just haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it. But I think that, you know, they are--giving away things, period, there are some challenges to it, because depending how it's done it can be more positive or more negative. And so how it's done has to be really thought through. And maybe Chris Blattman, as you said, is doing this. When we look at, say, microfinance, for example where money is not being given away--it's actually being lent--microfinance can be very positive, or negative. And one of the ways it's positive is when the money is lent for economically productive activity, versus when the money is lent simply for consumption, because that creates consumer debt. However, this may not--I haven't thought this through. This may not apply to just pure cash transfers. What do you think? Russ: Well, what I was hoping you'd talk about, and you don't have to, is this idea that work is good. That--I think of-- Guest: Oh, yeah. Sure. Russ: I think of Gerard Manley Hopkins--he says, 'This is my work; for that I came.' And this ties in to a lot of our-- Guest: "As king fishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame". Russ: Correct. Exactly. And I think, when we talk about this, either dystopian or utopian future where robots are going to do everything for us, which I think is silly--I don't think that world's going to be. But if you worry about it, one of the things we've talked about here is some of the meaning that people get from work is, maybe need to be more challenging. I don't know--it strikes me that there's something--the word that comes to mind is 'thin'. Something thin about thinking that what people need most is stuff. Now, of course they do if they are near starvation. Of course they do if--you know, money is incredibly important when you are near poverty or are desperately poor. So in that case, maybe it is the right thing. But at the same time, depending on other people as a solution, not as a stopgap, not as an emergency, strikes me as a bad model; and it seems to be the model that the United States is heading toward. In turn. For us. We have falling labor force participation; we have more and more people on disability. And we seem--a lot of people are okay with that. And I don't think that's a very healthy thing. I don't know. Maybe I'm old-fashioned. Guest: No, I actually think--I don't know about the economics so I'm a little bit reticent about that. But I do think, in the question you bring up in the dignity of work, this is very important. I think that work is not--work is clearly the utility, you are doing something, right? But a business, when people are engaged in work, it's a community of persons getting together to take care of their own needs, right? And then providing goods and services to meet the needs of others. And there's a whole--like, there's just layers of the importance of what work does, work does for the common good; what business does for the common good. And then what work does for the individual. You know--what do you see when you see a guy who is kind of drifting, he doesn't know what to do with himself, a 20-year old, not sure: you say, 'The guy needs to get a job.' Why do you say the guy needs to get a job? Right? Why is the 20-year old college student who is just wasting his time, why does he need a job? Because a job actually gives this kind of, empowers the person. It requires the person to do certain things to flourish as a human being. And so there's a whole concept of the dignity of work. We talked about Aquinas: if you want to look at what work does--so, in a Christian understanding, a Jewish understanding of work, work comes before the Fall. Right? Work is not a punishment for sin. Work comes before the Fall. And the person--Adam--is given the responsibility to take care of the Garden. And really to complete creation. There's this kind of deep dignity of work. And then further from that, you have what some philosophers talk about--the intransitive and the transitive dimension. So, the transitive dimension of work is that you are making something or producing something of value, or you are serving other people. But work also has an intransitive dimension--that it's actually shaping you. And this is, I think this underlying--part of the underlying problem with the humanitarian model, right, is that humanitarian is really a hollowed out type of love, of charity. Right? So if you look, and I won't go into the details of this, but humanitarianism is a type of kind of secular Christian love. Right? Medieval; we don't want that, let's not have all the religious attachments; let's just make it about caring for people. And so I think there's--I actually understand why. Let's actually go to look at it a little carefully. The word "charity" as you and your listeners know comes from the Latin word caritas. Caritas is love. And what is love? Love is to seek the good of the other. It is the intentio benevolencia--the intentional desire for the benevolence of the other person. Which means you want to help promote human flourishing. And that means you want to engage[?] in the person in a way that helps them flourish as a human being, not simply just be able to buy stuff and comfort themselves with entertainment and food. Because that's not a rich human life. And so, this I think is, really this kind of problem with humanitarianism, is that it doesn't think sufficiently about human flourishing, about treating a person like they are not simply an object. And so to use kind of a Nietzschean language, humanitarianism has this limited horizon--it stops before it reaches the spiritual capacity of the person. It trans-values, and it makes comfort, and maybe to basic needs, it makes that the highest value instead of recognizing that as something that is helpful and essential for a greater kind of human experience as a person. Russ: I think it comes back to what you said before. I don't think there's any doubt that a humanitarian urge to help a person who is drowning or starving--you should treat them like an object. Guest: Absolutely. Russ: You should grab their arm and pull them out of the water and you should throw food at him and let him figure out what to do. I think the biggest challenge of the longer term more extended model is, first it hits the knowledge problem, which is: I don't know what that person needs; and I think that's at the heart of your critique in this film and it's the heart of what Angus Deaton was trying to say in that comment--I think I already said it; I'll put a link up to it. And it also comes back to--if I can come back to Smith for a minute, it comes back to this idea that if you want to trade with somebody, you have to try to figure out what they want. You have to extend yourself. You can't just say, 'Here, this is good enough for you because I like it.' You can't say, 'I figured you'd like this.' You have to get them to choose what you've provided. So you have to put yourself in their shoes; you have to love them in some dimension. And I think that's the cultural virtue behind free markets, when it works right.
