August 28, 2011
It is my thinking that some of the best paying careers in the world today actually border on support roles rather than the core needs of man. From oil workers to bankers to medical personnel and IT Pros, most roles that seem very important and pronounced were actually created to support core needs. Financial institutions were created to keep money deposited by those who worked for the money. Along the line they started making more money than those who deposited their hard earned money (by trading money not their own).
Medical workers depend on the reality that once in a while, human organs fail and these days, a lot of money is involved in research, education and remuneration in a bid to address such failures and find out ways of preventing such failures. IT Pros have jobs because most modern systems depend on computers, software and related systems. What happens to food, clothing and shelter? Farmers, Tailors and Masons? No not Hospitality Big-Wigs, Fashion Designers and Architects! These classy people do not really meet basic needs but create sophisticated versions of basic needs.
Anand Giridharadas while speaking at the Platform early this year discussed the concept of Hardship Innovation. He said that the West innovates by creating sophisticated gadgets which people do not need and convincing people that they need such gadgets while innovators in less privileged countries try to meet basic needs in much cheaper ways.
When civilization began, man worked because he needed to sustain himself – feed himself, clothe himself and shelter himself and his family; that was the primary purpose. He later saw the need to give his descendants something to start with. These days, we need to ask ourselves again why we are working. Stacking up money? Acquiring western ‘innovations’? Maintaining a social status? Or are we really still interested in sustaining ourselves and our families/communities, giving our descendants a better chance. Why do you work?