Saturday, July 09, 2005

Live 8, Monetary Relief, Debt Cancellation, and a Load of Bullshit

I do not support Live 8, the purpose of Live 8, and the methods used by the concert organizers of Live 8. I fear that the popular facade painted by the celebrity supporters of debt cancellation is creating a generation of kids (and adults) who actually believe that simply cancelling debt and sending more monetary aid to African nations will solve all of the continent's problems. In the last 20 years, over $500 billions of aid has been sent to Africa. Yet, Africa is the only continent where the standard of living has worsened over the same period of time. More people live in extreme poverty, civil war still ravages many nations, and now AIDS is quickly creating a dying population and a society of orphans. Debt cancellation and aid will not solve Africa's problems.

Bob Geldof and Co. reinforce every bad stereotype about celebrities. They are self-interested, self-involved, and highly misinformed. No wonder so many of them have adopted Scientology. They understand about 1% of the problem and believe themselves to be experts in the field. Don't get me started on Bono. I have no desire to see another celebrity visit Africa as an official UN ambassador.

The social structure of Africa is near completely broken. The economic structure of Africa is largely broken. Funneling money into such a broken structure will only feed existing problems. Corrupt national leaders and powerful regional and tribal leaders have been syphoning off billions of dollars of aid for decades. Aid never reaches the people it is intended to. Aid does not create a government that actually respects the value of sound fiscal and social policy. It does not create educational systems. It does not provide health education. It does not dismantal a social structures that still treats women like animals and property.

I do not have the answer to solve Africa's problems. But I do not go around telling people that I do. I plead lack of intellegence. I am not very smart. That's why I don't work for the world bank or world trade organization. But I have just enough education to realize that the Live 8 concert and its message is naive, limited in scope, and potentially dangerous.

People of the world...please take an introductory economics class.

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