The curse of the ‘begging bowl’ syndrome
Recently I was going through one of the various forms of social media that I frequent and found a group of individuals discussing how Apple, an American multinational technology company is now sitting on US$203 billion in net cash.
During the discussion it was noted that this company, with reserves like this, can actually buy a whole country without even blinking, but according to the participants in the discussion, what else has Apple done to better the the world?
After this discussion I asked myself the question, what do those individuals want Apple to do? Would they want Apple to help all those countries in dire need, enhance the education and production levels in all the poverty stricken countries or simply donate a chunk of their profits to Africa, (of which the bulk of that money will end up in personal individual accounts).
Personally, I think this is just another case of people falling into the ‘begging bowl’ syndrome. Like any other company in the world, Apple started from the bottom and built themselves up until they reached the pinnacle. And again, who says they are not helping were they can. The problem is that on seeing these resounding profits, people feel that Apple owes them and there is need to beg for a piece of the pie.
Frankly speaking, I think Apple does not owe anyone anything. Like any other country, Namibia also experiences the same syndrome, whether it is internal aid or foreign aid. Most of the people have developed that sense of ‘entitlement’ and this is what is basically pulling the continent down, preventing many local firms to progress to greater heights.
This Apple scenario is almost similar to the case of the pound for pound fighter, Floyd ‘money’ Mayweather who was asked on radio if he was going to donate part of his US$300 million he got from the fight to Africa. And his response was lucid as daylight, when he said, what has Africa given us. “Things work two ways.” I know some people will disagree with my view but again they do not get in the ring and get pummelled left right and centre. Instead of people thinking outside the box, they ask for donations. How about they ask for a re-stage similar to the Muhammad Ali fight in the Congo, and then generate money from tourism. People are bound to come for a boxing show like that in Africa.
Meanwhile not even going too far, another case of the ‘curse’ is an example of the so called ‘struggle kids’ who feel they deserve the fruits of the country and act as if other people were not part of the struggle. First go back to school and then apply for a job in the office and not beg for a job that you are barely qualified for. It’s things like this that keep pulling the country down.
In fact who knows if we keep up with this pace over the next couple of years whether we shall also be knocking at everyone’s door for a bail out, even though we have resources in abundance.
According to Professor S.K.B. Asante in a publication in 2007, he said African countries should abandon the ‘begging bowl’ concept of development and endeavour to be self-reliant and self-sustaining. He said it was only through that shift that the continent could lift itself out of the economic quagmire. And to be honest I second his views.
But what seems to be forever a thorn in the flesh, is how the continent is going to lift itself. The moment a country has a change of rule, people often imagine better things to come but in fact, the problems only seem to multiply and hence the curse of the begging bowl stays with us.