Become Part of the One

Tomorrow is a series of concerts called Live 8. They are being held to bring awareness to African poverty, disease, and overwhelming debt. You can watch them on MTV, VH1, and other stations. I know I’ve been accused of oversimplifying the dilemma of poverty around the world, and maybe I have. But when you strip away all the geopolitical constraints, the corrupt leaders of foreign nations, and the American excuses, there’s just no good reason why thousands of people should starve to death today. But they will. How is an eight-year old girl supposed to go to school when she has to walk five miles for clean water, then carry it back home? I believe with all my soul, with every fiber of my being, that we have the power to end this suffering. Go to today and sign your name to the petition. Contribute generously to Mormon charities – they do a remarkable job of aiding those who need it most.


  1. Aaron Brown says:

    For an interesting approach to international poverty alleviation, go check out In my less-than-educated opinion on the subject, microcredit institutions like Grameen Bank, etc., look very promising, and are probably worth everyone’s financial support. Unitus is the brainchild of Geoff Davis, an LDS alum of Harvard’s Kennedy School (who I knew briefly in 1999-2000), and so there’s a Mormon connection…

    Aaron B

  2. i am glad to see someone posting about this. i have been impressed by the one’s movement, and i hope that it will do well.

    isn’t it surprising how we complain so much about the size of our bodies being too big, and yet the only reason we even get to complain about it is because we actually have access to too much food?? we should be grateful for what we have. maybe if we wanted to shed some pounds, we could stash away the money we save on eating less, and send it to the church to use as they need. just a thought. (yes, fasting is already kind of doing that, but that is just one day a month)

  3. Mega Eagle says:

    You’re right. When you strip away all the good reasons for poverty, there’s just no good reason for it.

  4. Thank you for the reminder, John Hatch. You’re the only one in the bloggernacle to plug Live 8. I’m happy to see someone interested more in action than in arguing.

  5. danithew says:

    Mirand PJ, you are so completely wrong! There are plenty of people in the ‘Nacle who are interested in doing other things than just arguing. How could you say such a thing?!?! You are such a poop-head.

    Just kidding. Really. :)

  6. “When you strip away all the good reasons for poverty, there’s just no good reason for it.”

    Of course, there are no good reasons for poverty – just excuses. As Vaughn J. Featherstone once said, “No matter how valid, an excuse never changes performance.”

  7. Mark N. says:

    Sorry, the United States can’t afford this sort of thing.

    There are terrrrists out to destroy the Murican way of life. We have to take them on over there so that they don’t come over here. Contractors have to be paid. Weapons have to be bought and replaced. Duffel bags and duffel bags of cash have to get lost.

    I mean, really: what are you people thinking?

    :-( [/right wing mode=off]

  8. I hate to be the wet blanket, but this whole concert series seems an incredible waste of time and money.

    Here’s an idea, how about collecting money from the concert-goers, how about soliciting donations? I mean, raising awareness? Guess what, the G-8 leaders already know about debt-relief.

    What Africa desperately needs is stable, non-corrupt governments, not George Michael and Paul McCartney singing “Drive My Car.”

  9. Weezer1223 says:

    I agree with NFlanders. I think this is a big waste and will do little solve the world poverty problem. How about instead of getting together every twenty years to throw a big concert to raise awareness, big name musicians can stop wearing ridiculously expensive clothes, sell their several estates that they own around the world, get rid of their tricked out escalades, and give the millions of dollars they would save to debt relief. It’s not just corrupt leaders that are the cause of the debt problem, it’s the hyper consumer life style that we in the West live.
    And I don’t know why we’re in a such a rush to end poverty, AIDS, cancer, etc. I mean think about it. If there were no vexing problems with humanity, when would we be able to see Paul McCartney and Bono sing together, or the guy from Maroon 5 and Stevie Wonder get together for a duet? I say we only give our awareness and not do anything to solve the world debt problem for the sake of not preventing such beautiful musical partnerships.

  10. Seth Rogers says:

    From what I’ve heard, the whole “aid to Africa” movement is incredibly disorganized with rival charities competing for funding, getting in each other’s way, and duplicating each other’s efforts.

    NFlanders has a very good point about the state of governance in these nations.

    For now, I think I’ll take John Hatch’s advice and restrict my contributions to an organization I actually believe in: the LDS Church. I don’t mind parting with some cash. But I’d like some assurance that I’m not just stupidly “throwing money at the problem.”

