Foreign Aid is a Real Joke

by | Jan 20, 2014


Jane Bussman is a British comedienne who moved to Los Angeles in the late 1990s. She wrote for a number of TV shows, including South Park, for a while. She then drifted into celebrity journalism interviewing the likes of Anna Nicole Smith, Britney Spears, and Aston Kutcher.

She eventually chucked it all and sought to cleanse her soul by traveling to Africa to “find a country that had a really bad problem with genocide and just help out.” And this is where her story stops short of dreary cliche and gets really interesting. She found out that almost everything that she had heard about the war in Uganda was a lie fabricated by Western governments and their lapdog establishment media. She also discovered that Western aid was not helping Africa but was destabilizing it by prolonging wars and propping up corrupt governments.

Bussman who has made her home in Nairobi, Kenya for the past several years, then launched a single-handed campaign to save Africa from what she calls the “poverty industry.” As Bussman describes her campaign in a video interview:

I wanted to put forth the dangerous idea that Africa is not depressing and should not be stamped out even by celebrities [like “socially conscious” rock stars Bono and Bob Geldof]. And what is depressing is the poverty industry and I think that the poverty industry should be stamped out right now by everyone.

Bussman excoriates the United Nations and its role in the poverty industry:

Next time you’re on a plane and you get woken up from your sleep for a really depressing, upsetting film about UNICEF [the United Nations Children’s Fund] just bear in mind: UNICEF are nowhere near you on the plane. UNICEF are in the business class section of the plane. With their children, who also have seats in business class. That’s what [the UNICEF program] Change for Good pays for. . . . Interns fly business class with the United Nations. They spend $58 million a year on business travel alone . . . . It’s an industry, it’s about money

Bussman is very passionate about stamping out both the poverty industry and foreign aid to Africa. So much so that in the past year and a half she has been performing a one-woman show in the Sydney Opera House in Australia and the Soho Theatre in London. The title of the show is Bono and Geldof Are @#$%^ (the plural of the four-letter word for the female genitalia). The show has been described by an interviewer as “a vicious, furious and stomach-turning critique of the foreign aid industry.”

For those in affluent countries who wish to alleviate global poverty, Bussman offers the following simple suggestion: ”If you want to help a country that’s troubled, buy their s&*t. Do a three-day stopover, even, and spend spend spend.” In other words, trade (and investment) and not aid.

Oh yeah, Bussman also does not find Africa particularly depressing or depressed. She argues, “Europe, America, you name it is [sic] in the toilet but Africa has between 5 and 10 percent economic growth which is huge in this economic climate.” When asked by an interviewer if she is optimistic about Africa’s future, Bussman replies, “Hell yeah, I might have a job in twenty years. I won’t if I live in Europe.

For a hilarious send up of charitable events like Band Aid and Live Aid organized by rock celebrities to aid Africa, watch the video on Radi-Aid about a charitable event held by Africans to solicit radiators to send to Norwegians in danger of dying of frostbite.

Reprinted with permission from the Mises Institute.


  • Joseph Salerno

    Joseph Salerno is the editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics and the Academic Vice President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute where he held the inaugural Peterson-Luddy Chair in Austrian Economics. He also holds the John V. Denson II Endowed Professorship in the economics department at Auburn University.

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