The original Live Aid back in 1985 was something I supported. I watched it, gave them my money and continued to vote for Margaret Thatcher in the next election because, just like in Africa, extreme statism needed to be opposed in the country I lived in too. Back in those days the Tory party had at least some intellectual coherence.
Live Aid was a very specifically targeted project: there was a catastrophic famine in Ethiopia and regardless of the fact that it was the result of a war vastly exacerbating the effects of a drought, I felt at the time that specifically aiding civilians with emergency assistance was neither going to destroy the local economy (it had already collapsed to less that subsistence) nor would it significantly enrich the Marxists at the top who were in no small way responsible for that state of affairs. Most importantly, Live Aid was asking for private money, and as it was mine to give, I gave some.
This time things are rather different and far less straightforward. It is not all bad, mind you. The Live 8 extravaganza has quite a few people associated with it making demands for the developed world (of which Russia is not truly a member, it should be noted) to open their markets to the Third World… and this is rightly targeted at the G-8 leaders. Quite so. What the hellholes of the world need is more globalization, not less, if they are to lift themselves out of their dire conditions.
But alas the main thrust of what Live 8 seems to be about is to induce the governments of the G-8 to take money from their taxpayers and assign it to nebulous and frequently counter-productive projects in Africa, often in effect propping up the regimes who are the single biggest cause of their own nation’s problems and directly responsible for local poverty.
As with any large gathering of the music illiterati, coherence and cogency are going to be as rare as pelicans in Perthshire. Yet some of the people listening to the streams of babble at this event will come away with the simple idea lodged in their brains that making trade freer is one of those things that would make the world a better place. So whilst I have no interest in supporting Live 8 myself and I had better things to do than watch it yesterday, perhaps some good will come from it in spite of the toxic statist message at this event’s core.