Thirty years ago this July, Bob Geldof helped organize Live Aid, a concert to help victims of a lengthy famine in Ethiopia. Months earlier, he was behind the release of the song Do They Know It's Christmas? that raised money for Ethiopia as well. While clearly well intended, both ventures - and the Aid ventures they would spawn - reflected a highly Western-centric and paternalistic view of Africans, portraying Africans as dysfunctional and helpless without the help of the Great White Hope. Their welfare is a contingent on Western benevolence, not their own initiative and creativity.
Pope John Paul II said the poverty is not lack of wealth. Poverty is exclusion from networks of productivity and exchange. The solution to poverty is appreciation for the God given creative capacity in each person and the inclusion of everyone in networks of productivity and exchange.
Now, thirty years later, some of these rockers are seeing the light. Bono of U2 has been singing the praises of entrepreneurial capitalism for a few years now. (Bono: 'Capitalism Takes More People Out of Poverty Than Aid') And now we learn Bob Geldof himself has entered the venture capital business. (Rock Star Bob Geldof Spearheads U.S. Private-Equity Push Into Ethiopia)
Below is a video interview with Geldof about his ventures. Note that right out of the gate the interviewer challenges Geldof because Geldof will be making a profit off of his ventures. Yes! That is exactly right! That is because profit for all parties is what happens when equals - creative productive people - specialize and began to exchange goods and services. Their profits get invested in expansion or in new ventures, creating more wealth, jobs, and higher standards of living. Instead, the interviewer's paradigm is of a patron to an inferior, an inferior with nothing of value to produce and exchange. Maybe some of our paternalism will begin to fade as these high profile celebrities begin to embrace economic development and exchange.