U2's Bono Admits: "A Humbling Thing Was to Learn the Role of Commerce" in Development


Forbes reported last week on some lessons learned by Bono, lead singer of long-lived rock band U2, in his efforts as an advocate for more international aid.


The Irish singer and co-founder of ONE, a campaigning group that fights poverty and disease in Africa, said it had been "a humbling thing for me" to realize the importance of capitalism and entrepreneurialism in philanthropy, particularly as someone who "got into this as a righteous anger activist with all the cliches."

"Job creators and innovators are just the key, and aid is just a bridge," he told an audience of 200 leading technology entrepreneurs and investors at the F.ounders tech conference in Dublin. "We see it as startup money, investment in new countries. A humbling thing was to learn the role of commerce."

Nick Gillespie mocked Bono's attacks on the "brain-dead, heart-dead ideologues" who dared question international development aid here in May. I wrote about African development expert Dambisa Moyo's attacks on the development aid industry's efficacy back in April 2009.

That smart people concerned with ameliorating poverty have to go through long education and soul-searching to learn the "role of commerce" in development and wealth-creation is a sad commentary on the state of economic education and understanding of what free markets are really about and for, but all one can do is keep trying and remember Leonard Read.

U2's "A Sort of Homecoming" is still one hell of a tune, however: