« Rove The Source Of The Plame Leak? | Main | A truly hardened criminal »

Will Live Aid End Poverty?

I'm hearing this term, "fight poverty," repeated a lot lately with the Live Aid concerts in the news. And fighting poverty is a good thing, to a point, but I wonder just how much long-term good Live Aid and other initiatives like it will have? After all, throwing money (and food) at the poor is only a temporary fix. In order to remove them from poverty you must teach them how not to be poor, and that can be a complicated task.

For one, the environment must be set in order for them to flourish. Governments friendly to capitalism, entrepreneurship and free trade must be put in place so that those who are the smartest and work the hardest will be rewarded the most. In order for such a government to exist the people must be allowed to choose their leaders. And in order for there to be plenty of hard-working smart people around there must be good educational system as well.

The key to this all is not how much money can be raised, but how soon freedom and democracy can be brought to the region. Right now it seems like this Live Aid stuff does little more than feed a bunch of hungry people who are suffering under the various yokes of totalitarian regimes.

Food is important too, but if we want Africa to be truly successful, and remain that way, we will bring them political change as well.


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Will Live Aid End Poverty?:

» larry borsato linked with Fighting poverty.

» Reasoned Audacity: Politics in Real Life linked with John Detained by Police Here in Edinburgh

Comments (20)

Good points. And how exactl... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Good points. And how exactly is all of this goodwill via direct and indirect assistance from NGOs/citizens (and the preachy, detached, well-heeled) going to get through another gauntlet of totalitarian regimes which always manage to skim exhorbitant portions of worldly contributions?

Is it really that the "wealthy states" are caught unawares of famine/illness/death in third and fourth worlds of the planet? Hardly. It's that they, as you describe, are unable and/or unwilling to depose such regimes. One can question the morality of such a decision but it is no surprise that such conditions exist for humanity in parts of the world that will not change their environment whether it be social, governmental, or economic.

Live8 is a feel-good tonic for a select few with little staying power... just as was LiveAid. Another moral question that should be asked in parallel is "should richer states continue to subsidize wealthy tyrants across the globe by mortgaging the future earnings of their own citizens through forced taxation?" I'm certain the pedestalled artists and advocates would rather not consider such ethics.

I must disagree with this:<... (Below threshold)

I must disagree with this:

-- After all, throwing money (and food) at the poor is only a temporary fix. In order to remove them from poverty you must teach them how not to be poor, and that can be a complicated task. --

The poor will not cease to be poor by learning any particular thing, unless they first master another skill set: how to be successfully poor. For poverty is the first step to affluence -- but only if you do it right:

-- Live beneath your means, however humble they are, which allows you to accumulate savings.
-- Invest your free time in the acquisition of skills useful to others.
-- Study the behavior of the non-poor, and discriminate between incidentals (e.g., happy consumption) and essentials (e.g., work ethic, low time preferences, and appreciation of savings).
-- Acquire as many non-poor friends and well-wishing acquaintances as you can, for even in the freest markets, people greatly prefer to do business with friends.
-- Internalize the all-important rule: an economy is not a zero-sum game. Except in cases of theft and government predation, one man's gain is not some other man's loss. Envy of the better-off has done more to lock people into poverty than any other identifiable force.

This set of attitudes and competences is as vital to the progress of the African poor as it is to the American poor.

AnonymousDrivel, you must h... (Below threshold)
Wanderlust:

AnonymousDrivel, you must have been channeling me on this subject.

I'd like to throw my lot in with those who think that the "make poverty history" sloganeering is nothing more than a little dose of feel-good for the Gulfstream set.

Remember, this is the same group that whines long and loud about US foreign policy in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, where we deposed governments that pillaged and slew their own citizens. Yet the problem with "make poverty history" is that the only way to end poverty in those countries is to first depose the despots who got their governments into debt in the first place, and replace them with leaders who will listen to the will of the people.

Oops...the "will of the people" can also bite you in the ass...especially if the people's will is to elect officials who will impose sharia law, thus disenfranchising the electorate. Don't forget how elections can be twisted, if someone wishes to prove their legitimacy to lead solely by electoral vote (I'm thinking of a certain election in 1933 here).

