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Give us your ****ing money" A Critical Appraisal of TV and the Cash Nexus

Cooper, G. (2015). Give us your ****ing money" A Critical Appraisal of TV and the Cash Nexus. In: Cooper, G. & Cottle, S. (Eds.), Humanitarianism, Communications and Change: 19 (Global Crises and the Media). (pp. 67-77). Peter Lang.


At 3 pm on 13 July 1985, Bob Geldof, the organiser of Live Aid, burst out on live television: “People are dying NOW. Give us the money NOW.... F*** the address, give us the phone, here’s the number.”

It was, in fact, the first time such an expletive had been used on such a ‘family friendly’ occasion (Franks, 2013) Geldof ’s swearing may have broken boundaries in taste terms—yet after this outburst, giving increased to £300 per second (Geldof, 2014). And Live Aid would, more important, come to symbolise the increasing importance of the cash nexus to the aid industry.

Thirty years on, the relationship between rock-’n’-roll, charity, and money claimed the headlines in a very different way, when at the end of 2013 it emerged that the international NGO World Vision UK had paid Elizabeth McGovern (better known as the Countess of Grantham in TV series Downton Abbey) £28,000 to subsidise her band Sadie and the Hotheads, as part of a deal in which she would become an ambassador for the charity. In three decades we have moved from rock stars raising money for aid agencies to aid agencies paying money to rock stars to raise their profile.

This chapter will deal with the increasing importance of the cash nexus in the modern humanitarian agency and how consumerism has become embedded in aid. In this, I use Carlyle’s view of the cash nexus of social relationships being reduced to economic gain, then taken on by Marx and Engels, but also the idea as expressed by Dant (2000) of the idea of the cash nexus in the area of personal choice—defining oneself by the NGO you choose to donate to or the NGO product you consume.

Publication Type: Book Section
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
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