Sophinette posts on her WordPress blog Has Bono Been Fooling us All? and links to a Bloomberg News article: Bono, Who Preaches Charity, Profits From Buyouts, Tax Breaks related to U2 frontman, Bono’s burgeoning Business Empire. She says:
Shaking my head in disapproval…
Aside from the fact that Bono makes no claim to be a saint and publicly revels in his rock stardom (see NYT profile link at bottom of post), I look at it a bit differently than she does.
In my view, Bono is practicing what I call “Business Artivism” aka Business, Art and Non-Partisan Activism, the subject this blog. The New York Times calls this philanthropreneurship in an article entitled ““What’s Wrong with Profit?.” Here is an excerpt:
A new generation of philanthropists has stepped forward, for the most part young billionaires who have reaped the benefits of capitalism and believe that it can be applied in the service of charity. They are “philanthropreneurs,” driven to do good and have their profit, too.
Truth be told, the world could do with many more Bonos. He invests a tremendous amount of time and energy into his humanitarian pursuits — to the point that at one time his efforts almost torpedoed U2 — and ought not to be condemned for making money as well in the process and/or minimizing his tax burden. Bono is human like the rest of us and, recognizing that, sees the need to push others, governments and individuals alike, to step up to their social responsibilities.
Think of it it this way: Bono has been instrumental in attaining billions of dollars of debt relief for African Nations — an initiative George W. Bush actually mentioned in his most recent State of the Union Address without mentioning Bono by name — and has helped to save thousands if not tens of thousands of lives or even more over time (i.e. aside from AIDS funding, that money the African nations save is able to go towards food, shelter, medical, promoting enterprise etc.).
You all don’t think that’s worth a paycheck of 500 million or so, especially considering Bono actually creates something based on hard work, initiative and enterprise? What if Bono did NOT do what he is doing? What would be the opportunity cost? We’ll never know for sure, but there are a lot of living Africans out there you might be able to get an “I don’t know” from who might otherwise not be around.
Altruism and egoism, selfishness and selflessness are NOT incompatible concepts. Furthermore, in my view, we are ALL hypocrites to one degree or another. Bono is far less the hypocrite than many and uses his wealth, relative to many, very, VERY responsibly.
Mathematically speaking, if you start from a network of you and one other person, then each time your world doubles in size, it becomes, if you look at all the possible connections, four times smaller and then some. And the “then some” gets twice as big each and every time you double it.
The same dynamic applies in a general way to economic opportunity and savings as it does to networks. In other words, the financially well-off really do have it easier and it gets easier and easier as you go. The guy with 32 bucks in the bank has about 144 times the opportunities as the guy with 2 bucks, not even accounting for the eonomics of basic survival.
Think about that the next time some wealthy politician suggests a flat tax to “level” the playing field.