Russ: We're low on time. I have a lot of things I want to ask you about--not that the last part wasn't interesting. Say two minutes on the Apparent Project, which was an incredible 20 minutes, 15 minutes or so in the middle of this film and the way that orphanages are run in poor parts of the world, which is just shocking. Guest: Right. So, the Apparent Project--we told the story in the film of a couple named Shelly and Corrigan Clay[?] who are Americans, Christian kind of missionary. And they went down to Haiti to adopt a child. And they had actually gone down to start an orphanage--Corrigan had about $30,000 from savings and some money he had inherited. They were going to go down and start an orphanage. So, they went down; they worked in an orphanage for about a year, and they were going to adopt this Haitian child. And the orphanage director said, 'Would you like to meet the mother?' And they were a little bit taken aback--[?] thought didn't have parents. But, okay. Is [?] she fine with that? And the director said, 'Oh, yeah, she's fine with that. She comes every couple of weeks and brings him things and talks to him.' So, they saw the mother coming to see the child. And then they met her. And they said it was very obvious that the mother loved this child. And they said, 'Why are you giving her up for adoption?' You could see that they [?] the mother. And she said, 'I just can't afford the child.' And Shelly said--it was this shock: Here I am spending $20,000 on an adoption for a child that the mother wants. Well, they began to look around, and they discovered that in their orphanage, I think it was like 22 out of 26 children actually had at least one living parent. And that, generally speaking--and this is conservative, and there have been some Haitian government reports, it's in the New York Times, 80% of orphans in Haiti have at least one living parent. And so, what happened is, is that these guys--they are Evangelical missionaries; and so, in the Letter of James in the New Testament, Christian Bible, it says, 'Pure religion is this: to care for the widow and the orphan in their distress. And to keep oneself unstained from the world.' That's what it says: pure religion is to care for the widow and the orphan. So, they are going out and kind of: We're going to care for the widow and the orphan--and what they discovered is that a lot of the care for the widow and the orphan, especially the orphan in this case, actually was creating incentives for parents to give their children away. So it was creating economic incentives. Now, I want to say something about the film, too. And you probably noticed this, Russ. But we did not take abuse of a good thing and tell the story of that in the film. So, like, 'Foreign aid was given for rice but actually it bought weapons that killed the population'--no, we didn't do that. We didn't take--in Haiti in different places sometimes children in orphanages are trafficked. Right? We didn't talk about that, on purpose, because what we were trying to show is not the corruption of a good thing, but actually-- Russ: Even at its highest level it's not very good-- Guest: Right, good people trying to do something, we actually were not paying attention to like, anthropology, philosophical anthropology, how human beings operate; and then incentives, economics, what we end up doing is we actually create incentives to actually create harm. And so 80% of the orphans do have parents. And they've given away as really economic relinquishments. Well, what they realized is, 'This is a disaster.' And they began to think: 'Why are we focused on children?' What if instead of focusing on children, we created jobs, to allow parents.' And so they were artsy types, and so they said, 'Let's do something that we can do.' And so instead of building an orphanage and raising money, they started a business doing like necklaces and things. And they now hire, have about 220 people who work for them. Shelly Clay estimates they are caring for about 720 children, plus; and not with any money but actually with only selling goods and services. And Corrigan said, 'We went down there with $30,000. We now make that much, plus, a month for our workers.' And so, what's actually happened is that people's lives are transformed. And you know we tell the story of this one woman, particularly, in the film--her name was Macalain[?]--and she was about to give her children away for adoption. And Shelly met her, and Shelly said, 'I'll take a risk: would you like a job?' And by the way--Shelly and Corrigan, they will fire you if you don't produce. It's a business. It's not a charity. Russ: But they do raise money. Guest: Yeah. Russ: It's a mix. It's a little bit more complicated. Guest: No, absolutely; it is more complicated. Because they have kind of an NGO part and they have kind of a--exactly. But their thinking was: If we can actually create jobs, then we don't have to worry about the orphan problem. Now, [?] raise money and some of this they've kind of developed because I know the thing is growing very much. It's always kind of interesting to me--I mean, I'm not opposed to raising money; I have to go look more deeply at what they are doing. Russ: I give a lot of money to charity; I think it's a good thing. I [?] critical about giving away your money or having people use money wisely. Guest: Right. I should give more to charity. I totally think charity is a good thing. It's very important. But I think what's happening is they realized, 'Look, the biggest problem is not that there are orphans. It's that there are parents who don't have the means to take care of those orphans.' And Corrigan says something really powerful. He said, 'If you had a child, if you had no job and you had children and you couldn't take care of your children, and someone said, "Hey, I've got an idea: I'll take your children, I'll take care of them; everything will be fine," what would you want?' And he said, 'No, I don't need that. I just need a job.' Russ: Yeah. Guest: And it's almost funny--like we go--I was going to say about the raising money--we go to these incredibly creative schemes to raise money to help poor people. It's like Americans--I go to Europe sometimes and I have a little fun with the Europeans, like, 'Don't worry. It's okay. I'm American. I'll solve your problem.' Like, 'We knew you guys thought like that.' Okay? It's like everything they expected, that. But in one sense Americans are problem solvers. We are entrepreneurs. We go out and do these things. Once we walk into the developing world we enter into this kind of boring box of humanitarianism. And we don't really apply all of our entrepreneurial skills to helping create jobs and solving the problems of institutions of justice. Instead, we apply our creativity to figure out how we can raise money to create another project. And it's not--it's not wrong. I'm not saying that. But I think it's deeply unfortunate.
