The film interrogates that warm feeling that most of us with means experience when we view images of African poverty such as the one shown to the right. We expect Africa and other developing areas to be poor, and upon viewing images of poverty, we start thinking about how we can help. And that often entails giving things away.
Poverty Inc. urges us to "have a mind for the poor," not just a heart. Having a mind for the poor means thinking about why people are in poverty in the first place and how the barriers to a better life might be removed. It also means thinking about the unintended consequences of giving stuff away. Most importantly, perhaps, it challenges us to think about how and why we would want a group of people to remain perpetually needy.