Bono praises capitalism for rescuing millions from poverty – but says it must be 'tamed' to tackle rise of populism
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Bono praises capitalism for rescuing millions from poverty – but says it must be 'tamed' to tackle rise of populism

BONO has praised capitalism for rescuing more people from poverty than any other economic system, but warned more must be done to avert the rise of populism in politics.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos today, the U2 frontman described capitalism as a "wild beast" that is "amoral" rather than immoral.

The 58-year-old Irishman and prominent anti-poverty campaigner said it had succeeded in taking more people out of poverty than any other "-ism", but that those it has "chewed up" are driving politics "towards populism" in the West.

"Capitalism is not immoral, it is amoral and it requires our instruction. It has taken more people out of poverty than any other ‘-ism’," Bono told a panel of Western leaders in Switzerland.

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"But it is a wild beast and if not tamed it can chew up a lot of people along the way. Those peoples' lives that it has chewed up are pushing the politics in our homes towards populism".

Bono revealed he had experienced a change of heart with regard to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organisation he once described as the "Great Satan" for its "bullying of junior economies".

Praising IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, the singer said her "tough-mindedness" had changed the institution for the better but warned he would still be on her "case".

Striking a less positive tone, Bono also claimed cuts to aid funding by Western governments was hampering efforts to stamp out HIV/AIDS, particularly in Africa.

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He said 7,000 women a week were still being infected with the disease around the world and called for fresh funding for global health initiatives.

"We could lose this thing. We were winning. We have been somewhat put on the back foot by the understandable concern in northern economies that we have problems in our own cities," he added.

"If there are people on the streets in our own cities, why should we care about what’s going on over there? The answer is that what is going on ‘over there’ affects us.

"If Africa loses, Europe can’t win. But we have got to get back into the conversation. We need a response to what is going on in our own cities."