Meanwhile, we throw money at these countries in the vain hope that they will lift their citizens out of the poverty they put their citizens into in the first place.

If there was a more clear example of "misplaced mercy" than this one, I'm hard pressed to find it.

(sigh)

Isn't it Live 8 and not Liv... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

Isn't it Live 8 and not Live Aid?

I believe Live Aid raises money to try and help alleviate poverty in the world while Live 8 raises no money but attempts to raise awareness of the problem of poverty in the world.

So, Live Aid throws food and money at the poor, but Live 8 does nothing of the sort. If ive got my facts straight.

Francis, I think your advic... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Francis, I think your advice is more applicable for the poor in a wealthy country, where the rule of law is accepted, and corruption is minimal. All the savings in the world don't matter when they can be taken from you on the govenrment's whim, and learning new skills is virtually impossible when you don't have enough food to think about anything else.

Yes, Wanderlust, "throwing ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Yes, Wanderlust, "throwing money" is a popular solution and one that while seemingly convenient and expeditious is often counterproductive. Like a quick hit of methadone for a heroin addict, it feels good for a moment and addresses the most superficial conditions, but the underlying illness rages on and the cost of later intervention just escalates. Yeah, it's a poor metaphor but the best I could come up with on a holiday.


Baggi,

Yes, that is a very important distinction and one that should be emphasized, but probably for a different reason than many would expect.

From live8music.com:
"Geldof organized the original Live Aid Concerts which raised money in the past for African countries. Besides from raising money as Geldof’s original Live Aid concerts did twenty years ago, the main goal of LIVE8 is to influence the G8 group of industrialized nations that meets in Scotland in July 8th. The meeting is important because there will be eight world leaders discussing and debating the future of millions of lives."

Translated, that means debt reduction or removal, possible increased obligations for further direct or indirect aid, and who knows what else. It is a gambit to "win" billions of dollars by placing guilt trips on the "rich", developed nations, particularly the U.S. At one.org a press release "call[s] on President Bush to do the right thing".

The right thing, in their words, is for the unconditional transfer of wealth in the name of humanity... at least that would be how I would interpret such intonations. This scheme differs markedly from Live Aid in that that enterprise asked for direct aid from private citizens and interested businesses to get involved without the intervention of government. The Live8 tactic is considerably more insidiuos in that it forces the financial contribution from citizens whether they want to make such contributions or not. Governments will act as a collections agency with very possibly corrupt recipients distributing the new found wealth. Further, the Live Aid remuneration was chump change compared to the Live8 lotto.

I support aid when it is individuals giving what and when they want. Live8 does not meet that criteria. To appeal to government (the few) with intentional circumvention (of the many) is not the honest and ethical paradigm the promoters would have you believe. Further, it's considerably more efficient and profitable to sell your ideology to a few leaders and their insulated (and rich/powerful) cohorts who won't have to foot the bill than it is to gather your support piecemeal by appealing to the masses. As Live Aid illustrated, mass appeal is considerably less rewarding. Geldof is not some novice fundraiser... he has learned his lessons well.

I apologize in advance i... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

I apologize in advance if this double-posts but MT seems to have choked on my first attempt.


Yes, Wanderlust, "throw[ing] money" is a popular solution and one that while seemingly convenient and expeditious is often counterproductive. Like a quick hit of methadone for a heroin addict, it feels good for a moment and addresses the most superficial conditions, but the underlying illness rages on and the cost of later intervention just escalates. Yeah, it's a poor metaphor but the best I could come up with on a holiday.


Baggi,

Yes, that is a very important distinction and one that should be emphasized, but probably for a different reason than many would expect.

From live8music.com:
"Geldof organized the original Live Aid Concerts which raised money in the past for African countries. Besides from raising money as Geldof’s original Live Aid concerts did twenty years ago, the main goal of LIVE8 is to influence the G8 group of industrialized nations that meets in Scotland in July 8th. The meeting is important because there will be eight world leaders discussing and debating the future of millions of lives.",/i>

Translated, that means debt reduction or removal, possible increased obligations for further direct or indirect aid, and who knows what else. It is a gambit to "win" billions of dollars by placing guilt trips on the "rich", developed nations, particularly the U.S. At one.org a press release "call[s] on President Bush to do the right thing".

