“There’s an old saying that suggests anyone who is not a socialist when they are 20 has no heart, and anyone who is still a socialist when they are 30 has no mind.” Providing a real-life illustration of this saying, Mark Hendrickson of Grove City College praises Bono for his recent change of heart (or more accurately, change of mind) in an article for Forbes.
Foreign aid, in contrast to trade and investment, has a dismal record. Countries that have received large aid packages have largely remained poor. Two World Bank studies attribute this to the fact that foreign aid often props up regimes that govern poorly. Statistics have shown that the most aid-dependent countries have averaged slightly negative economic growth, leaving them mired in poverty. Aid isn’t the answer.
How encouraging, then, for me to learn that Bono now understands that, too. One of my students sent me a video clip, showing Bono addressing an audience of students at Georgetown University, in which he states, “Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce—entrepreneurial capitalism—takes more people out of poverty than aid.” Bono also says, “In dealing with poverty here and around the world, welfare and foreign aid are a Band-Aid. Free enterprise is the cure.”