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Some wealthy people often seek to please their children by employing other people’s services for their comfort, even for grown-ups. Overdependence on assistants, cleaners, bodyguards, drivers, gardeners and cooks often deny them opportunity to learn doing these things for themselves.[1] And if the flow of resources for maintaining these external services accidentally reduces, the children become extremely frustrated. Out of frustration or desperation, they may join crime, resort to drugs or become suicidal. Without developing and utilizing their energies for productivity, humans are prone to degeneration in health of mind and body.

 


Advocates of consumerism continually suggest that working for people shows poverty, inferiority, low social class and suffering. Hence, some people discourage their wives, daughters and loved ones from working, since they can afford everything they need. Because of this mentality, many young people seek easy ways to accumulate and flaunt luxurious wealth without working hard. Some countries with manipulated access to world’s resources easily provide luxuries for their citizens without imbibing the culture of productivity. Instead, they employ foreigners from less wealthy or crisis-laden societies to work for an over-pampered generation of dummies.[2]

 

Productivity is “the rate at which a worker, company or country produces goods, and the amount produced, compared with how much time, work and money is needed to produce them.[3] It is the capacity to consistently and efficiently apply labour on resources in order to produce useful items in the society. Most of the goods (wealth) that humans need for survival are produced or sustained by some other people’s productivity. Productivity requires a lot of training, personal discipline, research and consistency to sustain human life. Fortunately, humans have made a lot of progress in creating wealth for human life in medicine, transportation, construction and others.

 

Since humans have succeeded in creating much wealth, it appears that those with access to resources do not need to work:

  • They already have capacity to acquire the material things they want.
  • Their absence from productivity creates chances for other people to work and earn money.
  • Their high-taste-demands provide motivation and patronage for newer inventions.
  • They do not need to suffer the pressure of meeting up other people’s demands and targets.
  • Their parents have already suffered for them to be comfortable, so they don’t have to suffer.
  • To avoid over-productivity and glut, too much goods and little need for use.
  • To avoid over-exploitation of natural resources that are used for productivity.

 


On the contrary, the seeming plenitude of created wealth has not eradicated hunger, emptiness and crime in the world. Hence, productivity may be necessary for everybody in a given society for some reasons:

  • To actualize their potentials: human beings are creators, and not just consumers. Each human is created with talents, powers and dispositions for impacting their environment. Through the willingness for productivity, humans discover, develop and utilize their potentials for good. As long as there are people still in physical or emotional lack, each person’s productivity is important for human wealth.
  • To develop a healthy sense of pride: ‘dignity-in-labour’ is a phrase that emphasizes the social value of being an important asset in the society instead of liability. Contributing to productivity gives people an emotional satisfaction of contributing to common good and a confidence for obtaining other people’s products in exchange for theirs.
  • To unite people: success in modern productivity rose from reorganising production process for specialization and division of labour in the society. In the early phases of human society, production was scattered and atomized according to family and communal identity.[4] Over time, production advanced, leading to product specialization, larger industrial collaboration and socio-political alliances between former independent communities.[5] One community produced steel, another rubber and another copper or leather, all used for manufacturing wagons. These industrial collaborations and socio-political alliances for higher productivity unite the different people who contributed to the process.
  • To cultivate prudence, patience and contentment in people: those who do not experience the long and difficult process in cultivating food may easily waste food. Since they have not experienced the enduring pain in productivity, unproductive people often become ungrateful, impatient, greedy and wasteful. Pampered people who have not experienced the enduring pain of productivity often become insensitive to the suffering in the world.
  • To cure boredom and meaningless living: “boredom is a sign of lack of inner resourcefulness”.[6] Unproductive people spend their time consuming other people’s products without passing through the brain-refining process of production. Yet, due to silencing their natural human productive instincts, they easily get bored of other people’s products. Their lives become meaningless.
  • To reduce crimes by positively engaging the mind: human mind is like farmland, if you do not plant good seeds in it, weed will grow. Without productive outlets for human energy, it seeks destructive outlets: humans have the energy for creativity, and if not utilised for creativity, it becomes used for destruction.

 


Presently, people in mineral-rich communities, especially in Africa, are encouraged to relax and enjoy wealth from selling cheap crude-resources to Europeans. They are also deceived to believe that they (Africans) lack mental capacity to use mineral resources for industrial productivity.[7] And that they can only survive by finding mineral resources to exchange with foreigners for consumer products. This has led to wars[8] between colonially-merged communities fighting to grab lands in order to supply mineral resources to foreigners. This foundational removal of productivity has kept Africans underdeveloped, and constantly competing on ability to consume costly foreign products.

 

No matter the amount of wealth in a society, no human being deserves to be denied the human-actualizing process of productivity. Until an individual contributes to productivity, the individual may never experience the creative fulfilment of humanity. He may never find happiness or purpose for his existence.

 

“All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.”[9]

[1] Cf. Jocko Willink, Discipline Equals Freedom…

[2] Kaku Michio, “America has a secret weapon” in YouTube https://m.youtube.com/watch?gl=NG&v=NKOY9j_CGgM&hl=en-GB#watch_actions

[3] Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, International Student’s Edition. S.V. Productivity

[4] Walter Rodney, How Europe underdeveloped Africa, 2009 edition (Abuja: Panaf Publishers, 2009). P217

[5] Ibid. pp217, 139-140

[6] Stannis Baratheon to his Daughter, Game of Thrones, Season 4

[7] Chinua Achebe, There was a country (New York: Penguin books, 2012), p.157

[8] cf. Richard Dowden, Africa altered states, ordinary miracles. (New York: Public Affairs, 2010). p.3-4

[9] Pope Paul VI.