The right thing, in their words, is for the unconditional transfer of wealth in the name of humanity... at least that would be how I would interpret such intonations. This scheme differs markedly from Live Aid in that that enterprise asked for direct aid from private citizens and interested businesses to get involved without the intervention of government. The Live8 tactic is considerably more insidious in that it forces the financial contribution from citizens whether they want to make such contributions or not. Governments will act as collections agencies with very possibly corrupt recipients distributing the new-found wealth. Further, the Live Aid remuneration would be chump change compared to the Live8 lotto should it come to pass.

I support aid when it is individuals giving what and when they want. Live8 does not meet that criteria. To appeal to government (the few) with intentional circumvention (of the many) is not the honest and ethical paradigm the promoters would have you believe. Further, it's considerably more efficient and profitable to sell your ideology to a few leaders and their insulated (and rich/powerful) cohorts who won't have to foot the bill than it is to gather your support piecemeal by appealing to the masses. As Live Aid illustrated, mass appeal is considerably less rewarding. Geldof is not some novice fundraiser... he has learned his lessons well.

Yes, Live 8 and Live Aid we... (Below threshold)
rivlax:

Yes, Live 8 and Live Aid were the ultimate in Leftist meaningless gestures: making rich white performers feel good while doing absolutely nothing for Africa. Just look at the results. The fact that we need Live 8 is testimonial to Live Aid's abject failure.

Why, then does this blog site sign on as a Technorati Live 8 site? Another meaningless gesture.

The industrial democracies are treating Africa like a homeless shelter in your town. Thinking that giving them food and other things that normal people have to work for, feel-gooders are only enabling. Like the homeless in the shelters, we should just tell Africa to buck up, stand on their feet and solve their own damn problems. If that requires taking up picks, shovels and any other damn thing to overthrow their despots and install capitalism - the real answer to their problems - then they should get off their butts and so it.

Things like Live 8 only prolong the agony.

Governments friendly to ... (Below threshold)
John:

Governments friendly to capitalism, entrepreneurship and free trade must be put in place

2 out of 3 ain't bad. I strongly disagree with the free trade part. People in poor countries should be responding to local needs. For example, they should be growing food instead of making shoes. Sure they'll make more money, which will help them buy [expensive imported] food away from their follow citizens. Instead they should be making food, making it effectively cheaper and more available to everyone in their own country.

Hmmm.No amount of ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

No amount of feel-good nonsense from Geldorf and the other "give more money to africa" crowd is going to do anything to remove Robert Mugabe from Zimbabwe.

And as long as Mugabe is ruling Zimbabwe then there's going to be extreme poverty and hunger in Africa.

And all the other bastards just like Mugabe.

I can't help it but ever si... (Below threshold)
-S:

I can't help it but ever since yesterday, this attitude set in with me whereby I hear the "Sean Penn Puppet" from TeamAmerica referring to Africa-ending-poverty as a place with chocolate covered streets and happy, skipping children and...and...then he blows up! Just explodes! Overheats...and...explodes!

Sorry, but Liam Ghallagher ... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Sorry, but Liam Ghallagher said it best about Live 8. It's a grand gesture but useless. Nobody is going to watch Annie Lennox singing and say, "Well fuck me, she's got a point you know."

These events are for the uneedy, to do nothing and still feel as if they've done something. "Raise awareness" is the emperor's clothes of humantarian relief.

music to feed the world? if... (Below threshold)
slaphappy:

music to feed the world? if only that was all it would take.

S-F*CK YEAH!... (Below threshold)
epador:

S-

F*CK YEAH!

I can't get the tune out of my head :-)

I'm saying Live 8 can't hur... (Below threshold)

I'm saying Live 8 can't hurt. Aid helped. I'm pretty sure there is not one individual in Africa who received aid saying, geez I wish those rich bloated musicians in rich countries would stop giving my village food, and that it wasn't helping their career so much. If you look at it at an individual level y'all might not be quite so ironic and cynical. and really, with the over-intellectualizing of the issue. there are lots of good points made. Aid is not the answer. Neither is free trade. Fair Trade is what we want here.

