Sub-Sahara Africa’s culture of giving vs the money economy

Africa was introduced into the money economy a long time ago, and while she has no other alternative to lead her into prosperity other than the money economy she is resisting the money economy. The introduction followed by the resistance results in consequences. A big cause of that resistance, in my opinion, is our culture giving. We recklessly give.

Urban-rural linkages, rural-rural linkages and somehow diaspora-home linkages

This, in Africa, is a system of exchanging what’s produced without the involvement of trade (i.e. buying and selling). It limits the producer to end at only what s/he can give. The quantities and categories s/he can not give will not be his/her specialty.

In the previous post, I gave an example that best suits my own understanding of rural-urban linkages within an extended family. The BMW X6’s tank is filled up to full capacity or not. Dollars in the hundred range are spent. The destination is the owner’s rural roots where it can return from with two baskets of avocadoes, and virtually anything produced by the farming rural fraction of the family, as part of its payload. Those avocados are given free, they are not sold. And when the family plants seeds, they don’t plant much even when there is space to do so. Since money is not a motivating factor when it comes to production what’s put in the soil is only adequate by designation to give to a son employed in the town who visits during holidays and others in the village. In the village, as well, nothing is sold.

The son must give groceries and extra care. And the family is proud of him. And since he is the one who stays attached to the family he is what the family invests in better than the daughter who is not expected to be a provider but a capable wife. His education which is a greater part of the investment and which comes before his salary is a service that is bought. So we pay. We don’t get paid. The result is zero poverty solved.

When money is kept away from circulation it’s double entry with zero money involved and zero money made or zero wealth/economy created. Our giver can still get his credit and our receiver is unfortunately in debt which s/he must eventually get to give back. The neighbour will find no other way to handle it but to toss a quarter part of his/her goat when it is slaughtered. The son who got good grades at a good school through his uncle’s money which covered his tuition simply pays back by giving his cousins a place to stay when they need it in the town. He builds his house anticipating a relative and he is motivated by just that to such an extent that he can’t build more houses and make money out of the housing industry when his season of bounty comes. Ending up educated through the dynamics of the family is not a problem not finding the next step is. The number of graduates, the unemployed then emigrants increases.

Some giving makes sense. Some others don’t. And we are not getting to see through it that we are capable of producing better and more. We must give, but to remain not paid in all services we give kills an economy. In my upcoming motivational novel, Barbus, our very own Barbus said, “You’re required to think of what you’ll live through not what you’re living for.”

This explanation can help us to explain why remittances are not translating to progress. In Africa, we pay for our education and for our food coming from processing industries. In Africa, we’re never paid for the services we produce. We give. We are not given cash. We keep the money economy shallow to lead to our development. Because we have less money, our consumption discourages the development of advanced industries at large and we are likely to use one wheelbarrow (resource[s] for creating wealth) for twenty years, share it with six other neighbours who don’t have it.

Because we don’t have the resources to create our production is discouraging.

Our problem is tangled and it takes admitting that sometimes a culture can be wrong.

African governments: Giving to kill production and creativity in (or growth of) the private sector

On the national level, the government commands (gives free) the economy and crushes the private sector which must depend on being paid after producing goods or services then be taxed by the government. By discouraging the private sector the government keeps itself paid less or with less to give.

Africa Renewal, a UN blog, picked the case of Ghana and Zambia in their 2016 post. In an article with the heading Why Africa failed to industrialise, the two countries are said to have used what was said to be their commodities bonanza to fund non-productive issues like increasing salaries.

South Africa’s social grant system is another big thing wasted on non-productive issues. In the story of four Asian tigers, such grants were not the starting point. The starting point in South Korea and Taiwan was increasing exports, hence increasing production and be motivated through being paid after selling what’s produced. Produce and create are synonyms. Wealth-making is an art. Wealth is created. It isn’t distributed to end up wealth. If you distribute when you’re without you forget to create.

More Afrocentric articles

28 June 2021

Be ‘materialistic’ in your youth, when decline creeps in cease to be and share. Africa is missing it.

Why Africa is not explosively developing? In my opinion, we are not being materialistic here as other economies did. A culture of giving, if it remains unmixed with the culture of selling everything, is a harm to our future as it had been in the past.

Be ‘materialistic’ in your youth, when decline creeps in cease to be and share. Africa is missing it.

Why Africa is not developing? Having had some the likes of Ghana better-off in the early 1960s to China, that is a question not to ask but to answer. But I found myself answering it to someone as if he had asked, “What part I can play/I should have played?” My answer was a diary entry and it explained the situation at a personal level, not the government policing. Where I involved the government I was blaming it for not encouraging another culture, a culture of creating wealth. Creating wealth is not accumulating wealth.

In Africa we give. We don’t sell. Too much double entry no cash involved, no money and wealth created.

On the morning of 28 June 2021, we were working in the fields. When my mother switched a topic to our poverty and how it was increasing over the years I couldn’t hesitate but cast my simplified words. When a relative in the town comes here, I said, in a BMW X6 he must load in the fuel tank his $100 only to be asking for two baskets of avocados in our garden for free. In fact, we give him before he asks. The whole village does that. Before two avocadoes are eaten in our house forty are already given to neighbours.