Russ: So we're almost out of time. We're a little bit over. Talk about, just a couple of quick things about the film itself. How long did you work on it? What kind of reaction is it getting? And how can people see it? Guest: Okay. So, the film--it's probably 3 years, I would say the whole thing took. We actually did some filming before that. We started doing some filming for another project I directed, a DVD (Digital Video Disc) series called Poverty Cure[?] DVD series[?]. So we have some--there's a little bit of an overlap in those two things. So, because we had done that--it's a little bit longer, but the film probably took 2 and a half years to make. So it's really complex. But we started showing it last year; we showed it at a couple of film festivals. We showed it at a libertarian film festival. And we were very delighted. We won, actually, 3 awards, including Best Film. But we were also a little disappointed because we did not want to make a political film; and I thought, 'Okay, we all of us work; it's going to be limited to the libertarian and conservative groups.' And about 10 days later we won Best Documentary at a very progressive film festival. So that was really encouraging. I texted our Director of Photography and both of us were very excited. We had hoped to make this film that way. We got some good feedback and talked to a lot of filmmakers and they said to us--it was 94 minutes--they said, 'You need to cut 3 minutes out.' About 3 or 4 minutes. 'Don't worry about 5 or 6. Just 3 minutes.' So, anyway, so then we went back to the--so that part extended; that part was a little over--we went back and we fixed it. We worked on it. We fixed the opening scenes. We got a lot of filmmakers who were generous with their time to give us feedback. And so, at this point, now it's all been color-corrected and everything. We've played in over 40 film festivals. Next month we got accepted to a film festival called IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), which if you are kind of a documentary geek is the largest film festival in the world; it's very prestigious. In Amsterdam. We've won a good number of awards; we've been really delighted with the response. Again, all areas of the political spectrum. We are playing in universities as well. So, we are distributors--we have distributors called Robofilms[?] who is doing our educational distribution and international. And then we are partnering with a group called TUG[?] to do community screenings. We actually have, in the 10-day period that we're in the middle of, we're actually playing in 16 different cities. So, I was just in San Francisco and we played on Sunday. We were in Lancaster, Pennsylvania last night; we were in Washington, D.C. with Global Health Corp on Friday. So we are playing in a lot of different places. I think last week was our 6th screening at Harvard: we played at Harvard Law School. We had a sold-out show of over 350 people for the Harvard Business School. So, that's been really interesting as far as reception. And a lot of that is actually student-led. Especially in a place like Harvard and Cornell, where there is a lot of international development work going on. We've played numerous times at both of those places. Mostly led by students. And a lot of--by African business forums and African business groups. And it's been great. Some people don't like the film, of course. But generally speaking, the reaction, we've been delighted. And we've been very happy. And also it's very interesting to see the different reactions. Right? Like how an American group will react to Theodore Dalrymple when he says, 'I bought my first home on the proceeds of aid. Aid has been very good to me.' Everybody is kind of anxious in their seats when we show that to African groups. They're like, 'Oh, yeaah.' So that's been fun. Different things. So we've been really happy; we've, like I said, played in a lot of film festivals and a lot of universities. And we're really just kind of getting started for that. So, if people are interested in hosting a screening, they can go to PovertyInc.org, and there's a screening page. And we have educational licenses that can be bought for community screenings. They can be done through what is called a Crowd-sourcing model. Or community screenings where an organization can just buy a license and then invite people to come, either to a theater or to their offices or whatever it might be. Russ: Will there be a point in the future where you can just watch it on the web, or Netflix or TV? Guest: So, we also have another distributor called Brainstorm Media out of California, and they are doing our iTunes. And we may do a very small and theatric release in New York and Los Angeles. And it looks like we are going to iTunes, probably February or March. But would say, especially for those listeners who are professors or students: It's really great to watch the film with other people and have conversations. There are times when some of--I or some of the other filmmakers--can't make it. So if they are interested in hosting a screening it's definitely more fun to watch in a group of 100 and have a discussion afterwards. But it will be out on iTunes, early spring, early March; and if people are interested, they can go to povertyinc.org and sign up for occasional updates. We're not big enough to spam.