You know, I do indeed believe that Bono is full of shit.

Andrew Mwenda, a Ugandan journalist and social worker, now a fellow at Stanford, made the case most strongly. He argued convincingly that 30 years of Western aid to Africa has achieved nothing at all. More, he said that the persistence of African poverty could be explained, in part, by aid. He explained that aid had convinced the brightest Africans to work for corrupt governments rather than as entrepreneurs, and it had “distorted the incentive structure.”

“What man or nation,” Mwenda asked, “has ever become rich by holding out a begging bowl?”

Far better, he said, is finding Westerners to invest in African entrepreneurs or businesses, which would create wealth. Mwenda, like other speakers, described at length the investment opportunities in Africa.

This line of argument enraged Bono, however, who began heckling Mwenda.

“Bollocks!” he shouted. “That’s bullshit.”

Bono is a strong supporter of intelligently managed aid. When it came his turn to speak, he said that Ireland’s current prosperity is explained by government investment in its people, particularly education. He said that listening to Mwenda was like listening to an African Margaret Thatcher.

An African Margaret Thatcher sounds fantastic to me. The whole world could use another Iron Lady. Unless, of course, your primary interest is in world revolution.

(Bono’s wrong on his own country, incidentally. The powerful Irish economy is a result of a low flat corporate tax rate.)

Jesus, why do we even listen to celebutwits? Why do Bono’s opinions on anything other than music matter more than the opinions of say, Paris Hilton? In fact, I’d say Paris has probably done more for Africa. At least she gives them someone to look down on . . . or to look at on their cheap laptops.

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