THE title of this week’s article is both a noun and a descriptive. It is a noun in the sense that we all have to grapple with money matters or money issues all the time.
Business Talk with Ian Ndlovu
There is no person on Earth today who can live without money. Money is to the modern world what blood is to the human body. The physiology and livelihood of any human being depends on the health of their blood. It is the same with the structure and function of any economy.
An economy without a good and robust money or monetary system is bound to suffer a multiplicity of social, political and economic problems.
The second sense in which the title of this article may be construed is that money matters or money is crucial to any activity. Even in church where people are expected to be spiritual, a service or meeting cannot be ended without delving into money issues, because money matters.
The obvious question is – why is money so important to modern life and existence? It is imperative to note that money is not a modern phenomenon, but it is nearly as old as the human race. People developed money and the use of it because by and large human beings love a convenient and good life. There is no one who would struggle if there was a choice between struggle and a serene and prosperous life.
Money is not an end in itself and it is important to realise this point especially for any person who desires success and a good life. The mere possession of large sums of money does not solve life’s most pressing and important problems such as the desire for wellbeing, being accepted by others, being happy and fulfilling one’s dreams and passions. The best way for one to start making money is to find out what one is passionate about which other people need but do not have.
The making of money is about solving problems and meeting other people’s legitimate and lawful needs. When one pursues their life’s dream and passion with conviction and zeal, sooner than later, one starts to see money coming their way.
Money helps people in a modern society to fulfil their dreams and goals. This is one of the main reasons why money is the most popular and widely used of all commodities in society. Few people realise that money is actually a commodity. It can be bought or sold just like any other commodity. The easiest (I must admit the hardest) way that most of us acquire/buy money is by selling our labour. This is what we call work in modern parlance.
When a people says they are working in town or in the country, they actually mean that they sell their labour in town or in the country. Work in the modern world is a technical term which means yielding one’s labour skills to acquire money which in turn is exchanged for other commodities in the economy. People work all the time.
When they clean their houses and yards at home and wash clothes, they will be working. Nevertheless, one cannot go around telling other people that he or she is working without corresponding money-making to show for it.
Unfortunately many people realise it when it is too late and they are too old and tired that work in the everyday sense is one of the poorest methods of making money. The key reason which explains why most people choose to sell their labour effort to acquire money is that many people are afraid of risks.
It is risky to leave one’s job and set out into an unknown territory to chart a new course of life or to commit one’s hard-earned income to a venture whose stream of income or cashflow may sometimes be as uncertain as the rolling of a dice.
This explains the shortage of entrepreneurial skills or business-oriented people in society. It needs to be emphasised that when an economy is working well, all other things being the same, it is business people who make more money because they control factors of production and production processes as well. Workers at best get crumbs from any growing business.
If workers were able to really make meaningful money from selling their labour, we would not be witnessing strikes in gold mines and other money-spinning ventures that we see in the modern world.
The best way in which workers may make meaningful money from a business is to part-own that business. This goes a long way in boosting motivation levels of employees and releasing the dormant creativity and initiative that all human beings have as their inborn gift. This model has been shown not only to work in ensuring the continuity of the company as an economic entity, but in greatly enhancing worker affiliation and loyalty to the company as a social organisation.
There are workers who view certain companies as their home away from home because the money they get from them gives them not only a fighting chance in this life, but also affords them an opportunity to buy the comforts of this life.
For Matabeleland and other regions that have been waiting for many years for the government to give them money to develop, the answer to their plight lies in their own initiative and ability. The change that we long for in this world begins with each and every one of us as individuals.
At times the fortunes of an entire community lie in people who dream big and tell themselves that they have what it takes to start lawful money-making ventures so as to make the world a better place to live in.
When one has made all the money that is to be made in this life, he or she must have the courtesy to donate some of it to good causes. Why? Because everything we have actually belongs to society and it is certain that when we exit, this life we shall yield it back to society one way or the other.
Society has a good memory and a collective mind. It has a way of rewarding those who do good to it and punishing those who are motivated by greediness and selfishness. The rewards normally come immediately in terms of a good reputation as a business or company and hence more business. The punishment may delay, but it comes ultimately. Why again? Because money is one of few important things which only becomes useful when one separates from it.
Ian Ndlovu is an economics lecturer at the National University of Science and Technology. He researches on e-commerce, business and economic issues. He writes in his personal capacity.