    Besides, I don’t listen to Paul McCartney and George Michael.

  11. This old gray haired grandma (a slight exageration, I’m sort of hot for my age) thinks George Michael is so cute and I love his singing, but alas, there is that one problem of his sexuality. I mean, it’s hard to fantasize about gay men, for me, that is. Hmm..I wonder if that made any sense.

    But the thing about all these concerts and stuff that bothers me is how much they cost to put on and why don’t the stars just give the money to charity? They’re all millionares, it seems they could part with it.

    I contribute to the church’s humanitarian fund because there’s no overhead and I’m confident the money will be handled as honestly as possible in Africa, riddled with uh…that word that means deceit, consomething.

  12. HL Rogers says:

    I actually think the move away from donations and toward awareness is brilliant. Donations are impossible to sustain for long enough periods to convince democratic leaders that votes depend on their decisions in that area. However, if you raise voices in democratic countries those can be sustained and do impact votes–not as much as money does but I think the trade off is better in the direction of raising voices, awareness, and grassroots involvement.

  13. I think I have to go with the pro-awareness factor. My roommate works with legal refugees in a non-profit that was present at the concerts. She comes home with stories about what’s happening in the Sudan, among other places and I’m schocked at how much I don’t know. I consider myself a fairly informed person, but my eyes are continually being opened. Imagine those who are not so moderately informed. I mentioned some of the issues in the Sudan to a friend the other day who asked “The Sudan, what’s that?”

    Unfortunatley, the bulk of the country and world pay more attention to celebraties at times than they do politics. So if that’s the median that’s going to work, and jolt some into paying attention, I can’t see too much of a problem with it. I’m still for seeing my donations going into the trusted hands of the church system though.

  14. Mark N., your attempt at satire supposes that terrorists out to destroy the American way of life are a figment of the right wing imagination. I must have just imagined those newspaper articles about when terrorists blew up my firm’s New York office and killed a few thousand people for the stated purpose of ending our way of life.

    Does this blog have rules about personal attacks in the comments? Because I think Mark N. is a shithead.

    Back on topic: Kudos to Bob Geldof for publicly recognizing the fact, uncomfortable to many in his set, that President Geo. W. Bush has done more good for Africa than any other US president, and by a long shot. (But memo to Mark N.: mimicry of Bush’s manner of speech is still comedy gold after all these years. Keep it up.)

  15. Mark B. says:

    I saw a few minutes of a National Geographic special the other day. It was about some tribe in Africa. A boy who had reached puberty was going through some sort of initiation rite. Part of it consisted of spreading cow dung over his chest in a special pattern, and then all the young men (already initiated) participated in throwing more cow dung at him as he ran toward the village corral.

    Over at the corral, the girls of the village were taunting the boys, inducing them to whip them with switches. The boys finally gave in to their inticements (that was the point of the exercise) and the girls got the whipping they wanted. The old scars from previous such whippings were joined by new cuts from the new whipping.

    Now, I’m sure that the cultural relativists will have me shot for this, but: How on earth can Africa move out of poverty so long as their culture remains sunk in such barbarities? (Yeah, I know, the NFL is just as barbaric–but at least it generates huge amounts of revenues!)

  16. Geoff B says:

    Mark Steyn pretty much sums up my position on these types of events here:

    There are thousands of things that don’t solve poverty, and many of them have been tried. Socialism, corrupt government, trade barriers and anti-globalization, high taxes, no rule of law, no respect for property — these are the things that if they are not addressed will definitely allow poverty to fester. The things that do solve poverty have been tried in Asia and some Latin American countries such as Chile. They include free-market capitalism, lower taxes, free trade and globalization, the fighting of corruption, the rule of law and respect for property. But having a “pro free trade” concert would certainly not be hip so we’re unlikely to ever get one. Meanwhile, poor countries will keep on doing the things that keep them poor and hip leftists in the West will still get to go to concerts and write and talk about how they really, truly care about the poor.

    I think I’ll continue to do what really works by supporting business efforts in the developing world — and giving to the LDS church.

  17. HL Rogers says:

    You make it sound as if it is one or the other. Either we talk about it and involve ourselves in causes or we support businesses and business interests that work in poverty stricken countries. I find that very naive. Bono (the major force behind the One movement)has done a lot of good for those countries including pushing business interests, pushing democratic reforms, and raising money. He has gotten repeated kudos from politicians on both sides of the aisle as well as major CEOs. He should be given credit for pushing awareness over money and not letting us buy our way out of guilt (not that we have caused their poverty–which is debated–but because we have so much and they have so little).

    I don’t know who is worse the leftist that buys off his guilt or the right winger that rationalizes off his guilt. Neither one is actually accomplishing anything.

  18. Geoff B says:

    In the grand scheme of anti-poverty fighters, Bono is probably doing more good than bad. However, many others “fighting” poverty in the Third World (Madonna? Paul McCartney?? Elton John???) are just buying off their liberal guilt. Let’s see them put their money where their mouths are and start businesses in the Third World that actually employ people. The primary goal of this movement (to raise taxes in the developing world to hand it to corrupt dictators in Africa) is absurd.

    As for a right-winger rationalizing his guilt, I doubt your comment was aimed directly at me, but in case there are any doubts, I have done a lot more than my fair share — both with aid programs in poor countries and in terms of helping businesses grow in Latin America. One of the things you constantly find is that people simply want jobs so they can have dignity. Most of the leftist programs supported by Live 8 destroy jobs, thereby destroying dignity and destroying hope. Misguided policies like these are much more harmful than you may imagine.

  19. NPR had an interview with some guy in Edinburgh (OK, I know that’s vague, but I was driving and so not making notes, ‘kay?) who commented that Live 8 has focused attention on the G8 meetings, and that people are paying attention who may not have done so otherwise. And since it was on NPR, it must be true.

  20. After having read the main post and seeing many articles regarding the Live 8 concernts I must dissent in my opinions on the concerts and the organization behind it.

    John is right, “when you strip away all the geopolitical constraints, the corrupt leaders of foreign nations, and the American excuses, there’s just no good reason why thousands of people should starve to death today”. The problem is that these concerts don’t attempt to do any.

    Live Aid ’85 raised 200 million dollars for Africa. In a nation so entrenched in poverty 200 million should have been a significant cure. The problem is the local corrupt leaders that choose to genocide their neighbors take the money, witholding it from those in need and do a little publicity work to look good.

    Live 8 is a shadow of what once was. It has no substance but looks kinda cool. The concerts raised no money, only awareness. They claim that 10 billion people watched the concert. Imagine each person only paying 1 dollar to watch. Gift bags worth $12,000 were given to participants. The corruption has reached out of Africa and reached the hollywood elite that constructed this farce.

    The money raised, if any, will do a great deal of good, but what is neccessary is the political change and pressure that other nations need to put on those who continue to perpetrate this in their own countries.

  21. What especially destroys hope, dignity and the possibility of jobs are the tariffs and agricultural subsidies which the developed countries continue to impose. Unfortunately, these are not leftist programs, rather, they are quite bi-partisan.

  22. i still think it was a good idea, even if all it raised was awareness. first of all, who knows where the money actually ends up… a lot of it just goes to paying the bills to put the thing on in the first place, and then when it does go to the country, it doesn’t seem to reach the people who need it.

    however, the younger generation who may not even watch the news, now knows that there are thousands of people starving in africa. those of us who know of injustices, but don’t have money, now have a way to possibly do something by adding our name to a petition for G8. people are talking about it, and although some of it is negative (like why not raise money) at least the problem is out there and people do know about it.

  23. Geoff B says:

    Bill, are you ready for “Free Trade 2006 — A Worldwide Concert to Really Help Africa?” I’d help put together a concert and contribute mightily for that. Unfortunately, it will never happen.

    Republicans and Democrats should both be ashamed for supporting tariffs and agricultural subsidies. Bush’s steel tariffs were devastating to the cause of free trade, but at least he supported Cafta. Recently, he said he would drop all US agricultural subsidies if Europe did the same. But of course no takers in Europe. We need a lot more of that kind of action, which would help people much more than monthly Live 8 concerts.

  24. Mark N. says:

    gst, when the Bush administration gets around to figuring out where the 8.8 billion (with a “b”) dollars “that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while [L. Paul] Bremer was in charge [and] is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it has gone” (see this story for details) really went, then I imagine we’ll be able to find a few taxpayer dollars for other noble causes.

    I believe that the ill-advised war in Iraq is going to end up bankrupting the U.S., and in more ways than one. I’d love to see our government spend money and alleviate the suffering of countless persons around the world who are in need, but I sure don’t trust those running the show at the present time to do it.

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