With aging rock stars preparing to descend like locusts on Africa for the Live 8 jamboree, Brit journalist Peter Hitchens dares to ask: ‘Can the starving children of Africa save our has-been pop stars yet again?’”
The Hitchens column is not available online, but Brendan O’Neill of spiked-online described it:
“Hitchens’ witty conceit was that Live 8 — an international music-fest fronted by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to ‘raise awareness’ about the Make Poverty History campaign, a kind of belated sequel to their 1985 effort, Live Aid — was more about feeding pop egos than feeding the world. Once again, he wrote, ‘the hungry, terrorised children of Africa’ are being called upon ‘to help rescue the sagging reputations of that needy and deprived group of balding, clapped-out rock stars who still long for the crowds that once listened to them’ Ouch.”
The rock stars, dear old things, are probably fairly harmless.
But when G8 leaders gather to discuss Africa next month, the potential for harm is great.
Their topic: “Africa and Climate Change.”
Inevitably, they will call for more foreign aid (which will prop up corrupt regimes) and additional climate controls (which will depress private enterprise).
Julian Morris of the (London) Spectator explains:
“Wood and dung are the primary sources of energy in Kenya and much of Africa — providing heat for the home and cooking. Clean fuels such as natural gas and electricity, not to mention central heating and air-conditioning, are luxuries reserved for plutocrats, politicians, and NGOs. Why do so many Africans rely on dirty energy sources? For the same reason that they are poor: their oppressive governments prevent them engaging in mutually beneficial economic activities. It is illegal in most African states to start a business without a license. And licenses are available only to those with government connections.
“Even if it were possible legally to operate a business, few would have the necessary capital. While their governments have been borrowing as if there were no tomorrow, most Africans cannot obtain a loan at any reasonable rate of interest. Those same oppressive, corrupt and incompetent governments prevent them obtaining good title to their land and thus they have nothing to offer as collateral.”
Here’s one thing the G8 leaders could rectify-but won’t:
“At present, government control of water leads to massively inefficient overuse. Privatising water would force consumers and producers to pay prices that reflect delivery costs, thus providing incentives to use water more rationally and encouraging new methods of production and delivery — such as piping water over longer distances or desalinating seawater.”