Markets & Morality means business

The Knickerbocker Theatre hosted a showing of the film sponsored by Markets & Morality. “Poverty Inc.” last Thursday as part of The Big Read. The film was made by the Action Institute (a think-tank based in Michigan, which promotes free enterprise in a Christian framework) and questions whether aid organizations help or hurt the fight to end poverty. Daniel Jean Louis, a Haitian entrepreneur and author of “From Aid to Trade”, spoke after the film. He answered questions from students and members of the Holland community. After viewing the intriguing film, students may be wondering how they can get involved and learn more. Markets & Morality is a great place to start.

The first screening of “Poverty Inc.” on Hope’s campus took place last spring, and the film has already had a great impact on the community. “‘Poverty, Inc.’ is a wonderfully thought-provoking but ultimately uplifting film about how we can be thoughtful about empowering the poor,” Markets & Morality director Professor Sarah Estelle said. “We’ve been encouraged, but certainly not surprised, that Hope students and our community have responded so positively to the opportunity to think more carefully about what really works in caring for the poor.”

Student members of Markets & Morality also enjoyed the film and it’s message. “The film challenges us to have a mind for the poor, as opposed to just a heart,” Rachel Brumagin (’19) said, “And shows how aid can have a detrimental impact on the very problem we are trying to fix.” The film is an example of some of the topics discussed by Markets & Morality. Brendon Fuller (’20) said, “The film brought a different, eye-opening perspective to aid/non-governmental organizations and the adverse effects they can have on impoverished countries. I thought the movie was very thought provoking and it was a great example of the significant, real-world issues that we tackle in our Markets & Morality discussions.”

Markets & Morality will partner with the Saint Benedict Institute next year to host another film event. “Liberating a Continent” will be screened at the Knickerbocker Theater on Jan. 28. This documentary shows the role of Pope John Paul II in bringing about the end of communist influence in Central and Eastern Europe.

The group hosts other events throughout the academic year as well as meetings for members. Its positive impact can be seen in the enthusiasm and kinds words from student members. “There are a variety of majors represented and everyone thinks a little differently, but we learn a lot, talk a lot and build great friendships while doing so,” Adrianna DeNeef (’17) said.

There are multiple ways to get involved with Markets & Morality. Students can attend events or become a “friend” of Markets & Morality.

“Friends don’t come to the bi-weekly meetings but have the opportunity to join-us on some of our campus events and other engagement opportunities throughout the year,” Caitlin Lindman (’19) said. “I actually started out as a friend before becoming a member.”

Applications for new members are available in the fall and the spring. Students should email Professor Estelle at with questions.

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