Wednesday, July 06, 2005

My way or the highway

So now we've had Live 8, a huge series of performances by some of the top performers ever with the stated purpose of helping Africa. Yeah, right.

It's true that it would do little good for all those millionaire musicians to raise money for Africa. The place has been an aid sinkhole for generations. But Bob Geldof et al have the answer
"This is without doubt a moment in history where ordinary people can grasp the chance to achieve something truly monumental and demand from the eight world leaders at G8 an end to poverty"
Yeah, you read that right - they'll hold the G8 nations responsible!

Um, how about holding the African nations responsible?
A 2004 World Bank report on corruption noted that bribery is a trillion-dollar industry, causing far more wealth to flow from poor countries to rich countries than the poor countries receive in foreign aid. Whereas an estimated trillion dollars of foreign aid was given to poor countries between 1950 and 2000, at least five percent of the world's domestic product (amounting to $1.5 trillion in 2001) goes into the financial markets of wealthy countries in the form of money laundering. Focusing on Africa, The Economist reported that 80 percent of the funds lent between 1970 and 1996 "flowed out as capital flight in the same year." Robert Guest, the magazine's Africa editor, estimates that this amounts to about 40 percent of Africa's privately held wealth. In his book The Shackled Continent, Guest goes on to note that although a "Marshall Plan for Africa" (as advocated by many supporters of foreign aid) might be a good idea, "Africa has already received aid equivalent to six Marshall Plans."
And Herb London asks
What happened to the $2 billion raised with Live Aid? Moreover, over the last decade government and private charities have poured over $25 billion into Africa for seemingly little effect? In fact, Africa has had an aggregate g.d.p. reduction of about 25 percent since the Live Aid concerts two decades ago.
If the morally trendy types who support initiatives like this had any grasp of reality, they'd realize that there's exactly one organization in the US that's capable of correcting the real problems that lead to the symptoms they want to address. And that organization is booked heavily in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere right now.

My bet is that the Geldofs would reject that idea out of hand. Far better than the impoverished should remain so until a solution acceptable to the the Geldofs is found, right?

More by Ed Driscoll here and Don Surber here.

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