Poorism is the process of people visiting or touring poverty stricken regions across the world. The history of the process is traced back during the Victorian period when respectable middle class groups in London decided to tour seedy regions like Shoreditch and Whitechapel. On the other hand, the wealthy people from New York toured through the Lower East side and The Bowery with the main intention of viewing how the poor people lived. However, though the process poorism was celebrated during this period of time, today, it is considered as a major concern it the society. In the 21st century, residents of poor communities and neighborhoods together with journalists have viewed the trend of poorism to be voyeuristic act because it involves exploitation of the poor people. The issue has also been debated by poorism supporters who claims hat frequent poorism has helped in creating awareness of the state of poverty across the world. Nonetheless, the process of poorism has continued to be a controversy with other people supporting it while other individuals condemning it as addressed in India case on D2L and this is analyzed below.
The debatable issue
Based on the case study, the main problem that needs to be solved is exploitation of the poor communities in the name of poorism which raises the question regarding ethics and values from those who support the act. However, though the issue has been debated intensively on the case study, it elaborates on the theme of poverty because it is the center of discussion. The main question that can be asked and debated is: does poorism bring any forms of benefit to the people? Based on the case study, there are several organizations that take part in poorism but do not positively contribute towards it. They fail to donate any share of profits to those communities that they visit which is an ethical behavior. It is because they do not contribute anything towards changing their conditions regardless of the fact that they are in a position to do so in an effective way. It means that the community locals whom are visited by these rich individuals do not benefit anything from those tourists. The only benefit that they can acquire from them is when they purchase food from their small shops though there is no much difference that is made in terms of change especially if it is one day tour. It means that the spending habits of these tourists are not reliable in any way especially in terms of income for the local individuals.
There are several cases that have been recorded when the tourists end up walking through the slums minus conducting any form of purchase. To make matters worse, they only share mutual benefits with the tour companies rather than the people whom they have come to see especially the manner in which they live. Those people who oppose the idea of poorism have made claims that this is an act of exploitation which is an ethical on their behalf. However, one fact that remains is that tourists are people with money and when they go out on a tour, they can money with them which they use when they desperately need it. Failure to spend that money on the people who needs it desperately to change their living condition does not make sense. At the same time, opportunities always exist for them to provide their support to the local community. The opportunities are everywhere whether tourists visits regions such as Nairobi slums in Kenya or favelas in Rio de Janeiro. All the tourists need to do is hand over the money to individuals who need it or are responsible enough to ensure that it is used to transform the lives of the people in the slums. It is the best way to avoid exploiting the poor people in the name of touring.
However, the motive behind poorism is also important. The relationship that the tourist develops with the people in slums or poor areas is important in determining their values behind their tour. Those individuals who oppose poorism claim that if the motive is purely voyeuristic, then there is no moral value behind it because it brings no benefit to the people. It does not make sense for a person to move from the United States to come to Nairobi Kenya to look at the ways in which the poor people live in slums and take their photographs minus making any positive contribution towards transforming their lives. The act should not be accepted because it is exploitative making it hard for tourist to make any ethical justification behind poorism.
Nonetheless, those who support poorism have a totally different view regarding the whole concept. They believe that by touring an area and taking picture or videos of the people and the poor conditions which they live, they are making the world aware of global poverty. They argue that without tourist, the world may not become aware of the poverty that lies beneath especially in developing countries. However, those who support poorism have also argued that the slum tours should be conducted in a managed and organized way. The main idea that they are trying to put across is that it is the responsibility of every tourist to ensure that they benefit the people whom they have visited in one way or another. For instance, if they believe that their role is to make awareness of the extreme poverty across the world, they should inform people who are willing and ready to make a change or transform the lives of the community. They may not be in a position to relieve those whom they have toured of their troubles, but their contribution or visit should be felt in a positive way.
Innovation and new technology
Today, there are several tour organizations across the world whose aim is to bring awareness regarding the poor condition of some individuals across the world. However, the new trend is that the tourists are involved in educating the people they come across as a way to transform their lives. It is the best way in which they are trying to eliminate any negative stereotype that is surrounding the issue of poorism. In addition, they market the people especially their potentials and abilities to appeal more to potential tourists across the world. They use online platform to share ethics and values regarding how these people lives which is the best way in which they show social responsibility. They use pleasing words to market the most important aspects the community’s life they would bring them benefit rather than people judging them.
The current situation
Since the case was written, several people are touring various parts of the world which are affected by poverty but making positive contributions to change the lives of the people. Social media has played a crucial role in not only promoting various communities, but also allowing the tourists to tell their story about different lifestyles. The focus is not only on the poverty but also the culture and lifestyle of the people which is important in bringing positive change for that community. The issue regarding poorism can be linked to theory of practice in that it diverse motives of social beings especially their ability or inability to transform the world around them.
In conclusion, poorism is a debatable issue especially the ethics behind it. Many people consider the act as unethical because it does not bring any positive change to the people. However, in order to support their claims, pro-poorism has argued that poorism is one way in which awareness is created in the global world regarding the poor conditions of living among certain communities. Nonetheless, technology such as the use of social media has transformed the ways in which tourism is viewed today across the world.