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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Dimwit Celebrity Roundup

Dimwit Celebrity A:
According to Moviehole.net, (Scarlett Johansson), who plays a clone in the upcoming "The Island," is "very much pro-stem cell research"—apparently meaning the embryonic kind, since that's the only one that is, as the article notes, "a political hot potato."

"I think that there’s a lot of wonderful possibilities erupting," Johansson explains. "I mean, if they could eliminate diseases like Alzheimer’s and polio that would be incredible."
Of course, that technology (the polio vaccine) has been around for 50 or so years.

Dimwit Celebrity B:
David Beckham said today that son Romeo had his ear pierced because “it looks good”.
Note: Romeo is two years old.

Dimwit Celebrity C,D,E,F...:
Each click — the adverts include celebrities such as Colin Firth, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Claudia Schiffer — represents a life lost in the Third World through poverty.

The aim of the Make Poverty History campaign is, of course, laudable. There is, however, one problem. The sheer wrong-headedness of the campaign’s proposals to eliminate poverty leads one to think that Moss, Clooney et al are not mere adornments but have been responsible for the analysis underpinning them. The campaign could more accurately be renamed Make Poverty Permanent, such would be the effect of its proposals being implemented.
That's from Stephen Pollard, whose whole post on the issue is unmissable for anyone labouring under any illusions about the "root causes" of global poverty. Here's the conclusion:
The abolition of debt and an increase in aid — in effect the same thing — are red herrings. Far from rewarding governments for the disastrous policies that have kept their populations in poverty by handing over more aid for them to siphon off, a campaign to make poverty history would champion open trade, reduced regulation and, critically, property rights.

Much Third World poverty is the result of governments taking the decision, in effect, to remain poor. The conditions under which they can prosper are known, and available, if those in power choose to avail themselves of them. As Hernando de Soto (who has done much to alleviate poverty, not least through his seminal book, The Mystery of Capital) points out, it is easy to make a country prosperous. It needs only security of life and property, and markets in which property rights can be valued and traded. The West’s prosperity is built on property rights and the rule of law; it is the denial of those rights which causes poverty and prevents growth.

The World Bank report, Doing Business in 2005, shows many of the regulatory and bureaucratic obstacles to prosperity. Registering property requires one step in Norway, but 16 in Algeria. To incorporate a business takes two days in Canada, but 153 in Mozambique. In Haiti, it takes 203 days to register a company, 201 days longer than in Australia. In Sierra Leone it costs 1,268 per cent of average income, compared with nothing in Denmark. To register in Ethiopia, a would-be entrepreneur must deposit the equivalent of 18 years’ average income in a bank account, which is then frozen. In Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, recording a property sale involves 21 procedures and takes 274 days.

If those behind Make Poverty History were serious about ending poverty they would be campaigning for property rights and the rule of law — for better governance, in other words. And they would campaign not to abolish free trade but to extend it — attacking, for instance, the EU Common Agricultural Policy and its immoral tariff barriers against the developing world. The EU spends €2.7 billion a year subsidising farmers to grow sugar beet; at the same time it imposes high tariff barriers against sugar imports from the developing world. And the EU’s agricultural tariffs average 20 per cent, rising to a peak of 250 per cent on certain products. The European market remains barely open to the majority of low-cost textiles from the developing world.

But it’s much easier to publish pictures of Kate Moss, and to parrot the same old nonsense about the evils of free trade which we have heard for years from those who prefer to act by clicking their fingers rather than engaging their brains.
And besides, Kate Moss?! As an anti-poverty role-model?!

Dawn Patrol: Why Movie Stars Should Shut Their Big Fat Yaps
Romeo's Ear-Piercing Looks Good, Says Beckham
Stephen Pollard: Click, click, click. If only saving half the world from poverty were so simple.

Posted by RightWingDeathBeast | 6/02/2005 12:20:00 pm


Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

It's abit like those variations on Rachmaninov you hear from time to time. The same old Serious Sin of Socialism, only this time on a world scale. Maybe they need some red and blue billboards sited at their airports.

6/02/2005 12:36:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

And now we have Blair appeals to Bush as Geldof rouses the masses ...

Geldof persuaded Mr Blair to launch the Commission for Africa report 18 months ago, but the Prime Minister may now find he is riding a political tiger that he no longer controls.

Mr Blair is locked in a desperate diplomatic struggle to persuade the US President that his plans for Africa are workable. The British Government is acutely aware that the Bush Administration is unenthusiastic about the largely British Treasury-led agenda to double aid, cancel multilateral debt and raise export subsidies. US opposition to many of the commission's plans is so firm that the Treasury is planning to put together a Europe-wide agreement at the G8 finance ministers' conference next week. The Treasury hopes this will induce the US and Canada to join.

Launching his plans on Tuesday, 20 years after exhorting a global audience of 1.5 billion to "feed the world" at Live Aid, Geldof said the reprise would give a new generation an opportunity to "tilt the world a little bit on its axis in favour of the poor".

He told the billions who will watch on television and the internet: "You don't just get to watch, you've got to do it. The G7 [Group of Seven industrialised nations] leaders have promised for 30 years to double aid, but when are they going to do it?"

He insisted a deal on debt was achievable at the G8. Attendance at the Live 8 concerts, which will take place at historic locations in London, Philadelphia, Paris, Berlin and Rome, will be free.

Geldof said the purpose of the concerts was not charity, but social justice. He said he hoped that they would inspire hundreds of thousands of people to travel to Edinburgh for the week-long G8 summit.

I found another article earlier on how not keen George Bush to throw money at Africa. This is going to get twisted.

6/02/2005 12:50:00 pm  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

Once again, throwing money away or writing off debt is not going to solve things. Doing something with food that would otherwise be wasted, removing trade barriers, and increasing property rights in Africa would be much more productive. Guess who would have the most to lose from lowering of trade barriers? Oh thats right - the good ole US of A. Funny that. The Americans love letting US products into other countries but struggle to let other countries products into the US (unless you're China of course). You're right though Lucyna, it will get messy.

6/02/2005 02:28:00 pm  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

PS Polio is still alive and well in this world. I wonder why it is still popping up in developing countries if a vaccine was created 50 years ago?

6/02/2005 02:30:00 pm  
Blogger reid said...

It amuses and sometimes amazes me when people imagine that a celebrity has something over any other person.

I accept the capitalist reason for assigning that status to "the brand," but that doesn't make "the human" any better or worse than you and I, although the morons (who sometimes appear to number as high as 99.9999%) appear to believe otherwise.

For example, some moron journo on the radio re: Kylie's cancer: "It just goes to show, doesn't it, that no matter how much money or fame you have, it can happen to anyone."

No kidding. Gosh she's just so amazing and special, to have lived through it. I can't wait for the book and the special concert.

It's not that I'm jealous, I don't actually give a feck about their assets or fame, but I just find it vapid and a waste of resources that could be better employed.

Should I explain this to Women's Day?

6/02/2005 04:25:00 pm  

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