Bono’s views are open to debate
An Aug. 16 letter stated that the “huge icon on the left — Bono, of U2 fame” stumped (once again) for capitalism’s ability to heal the poor. The letter writer then compared the failure of “aid” to help Third World poverty to Minnesota welfare programs, and suggested all should be eliminated for the common good.
The “aid” Bono championed generally consisted of debt forgiveness to struggling countries — almost always with the quid pro quo of allowing outside corporations to privatize those countries’ basic services, decimate their industries and exploit their resources with virtually no compensation to citizens (as opposed to corrupt rulers, who generally make out well from such arrangements).
Among the “left,” there is considerable debate about the value of even nondestructive aid (building roads, digging wells, etc.); whether or not the charities that provide such services impede the independence of recipients.
There is no debate on the left about how “aid” of the sort Bono applauds has deeply worsened the conditions of billions in worldwide poverty. Even such steadfast business-promoting institutions as the IMF and World Bank are having discussions about why these policies have failed so spectacularly. (How could charging the poor $4 a gallon for potable water fail to spur growth? Go figure.)
Bono is not the best defender of market-based reforms, and comparing the world’s poor to Minnesota welfare recipients demonstrates a need to learn much more about both.
JAMES FILLMORE, St. Paul
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How does it help to make generalizations?
I must take issue with the writer of the Aug. 17 Letter of the Day who describes “a generation of self-entitled people.” I also disagree heartily with those who use the term “the Greatest Generation.” It is unfair to describe a generation so simplistically. Each era has its heroes, villains, and those managing in the middle. There will always be saints and sinners, the energetic and the laid-back. I am sure we all have seen examples of superior behavior through all age groups, as well as examples of poor behavior. Just look around your own neighborhood, family and workplace. For 45 years, I have heard the phrase “those young people today …” used in a derogatory tone. I have always been able to counter with stories of wonderful youths. Now that I am an elder, I can still do so.
ANN PUGLIESE, Minneapolis
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I was born in 1986. I am an Eagle Scout. I worked hard for my bachelor’s degree. I am now working part-time at a furniture store and am hardly able to pay my bills. What is it that I feel “entitled” to?
I feel entitled to a job that keeps me working hard, but interested. I feel that I am entitled to a job that keeps me working hard, but pays a wage that allows me to save. I feel entitled to a job that keeps me working hard, but is reliable.
I have worked hard throughout my life so that I could continue working hard in a career that allows me to feel like I contribute to society and that I am secure. I’m not asking for handouts — not many of the people I know are. We ask for a fair shot at the American dream, which now seems sorely out of reach.
I have applied for countless jobs, not just good-paying ones. At 27, I recently applied for a 20-hour-a-week internship. I do not want someone to unlock and open the Door of Prosperity for me. I just want someone to give me a chance to find the key.
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