The motive to produce more is money. What more can we produce when we give free?

An area with the potential to be home to millions of avocado plants hosts only several thousands if not hundreds. A processing industry related to avocadoes including the cosmetic industry is discouraged to form.

In the town, the story is the same. When a brother gets some money in excess this year, knowing that it is not an opportunity to show up again, he builds two houses with the motive of giving his relatives from the rural side a place to stay when there is a need, not ten houses and become a business guy in housing. The more we produce and sell is the more money we create.

As I went on criticising our culture of giving, mother found someone to talk to but father moved in closer. He argued against me saying that I am a materialist in my view of things. He couldn’t find my sense in my arguing as I appeared to have attacked him in person. Having owned the villages first water pump and the power, we planted fourteen orange plants in 2014 and I was eighteen. $1200 was the bank loan my father requested for buying the grafted plants. Fourteen plants cost a hundred dollars, one seventy-five was the total we could have planted out of that loan, get another and buy another lot, plant more and end up with thousands of trees. Because such trees were planted after father said, “my grandkids will have a taste”, the motive to plant more than fourteen was not there.

Here the culture of giving is a culture of attachedness that makes resettlement schemes fail. Rural and urban people don’t de-attach themselves from a place, they establish themselves. So they will never follow an opportunity when they get to feel that it’s there in the country not here.

If I was being badly materialistic why people around me were feeling that their earnings were never adequate at any time and wishing that their child a good job especially overseas in Europe and America where he could earn and forward the excess via Western Union. From cigars that were being smoked to our dressing, we were feeling that there was not much and we were even struggling to have a matchbox with contents in it anytime we needed to light up the fire at our fireplace but, at one point in our life, we were afforded as a family to buy beer for the whole village anytime we partied. We couldn’t take our money where our sweat was and we couldn’t give materialistic thinking to our sweat.

Our people work. Work is their history. Their sweat stays unrewarded.

We want prosperity, that moves us. We toil daily. When someone preaches it. We think he’s being materialistic. In mid-June I have to know the following list as a work cycle:

  1. We work and work in Africa, and since one must learn to end up affluent in it, young kids concluding their infancy begin to be thrown in it. “We’re training them,” we defend ourselves when we are accused of perpetrating child labour.
  2. We believe that except it’s an office or salaried work, work is sweat.
  3. There is no drafting table, there are no books read. We don’t take our past in so that it can educate us and guide us into the right course of action so that when I finally get a chance to plant I plant thousands not fourteen.
  4. Sweat, here in Africa, ends up alone and it can never turn into sweet. We give it away we don’t sell it. We want to be employed we don’t wish to employ and we are colonised into work after we were already working people.
  5. What’s the problem? We ask ourselves.
  6. We are not putting much sweat. This answer simply keeps coming up because we are taught from the age of five that work is sweat. We work extra hard, and we are back to item 1 in this list. A seventy-two-year-old can still be working in the field and die a worker.

In a short book Why I dropped out of college in the final semester, I accused formal education of training only employees when its task is that of addressing poverty here in Africa. If you’re to read it you will find that I was beaten for saying that when I grow up I want to be a boss and persisting when others were picking be a teacher or a doctor as their future professions. If you give anything you’re doing a purpose and do it in that purpose you don’t get a chance to change easily. We learn for that purpose, being employed. Our creativity here in Africa is choked because we are prepared by the education system not to be creative but to wait for an employer and be against materialism. I am not blogging here to offend anyone, but out of $345 I earned last year and $175 I earned during this year’s first half I see myself as a future industrialist, and the short book has much about my story. I had many other needs including clothing, toiletry and commuting in 2020 (everything can be cheaper in Africa) and they claimed a big chunk out of $345 and $175.

While I was writing in my personal diary I came across an article on Quartz. Someone had to pay $750 for his journey to Europe and that is much to give one a start, and one can grow big.

Yes, the leadership can be failing us. But what are we doing on our part? We see the size of their economies we are blind to their start. In their interaction with our history, we see the oppression, we don’t see their committedness in addressing their economies. We don’t learn from, we complain. The start of the likes of S.C. Johnsons must be good lessons, the story of Andrew Carnegie an inspirational exception. So that when each one of us gets that $750 s/he creates a start that is $750 but the first spark into millions of burning and employing business. Studying the situation is necessary so that anyone among us makes a good strategy to finally emerge up.

You don’t start in comfort you don’t have and hope or work to create that comfort. We must balance between materialism and our charitiness. If we don’t, we don’t create an economy. We need to sell first. We need to produce what we can get to sell. After selling we are motivated to produce more. When more of us sell, money circulates and our welfare improves and competition increases. A motive to produce in quantity better products then drives us.

Our youth is once. Our youth is better energy to execute than our fifty years of age. We may wish to but we don’t live our youth twice. We must work now and earn, fail to give now, distribute tomorrow. This is my way of seeing things, and I am not here to taint your brains with it.

More Afrocentric articles

29 June 2021

Sub-Sahara Africa’s culture of giving vs the money economy

Family ties, giving and a culture of giving free after our introduction into the money economy, in my opinion, killed the motive to produce more and more to sell. Less produced and sold is zero prosperity. This is Afrocentric.