Quality vs Quantity: why you’re loosing money by not demanding quality
“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it”.
John D. Rockefeller knew a thing or two about money. If you correct for inflation, he was the richest American to have ever lived. Bill who? Buffett what? Even Jay-Z named his Roc-A-Fella business empire after him. It is a shame that Ghana is so completely dismissive of his advice.
In today’s Ghana, money is everything. It has seeped deep into our collective consciousness. Personal relationships. Policing. Politics. Sexual politics. Pandering to the wealthy few instead of the masses. No economies of scale here. The Bible paints the picture of a Jesus who – like all other respectable religious figures – placed spirituality over materialism. You wouldn’t think it looking at the churches that spring up in his name on every corner of Accra, linking spiritual wealth to commercial success, selling holiness like a commodity.
The revolution will not be televised, it was once said. In Ghana, the revolution has been branded, packaged, televised, sold and long forgotten.
There was once a balance. Higher ideas; higher because they benefited the whole rather than the individual. Honour. Pride. Being a citizen. Art for art’s sake. Imagination. Innovation. It wasn’t always about survival, self-comfort and personal gain. It was about making our dreams as a nation come true.
We seem to have lost sight of that. Commercial considerations come first and decide everything. Musicians ape musical trends, pay payola for airplay and queue with hands stretched out for slices of that corporate pie. Film makers make inartistic films for quick returns to short-term loan sharks. Craftsmen perpetually recreate the art, crafts and symbols our ancestors optimistically passed down to us in the hope that we would further their innovation. Stagnancy is everywhere.
Here at Dust, we regularly encounter those who favour quantity over quality; suits who couldn’t understand the importance of the latter even if we broke it into molecular-sized morsels of truth. That is the nature of business: everything must conform to a bottom line.
To what end though?
We complain when politicians already enriched by politics seek more. When we are asked for bribes. When we see pretty young women sitting at expensive tables with pot-bellied old men (be they homegrown or expatriate). We complain when landlords flaunt the law and ask for advances that price the youth out of the market. Yet we fail to see the links between the money-obsessed system we have all bought into and the fruits it yields.
We need to find ways to restore the old balance. Those motivated solely by money and self-comfort must be balanced out by others motivated by higher principles and things we can all benefit from. Of course, “e no be principles wey man go chop”, but higher things like art are linked to imagination and imagination is critically important: it represents our capacity to dream ourselves beyond our present set of circumstances.
“We are going. Heaven knows where we are going. We’ll know we’re there.” These may be memorable lyrics but they are not a good enough mantra for a nation trying to move itself forward. We need to colour our dreams in and visualize them in order to move towards them. To do this, we must start investing in imagination.
Money does not exist in a vacuum to be worshipped. Some things are long-term investments the value of which will eventually far outstrip short-gain. Support every last Ghanaian going against the grain; everyone struggling in this money-obsessed system to do things differently. It’s called innovation and it can even be profitable. Help – rather than supress – those whose intention is to stretch our imagination’s boundaries. Such visionaries remind us of our real aims as a people. Not wealth attainment.
Quality of life.