Monday, January 30, 2006

Bono's 'Red' label follow-up

There's a bit in The Corporation where a US National Labor Committee spokesperson shows a label given to him by a terrified female sweatshop worker who wanted him to know what she was working on in those horrible conditions. The label was from a Kathie Lee Gifford-brand shirt, and says boldly beneath Kathie Lee's fawning image 'a portion of the profits from this shirt will go to children's charities'. Ahhh, you think; commerce and philanthropy in perfect harmony... until the NLC guy reveals that the 'woman' who had worked on the garment in the sweatshop was 13 years old.

I don't know entirely how I feel about Bono's escapade yet (apart from nauseous and deeply mistrustful), and I do agree with your comments that we need and deserve clear, transparent outlines of how much money is going to who; when it's going, and how it's getting there. Alex said (and I think probably most people would agree that):

Whether they're getting rich or not at least they're doing something to help, and surely pure intentions are irrelevant as long as the ends are a benefit to some people who need the help.

Do the ends justify the means? Well, they can do. I just don't really see why these 'means' are the best way, or even a particularly good way, of achieving 'the ends'. It will still just amount to Western individuals donating cash, rather than systematic change, which I'm sure everyone agrees is necessary? Is this so different from Live8 really - it's just more feel-good placatory philanthropy (with the added benefit of helping companies 'broaden their customer base' - *shudder*)?

Am I wrong in thinking that the main obstacle to treating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa is that the drugs companies are still refusing to bring their prices down (thanks to good ol' 'hard commerce', Bono's bestest friend)? Am I also wrong in thinking that the combined efforts of western governments, the UN, the EU, and a smug, past-it popstar prick with a God complex and stupid sunglasses might be able to force those prices down?

One uncontentious point to finish on: Bono wants shooting for the phrase 'punk rock commerce' alone.


Blogger Alex Bok Bok said...

amen to that final point, brother. how dare he. this is the final straw for the word punk. lets invent a new word.

4:44 PM  
Blogger John said...

Bobo does retain this idea that he was a punk, and that U2 were somehow part of the post-punk scene, like Joy Division or something. Total moron.

I do like U2 though.

How about Vimp as a new word?

1:31 PM  

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