Saturday, March 12, 2005


Turning down the job he may or may not have been considered for on Bono's behalf, Jamie Drummond of Debt, Aids, Trade, Africa says Bono won't lead the world bank:

"I can't believe I need to say this, but there are no circumstances in which Bono would be nominated or accept the World Bank job.”

He added: "Bono is flattered to be mentioned for such an important job but DATA does its best work from the outside."

Well, while we couldn't really imagine Bono being offered the position - good god, the world's not gone that far yet, has it? - there are surely ways in which it could happen: after all, only last weekend US Treasury Secretary John Snow wasn't ruling out considering Mr. Vox, calling Bono "a rock start of the development world." And is DATA really suggesting that if one of their members was approached to be head of the World Bank, they'd really say "oh, no, we'll stick to trying to change the world from outside, instead." If they would, they really ought to stop what they're doing now and go home.

In other Bono news, he and his wife, Ali Hewson, launched their "ethical" clothing line Edun. It has a heart in kind of the right place - no sweatshops, using family run factories in Africa and South America - but there's something about the concept that suggests its more attitude than actual well-thought out ethicism. After all, the launch for the clothing range came at Saks; in the UK, the clothes are going to be sold through Selfridges. If you really wanted to make a difference, you'd be signing your deals with Sainsburys and Tesco, and creating a range that wouldn't rely on a short-term faddish market: an ethical version of George or Cherokee would build a massive, steady market for these family-run factories, and each pair of jeans sold would be worn a lot, making excellent use of the planet's limited resources; flogging them through Saks means you're selling into a market which buys a pair of trousers to wear once, maybe twice. In fact, we're not even sure that making trousers in Africa and shipping them over to the US is the most ethical way of getting trousers to the US consumer, but that's such a complicated question we'll leave that be for now.

But anyway: ethical clothes. So, that would imply a company where all the clothes are made for a fair price, sold for a fair price, right? No profiteering at any stage in the system? Erm... apparently not:

"You can make a healthy profit," says Hewson, "and at the end of the day, people know that the clothes they are wearing have a good story behind them."

So, Ali Hewson is quickly reassuring her and her husband's capitalist chums: there's still "healthy" (i.e. supernormal) profits to be made. And at whose expense would that be? Just because you're not ripping off the consumer or the manufacturers quite so much doesn't make your product ethical.

One further thing: The pair have chosen their brand name because it's nude backwards. Which is kind of clever. We wonder if they bothered to google edun and discover exactly how many nudist groups hit on the same idea?