All entries for Tuesday 14 June 2005

June 14, 2005

Bob Geldof, Live8 and eBay

It appears that winners of the Live 8 ticket raffle are choosing to place their goods on eBay. BBC News says the following

Bob Geldof has branded the sale of Live 8 tickets on the internet auction site eBay "sick profiteering".

The Live 8 organiser called on the site to ban tickets for next month's London show, featuring Coldplay and U2, which were won through a text competition.
He said: "I am sick with this. It is a disgrace. It is completely against the interests of the poor."

"The people who are selling these tickets on websites are miserable wretches who are capitalising on people's misery. I am appealing to their sense of decency to stop this disgusting greed."

Sadly, the mechanism by which bidding on eBay perpetuates poverty wasn’t explained fully by Geldof. His comments imply the tickets have some inherent value which is being diverted away from the poor to the merely greedy. He’s right that they have high value, as evidenced by the high prices they’ll command on resale. Still, if it was paramount that this monetary value was captured by the organisers, why offer them for a paltry £1.50 text message in the first place?

Truth is, they could have offered the tickets for £10 each and would have sold out in minutes. They could have offered them for £40, £60, or even more, without having to worry about lack of demand. For someone who cares so dearly about the plight of others, his endorsement of the decision to offer tickets so cheaply is strange, and his accusations against the secondary auctioneers are thus irrational.

Bob Geldof would claim that morals dictate all revenue should go to charity, yet there exists no code of morals set in stone. My claim that it is moral for him to plough the majority of his multimillion pound fortune into investment into Sudan or Uganda is no more or less valid.


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