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The best -ism

November 30, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

One of the highest achieving entrepreneurs in history, U2 front man and human rights activist Bono--given name Paul Hewson--puts his money/time/effort where his mouth is. And his mouth gets around. From Africa, where most of his activism is based, to G8 meetings, to even the ears of U.S. presidents.

But he makes no bones about the means best suited to realize economic globalization and transform the world's have-nots: capitalism.

Bono told The New York Times Magazine that he ended up as an activist in a very different place from where he started.

"I thought that if we just redistributed resources, then we could solve every problem. I now know that's not true. There's a funny moment when you realize that as an activist: The off-ramp out of extreme poverty is ... commerce, it's entrepreneurial capitalism. I spend a lot of time in countries all over Africa, and they're like ... we wouldn't mind a little more globalization actually. I would point out that there has been a lot of progress over the years."

But are the rich paying their fare share? A fair question, says Mr. Hewson, who adds:

"How are things going for the bottom billion? Be careful to placard the poorest of the poor on politics when they are fighting for their lives. It's very easy to become patronizing. Capitalism is a wild beast. We need to tame it. But globalization has brought more people out of poverty than any other -ism.

"If somebody comes to me with a better idea, I'll sign up. I didn't grow up to like the idea that we've made heroes out of business people, but if you're bringing jobs to a community and treating people well, then you are a hero. That's where I've ended up."

Many take a similar path to a similar end. With spokespeople like Bono beating the capitalism drum, as opposed to gray-haired men in dark suits, perhaps more will find the way a little easier.

Print Headline: The best -ism

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