Saturday, June 25, 2005

Sanctimonious Live 8 Alert

Again, a failure to comprehend anything other than a total adherence to their views strikes the Live 8 promoters.

Promoter MAREK LIEBERBERG is highly concerned that after approaching 50 huge German companies, not one offered to sponsor the high-profile gig.

Has it not struck Mr Lieberberg that they may not have considered that sponsoring the concert was that big a deal? He may see their profits as expendable; they don't - and rightly so, given that there is much at stake when running big businesses. Just because various high-profile campaigners have deemed Live 8 to be a "good thing" doesn't mean everyone will see it the same way. It's a form of "emotional correctness". And as I have argued before, it does nothing to actually encourage proper debate and fruitful courses of action.

The organisers of Germany's LIVE 8 have hit out at the local Berlin government and big business for failing to support the anti-poverty music extravaganza.....
Criticising the small concert venue the government have given permission for, Lieberberg predicts a "huge disgrace".

Well, Mr Lieberberg may or may not be aware of this, either, but Berlin is running at a pretty hefty debt, and with a pretty heavy deficit. And I think this hits on the biggest problem facing the MakePovertyHistory campaigners - how will you persuade people in the First World to be worse off as a result of actions? It's not just a case of aid; aid without reform will fail, as all attempts before have done. It means shutting down the arms industry when its making millions from sending arms to the Congo; it means cutting farming subsidies whilst opening up markets to the developing world (try selling that to Jacques Chirac). And I would wager that encouraging Berlin's municipal government to increase its financial obligations, and presumably thus cutting the provision of other services, is not a vote-winner. Even for something like Live 8 that will attract global attention, the sums to the politicians in the Rotes Rathaus just won't add up. City officials aren't elected to look after a huge political pop concert.

So whilst Geldof and Lieberberg may think solving Africa's poverty is the great issue and crisis of our times, their views are by no means widely held. They know this - that's why they are looking to raise awareness of the issues with these self-serving pop concerts (much easier to wear a wristband or sing a popular song than think in depth about what might solve poverty, after all). What they might want to ponder for a moment is that sanctimonious whining about people acting perfectly reasonably isn't a good way of convincing anyone other than the converted.