Bruce Cockburn (in Barrie) yesterday said this, also, "you've been hearing from the cynical media a lot about how more aid won't help because the poor countries are run by corrupt despotic regimes. but what they aren't saying is that those regimes are upheld by the very G8 we're trying to talk to here."

Oh, and when we're looking Liam Gallagher for Christ's sake, about what to believe on economic and political issues... we got problems. fuck.

RE: kristin's post (July 3,... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: kristin's post (July 3, 2005 11:39 PM)
...I'm pretty sure there is not one individual in Africa who received aid saying, geez I wish those rich bloated musicians in rich countries would stop giving my village food, and that it wasn't helping their career so much. If you look at it at an individual level y'all might not be quite so ironic and cynical...

It's a bit difficult to get in to anyone's head, much less arrogant, hypocritic, detached artists who are quite beyond the travails of normal folk which constitute the vast majority of the Earth's inhabitants. That's not to say that some are quite sincere in their efforts despite being misguided. Bono, for example, I believe really does want to change the world into something he perceives as better. For the others, sadly, I retain my cynicism with some degree of confidence that their actions are quite self-serving. Madonna? Please, she's on another look-at-me-I'm-on-another-reinvention -and-aren't-I-great-for-bestowing-my-presence-upon the-plebes-tour. But I'll not dwell on this part anymore since I don't hold that much regard for these "world-citizens" (my quotes).

One point that I'd like to address, however, is the potential response of the assisted. Sure, I'll bet they are quite grateful for aid from whomever bears it, nevermind the conditions under which their dire need had been created. The thing is much of that aid (perhaps all) is doled out by the despotic leaders and their militias with any "Made In the USA/Japan/England/..." stamps yanked off or obfuscated. I recall seeing grain, for example, in the past on giant pallets being distributed with such stamps blackened. So, what happens is that the despot's deputies take material contributions, siphon a large portion of it to support their own militias or sympathetic agents, store some for blackmarket resale or export, and finally deliver some to starving citizens... maybe. The citizens, grateful for the handout, thank the despot for assistance without recognizing that it was the "evil rich" Westerners who made the contributions and not their intrepid president/government. It's a facade of generosity and the West receives little to no credit. Since aid is a method of winning hearts and minds, such a method of aid distribution is ultimately counterproductive. The West remains demonized while the despot retains sanctity... well, at least as far as subsidies go. And, as a bonus, we get to provide direct aid and comfort to oppressive regimes and reinforce their foothold, or should I say chokehold, on subservient masses.

I find perpetuating such infrastructures manifestly inefficient, expensive, unethical, and dangerous despite the fact that a substantively trivial amout of aid reaches its final destination. As I said, I retain my cynicism and raise you two doubts.

What is sad, kristin, is th... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

What is sad, kristin, is that a putz like Liam Ghallagher has clearer vision than most. I spent a lot of time in Africa in 1996 and 1997 after my military stint. In the military I did 23 humantarian missions, 17 of those in Africa. I fell in love with the place and followed my military career with the Peace Corps and USAID.

The Live Aid concerts did squat for Africa. I, personally, gave more money and provided more food to Africans than was generated by those bogus, rip-off, feel-good concerts. That's not a testament of my contributions but a condemnation of theirs.

Most Live-Aid money went to promoters and corrupt politicans.

But hey, a bunch of musicians felt better about themselves and that's all that matters.

If half the effort that went into promoting these concerts was spent, instead, in just loading a damn food truck it would be more effective than they have been.

Until the political corruption and tribal warfare are ended in Africa these type of "throw money into the abyss" are useless, meaningless gestures more designed for egotisical, pseudo-compassionate self gratification.

Want to see the sausage mak... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Want to see the sausage making of these self-sacrificing humanists? [Excuse me while I wretch...] Check out the English version of the grand display: Battle of the backstage egos via "This is London".

"SIR PAUL McCARTNEY, who both opened and closed Live8, made sure every one knew exactly whose show it really was by continually strolling up and down the backstage area with his entourage of six in tow."

