Last year Claremont McKenna invited Bono to come speak about his charity efforts in Africa. Bono spoke for around 24 minutes and was paid $100,000. Naturally, his questions were screened by Pam Gann and we weren't allowed to take any photos at all of his talk. For someone who wants to spread the message of hope, I have to wonder why he so zealously denied college students the ability to take pictures.
The event was an opportunity for him to talk about the One campaign that seeks to make poverty history by spending lots of money and effectively extending the welfare state internationally. You might remember that I covered his visit in The Claremont Conservative and The Claremont Independent's article, "Bono: Friend of Poverty, not the Poor."
Through the ever articulate Pam Gann, I asked a question regarding people like William Easterly of NYU and author of The White Man's Burden. Bono replied Easterly was "mean-spirited" and didn't want to help Africans. It was an easy attack for Bono to make. Easterly is a white professor from America and in today's climate of global dogoodery, he's suspect. Easterly worked for the World Bank, a group that often just throws money on African dictators and ends up perpetuating busy as usual.
Fortunately for those of us skeptical of the aid industry, Ms. Dambisa Moyo is everything Bono is not. While Bono speaks about the African people have "music in their soul," Ms. Moyo is an economist from Goldman Sachs. He's a celebrity; she holds advanced degrees in policy and economics from Harvard and Oxford. (And might I add that she's pretty good looking and that he looks like he's had one too many late nights with The Edge, but that's another matter.)
The central thesis of Ms. Moyo's book is that the lavish amounts of foreign aid -- more than one trillion since 1945 -- have had perverse incentives at building nation states in Africa. Aid encourages corruption and delays good governance. She asks, why do we even bother voting for our leaders when we should just vote on what each agency provides?
Here she is in The New York Times discussing what has held back Africans.
What do you think has held back Africans?Naturally, I'm in love and you should be too. I confess that it seems downright seditious to suggest that the current foreign aid model doesn't work, especially at Claremont McKenna where many of the IR types are convinced that it works. Nevertheless, I've been thoroughly persuaded and hope you will be too. Here are the best interviews I've seen with her recently. I've divided them into audio/video and print.
I believe it’s largely aid. You get the corruption — historically, leaders have stolen the money without penalty — and you get the dependency, which kills entrepreneurship. You also disenfranchise African citizens, because the government is beholden to foreign donors and not accountable to its people.
an excerpt from her book, Dead Aid.