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Oct 16, 2007

All the art in the world will not reduce poverty one bit

It seems that there is going to be an arty-sharty event under the holy blessings of a famous guru, with rock concerts, art shows and a parade of page 3 bimbettes like Nafisa Ali and Nandita Das. The cause- we live in a time where the elites have a deep seated psychological need of a 'cause' to salve their consciences- is to "participate and raise our voices against poverty and a peaceful world" in the support of 'United Nations Millennium Development Goals'.
(Are they really going to raise their voices against a peaceful world?-ed)

As if 'Make Poverty History' was a great success.
Of course, this is just another excuse for the rich and the guilty to feel good as they drive to the event in their Mercedes and Skodas, or fly in first class from another city. As for the artists and artistes, an occassion to ingratiate themselves with the 'happening' crowd and another step on the ladder of their careers.In short, everyone happy.

As for the actual poor, none are likely to attend the event( and if they tried they would run the risk of being chased away from the gates of the IHC, an uber-elite complex of the rich and the famous)

Those who are crazy to be part of something associated with the United Nations are often unaware (or don't care) that the programs of the UN are run by a bureaucracy that like all bureaucracies all over the world is inefficient, self-serving, unaccountable,venal and corrupt. In the case of the United Nations, the unaccountability has plumbed to great depths.It's corruption and venality takes on a global scale by the very nature of the institution. Who gave us the far reaching corruption of oil-for-food? The utter unaccountability of UNDP in North Korea? The raping, looting and child prostitution conducted by it's soldiers (the sex-for-food scandal)?

The 'United Nations Millennium Development Goals' is the planet scale version of Indira Gandhi's garibi-hatao(remove poverty) and is as likely to fail. Indian economy began to take off only when the deathgrip of state socialism was loosened beginning 1991. We all know what works, although several are reluctant to admit it. There is a very, very hysterically vocal section of society everywhere which opposes that which will (and has proved to) reduce poverty anywhere it has been tried. Ironically, that section, made up of powerful coalitions of left-leaning NGO's , 'civil society' groups and various members of the media-arts elites are highly influential at the UN. An ambitious planet-wide project under their aegis means only one thing-
"...a sort of utopian central planning by global bureaucrats, a crash program like a Great Leap Forward for poor countries," ........ "This will not work any better than central planning by bureaucrats has worked anywhere else, which is to say not at all."

For example, the long section on aid shoves right past the realities to rattle the cup for more money flowing through the gullies of UN plans and bureaucracy, where so much has already vanished, or been diverted into support of bad governments that create precisely the conditions that inflict poverty. Someone needs to remind Mr. Annan that every dollar taxed away from the citizens of the rich nations of the world is a dollar less that's available for these same private citizens to buy goods for which there is genuine market-driven demand--that being the real engine of development.

Mr. Annan wants every poor country to produce--get ready for the mouthful--a "Millennium Development Goals-based" national strategy (meaning, in line with U.N. plans). By September he wants donor countries to produce "timetables and monitorable targets" to align aid delivery with all these strategies. Then, the U.N. will baste this all together into a plan even bigger than Oil for Food, which sounds like an unfortunate idea. Mr. Annan gets it partly right about the need for free trade, but he urges such openness only for the richest nations, not for the poorest--a vision that will make the rich richer, but do far less for the poor. Meanwhile, he deplores a growing income gap between rich and poor nations.

Some sections are almost comic, such as Mr. Annan's chiding the Security Council and General Assembly that when they assign tasks to the Secretariat, they must take care "that they also provide resources adequate for the task." Yes, but as Oil for Food illustrated, even $1.4 billion in administrative funding was not enough to provide honesty and competence. The glitch was the abysmal, secretive and conflict-of-interest-ridden management of Mr. Annan's Secretariat, not lack of money. Mr. Annan notes that he wants more transparency and accountability, but he suggests this come from more reshuffling inside the U.N. itself, not from outside oversight. We have been here before.
(emphasis mine)

I left a comment for one of the participants-
Ashok Nayak, you must be joking. All the art shows and rock concerts in the world, even if under the blessing of some holy man, will not do one whit to reduce poverty.

When it comes to reducing poverty, only one thing has shown to work- free markets(a.k.a capitalism). Strangely, the art world elites are mostly hostile to this solution.
Note-I think this post belongs to the Liberty News Central as much as it does here. So I am cross posting it at LNC.

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