"Wife HEATHER was filming the whole thing, and boasted that she was planning to hawk her fly-on-the-wall programme to networks around the world in six months."

"'I will get it syndicated worldwide,' she said. 'I have contacts with all the networks'..."


"A surly ROBBIE WILLIAMS used his two minders to keep away autograph hunters. Everyone was agreed that the singer, charm personified on stage, was the biggest grouch behind the scenes. He paced up and down outside his dressing room to make sure all eyes were on him but snarled as anyone came near him."

He turned on the charm, however, while being interviewed by the BBC's FEARNE COTTON. She blushed as he told her: 'My name's Robbie Williams. I'm single. I hear you're newly single. Why don't we get it on?'

"She replied: 'Can we save this for when the cameras are off?' But he continued: 'Make Poverty History and Get Robbie Laid - they're the two messages we've got today.'"


"BRAD PITT, on stage for all of two minutes, was furious that he did not have his own dressing room"


"Most obscure request of the day came from Madonna, who said she would drink only Kabbalah water - which she credits with getting rid of her husband GUY RITCHIE'S verrucas... Minutes after her powerful performance, she was practically dragged out of the backstage area by her husband who had a more than firm hold on her hand. But she made sure the other hand was free to pick up her A-list goodie bag, said to be worth £7,000, including jewellery and computer equipment."


Just lovely. Now this is for the benefit of all of those starving babies, right? And not for their own personal edification, self-promotion, egotism, and payoff? [crickets chirp and hypocrisy bellows] I'm afraid all of their songs and especially their message fall on my deaf ears.

hey... I wanted to add some... (Below threshold)

hey... I wanted to add something - I am no economist. I've read theories both for and against Aid to poor countries. I understand both sides and I don't understand both sides, but the conclusion I've come to is that Aid is Not The Answer.

I was at Live 8 in Barrie Ontario. I thought it was excellent in many ways... my friend who came with me was someone who had no real concept of the situation in africa. she felt educated and gladly so. and the real issue I think for me as a canadian is to get my Government more involved. the way to do that is to be loud, and a big enough threat to the current 'regime' who have an for whom an election threat over their head and an overthrow is not out of the realm of possibility. (Who doesn't love a minority Government?)

It has to become unacceptable to sell arms to governments who allow a majority of their population to remain marginalized and exploited. One of the messages delivered to Tony Blair by the Get On Board Grass roots movement said "G8 Leaders: Your Guns equals to Our Poverty"
http://getonboard.actionaid.org/ If we can get rid of Saddam Hussein (methods questionable tho they may have been) why the hell can't we get rid of Mugabe and all of the other tyrants?
One thing I've heard a lot and absolutely agree with is that 'Africa needs to fix Africa.' People need freedom and empowerment, education and enlightenment... they need the will to stand. It's been done. South Africa isn't perfect but it's an example of a nation repairing itself and healing from it's wounds. And Never Again should the words Never Again be uttered without the cajones to do whatever it takes for human rights atrocities and genocide to be eradicated. No food is not the problem, it's the result of the problems.

I don't disagree with very many points brought up in this thread (with the exception of the invocation of Liam fucking Gallagher) - but it raises questions. What is to be done? While Barenaked Ladies and Pink Floyd record sales skyrocket... WTF, celebrities are the face of the makepovertyhistory.ca... nobody else did it. I didn't do it. If energy was harnessed, enough to make something happen, I'm not too proud to be part of the movement even if Brad Pitt and Bob Geldoff and Paul MacCartney get the "credit". Because in the end, motives are what the man upstairs will look at, and I am happy with mine.

I'd say one thing would be ... (Below threshold)
Sj:

I'd say one thing would be to visit these countries. Go see how they live. Make it a vow to NEVER (unless I suppose on a honeymoon) stay in a fucking resort but go see the people, live amongst them. Get called names like I did but get out there. The pics I took don't do justice to some of the brutal things I saw. And some I just didn't bother to take.. but if you see it first hand..and have political and philosophical convo's with people who live there..well you will get a different view on things than just pontificating will ever bring you.

But, whatever right?




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy