By Ben Cohen
A great piece by Marina Hyde on the hypocrisy of Bono style poverty solutions:
And so to our old friend Bono, who this week announced he is displeased
at being called a hypocrite for moving his tax affairs to the
Netherlands, all the while lobbying the Irish government to increase
its aid budget. As you may recall, the Tax Justice Network estimates
that if tax was paid on the money the world’s rich have protected in
tax havens, it would raise enough to finance those millennium
development goals five times over.
It seems to me that people are fed up with rich people congratulating themselves for all their efforts to reduce poverty. The noxious book by Bill Clinton called ‘Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World’ exemplified this type of faux solution to structural poverty. I turn to the brilliant Chris Hedges:
His book is the political equivalent of
It is filled with a lot of vapid, feel-good stories about ordinary and
wealthy Americans setting out to make the world a better place. It
smacks of the philanthropy-as-publicity that characterized the largesse
of the robber barons—the Mellons and the Rockefellers—and has become a
pastime for our own oligarchic elite. Clinton’s call for charity is
the equivalent of well-scrubbed prep school students spending a day in
a soup kitchen, doling out food to the people whose jobs were
outsourced by their mommies and daddies. It does little to alleviate
suffering. But it is a balm to the conscience of the oligarchic class
that profits handsomely from the impoverishment of the working class,
globalization and our anti-democratic corporate state. The rich love
to dine out on their own goodness.
Hopefully the banking crisis will underscore how crucial government is in redistributing wealth as the minimal charity the rich doles out begins to dry up. Philanthropy is all well and good, but certainly no long term solution to the poverty created by neo liberalism.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.