Quest Means Business   « Back to Blog Main
June 11, 2009
Posted: 2007 GMT

There have been two major stories today that we have covered. The failure of the G8 to keep its aid pledges to Africa on the one hand, and Ronaldo being transfered for $130n from Man U to Real Madrid.

We had a long debate about these stories and how to cover them. I argued strongly that they should be juxtaposed – two faces of the world – the hundred million dollar transfer contract for Ronaldo and the poverty and lack of money from G8 countries to meet aid pledges to Africa.

There is no direct connection between these two events – except of course, what they say about us all.

The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has a rough rule of thumb – to be effective their programmes operate on the basis of saving a life costing five thousand dollars.

By that raw number alone the ronaldo transfer fee would save probably 26 thousand lives. That comparison becomes even more extreme when you think the same amount ofmoney would buy 26 MILLION mosquito nets.

It wasn't long before some of senior people suggested I was being unfair making comparisons between governments with aid and companies making profits.

Yup – perhaps this is unfair. It is not an either or situation – and if the money wasn’t spent on Ronaldo it wouldn’t be sent to Africa. I am comparing apples and organes

What I am interested in is what is says about us as a society that can accept both situations and not bristle at either. Market economics may be the best way to run an economy – but it does sometimes produce some very distasteful results. Is it offensive?

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Filed under: Business •Profitable Moment •Quest Means Business

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Ish Chavez   June 11th, 2009 8:43 pm ET

It is a lack of love. It is a lack of God. This society we are living in has become obsessed with has replaced God. We loose God and we loose our humanity.

phil a   June 11th, 2009 9:44 pm ET

humans are curious creatures...

phil a   June 11th, 2009 9:46 pm ET

Richard your a great commentator. I forgot to mention that..I look forward to your tweets...

Fatima   June 11th, 2009 10:17 pm ET

It won´t be in a near future , that will see society changed . Bill Gates is a n example to follow . But in football , many players including Ronaldo are a big influence . And they help many . Problem is that one is measured more by numbers , than by emotions . Economy is relative , when people don´t value life.

strobedj1   June 12th, 2009 2:34 am ET

Great comparison. Africa unfortunately is still the forgotten continent. Perhaps this can be a persuasion for a team like Real to donate $

Philippe Valdois   June 12th, 2009 4:35 am ET

Good journalism is all about reality, and reality is what we can see.
But to understand how and how much we are enabled to see by the medias, how much we want or are ready to see and how much we are ready to question our own priorities facing this reality is equally important.
Your great post addresses those points and it makes us think. Very good journalism indeed!

ndebeya daniel   June 12th, 2009 1:55 pm ET


Dr. Virginia Lubell   June 12th, 2009 3:16 pm ET

Humans have only one choice at the moment ... clean up the environment. It's that simple. If any one believes we are not on the brink of an environmental melt down then they are thinking inaccurately. Go to YouTube and watch HOME by Yann Arthus-Bertrand ... a french aerial photographer. This full length video was launched on 5 June 2009 and a must see.

The Gates Foundation is misguided in wanting to save more and more people. They should put all their resources into saving the planet and creating ways re-nurture all the species that are about to be lost. Without clean water, air, diverse species and diverse crops saving people so they can continue to starve and live in environmental degradation is not necessarily a kindness. The Gates Foundation does not save life so that people can live in modern societies.

In fact we should have Victory Bonds that only support eco-recovery.

As for the wages of this one football player. All 'top' people (whether CEO or sport's person) should be 'tendering' for their positions ... the best job for the lowest competitive cost.

Jon   June 12th, 2009 3:43 pm ET

When one starts dictating what another can do with their money–and by money I mean a symbol and representation of one's work, creativity, EARNINGS–then they begin dictating others' lives. And, to do so under the guise of a "humanitarian" is not only dangerous, but is conceited in its most horrific form, because it is merely inverting a hierarchy at the expense of one for the benefit of another.

It is not the responsibility of others to be martyrs for those who cannot care for themselves. Because we are talking about an extreme situation, it may be hard for some to grasp this concept, but it is always true that no one has the right to infringe on another's autonomy–on their rights. It is ultimately the responsibility of the individual, of the members of a society, to dictate the course of their lives. For instance, the Constitution guaranteed a right to the PURSUIT of happiness; it did not guarantee happiness.

Sure, it is good to help poor African countries to establish clean water systems, sanitary living conditions, businesses that can better their societies, and free governments with personal liberties, but no one has the right to tell others, including football clubs, what they can and cannot do with the money that they earned. Such humanitarian efforts must be done voluntarily, via private means.

To hold a philosophy in which individuals, including private companies, don't have the right to do what they want with their own money as long as it doesn't infringe on the autonomy of others, has been at the heart of the greatest atrocities that have taken place in the last 100 years.

Is it distateful, then, that Mr. Quest, who is probably making pretty good money, isn't sacrificing himself to save dozens of lives? Why can't you scrape by on $20,000-30,000/year?

Manuel Vilhena   June 15th, 2009 8:08 pm ET

It is not offensive, but is unfair.


Chaim Kimelblat   June 16th, 2009 2:56 am ET

The actual Stock Market top (where we are now) has been zigzagging too much.
But the charts warn that any time soon comes the plunge DOWNWARDS.

Schpekulant Suggestions:
1.Keep your money in a safe place. Examples?
Low-expense Bond mutual funds
Investment-grade bonds
Short and long term Government Bonds
2.Resist temptation to buy stocks just because they look very cheap.
3.Wait. (For many traders and investors this is the most difficult)

Remember you have been warned……….

Remember also that this is just a suggestion, everyone is responsible for his own
investment decisions…. YOU have to take care of your own money.

Chaim Kimelblat aka
Listen with your Brain

M A Janssen   June 16th, 2009 7:07 am ET

Thank you for writing this. Yes, it's such an irony that it's all flabbergasting, baffling, saddening and infiurating.

Tracy Clark   June 18th, 2009 3:52 am ET

Good job Richardquest, pointing out what I've begged journalists to attempt. Even if it falls upon deaf ears, we've done our part. You are talented enough to swing, and rise to any occasion production demands. Write on!

Alvaro De Ansorena   June 25th, 2009 12:37 pm ET

Very good point Richard. Thank you for writing this. Additionally, Spanish banks seem to be very keen to lend these sums to Real whilst the spanish economy shrinks to bits. Ironically politicians now blame it on the banks and the fact they don't give credits to citizens and SMEs.

Of course no one can tell anyone what to do with their money. However, there is something called ethics and I personally don't think that word even crossed Real's management board when they decided the transfer. Probably selling more t-shirts was the issue instead.

Kembo Bill   June 26th, 2009 11:30 am ET

i like what quest says right at the end..we are as a society, willing to accept both extremes; capitalism and really is a societal issue..we dont want to raise a finger when our own governments, even worse ourselves do nothing to improve the lives of our down trodden neighbors..some of whom live stones throw away from us..we realy at a point where we have lost almost all the moral authority we had to question a deal like Ronaldo' all fairness, his transfer and the recession are totally unrelated and just fuel emotion because of our lack of humans we have conditioned ourselves to believe that to prosper, we have to step on someone else to get to the end of the ladder..not true at all as RQ suggests at the end..there's so much wealth to go round that its ridiculous that we feel sick about Ronaldo's rise, because we all wana go down as a block..doesnt work like that..
keep up the good work RQ..jolting people to reality..

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