I’m hearing this term, “fight poverty,” repeated a lot lately with the Live Aid concerts in the news. And fighting poverty is a good thing, to a point, but I wonder just how much long-term good Live Aid and other initiatives like it will have? After all, throwing money (and food) at the poor is only a temporary fix. In order to remove them from poverty you must teach them how not to be poor, and that can be a complicated task.
For one, the environment must be set in order for them to flourish. Governments friendly to capitalism, entrepreneurship and free trade must be put in place so that those who are the smartest and work the hardest will be rewarded the most. In order for such a government to exist the people must be allowed to choose their leaders. And in order for there to be plenty of hard-working smart people around there must be good educational system as well.
The key to this all is not how much money can be raised, but how soon freedom and democracy can be brought to the region. Right now it seems like this Live Aid stuff does little more than feed a bunch of hungry people who are suffering under the various yokes of totalitarian regimes.
Food is important too, but if we want Africa to be truly successful, and remain that way, we will bring them political change as well.