As a medium of exchange, money is most desired. Without money, one is incapacitated. Poverty is measured according to the level of income one can access. Under normal circumstances, cash receipts would benefit those deserving to be rewarded for work done. However, children and other people, under the guardianship of income-earners, can similarly benefit. This includes the crippled and the sick, under the care of the able income-earners.
Other than the free earners, there are six ways by which any person could receive money. Among those methods, only one; guarantees the peace of mind, and the stability of a nation. The rest should be considered hazardous. For our discussion, let us analyze the demerits, applicable to each of the under-listed methods, before settling on the workable one.
The first is a bank robbery. There is truth in that one could suddenly become rich, after having robbed a bank. When not caught, to account for such a crime, any person could be counted among the rich. This includes corrupt characters in government, where money could be accessed without the exchange consideration.
The risks are high, but the erosion of one’s dignity is the highest. That person cannot be comfortable with questions about his source of wealth. That person lives under the shadow of unexpected possibilities. He could be jailed for theft, ruining all his ambitions. But money obtained that way is also often spent recklessly.
A human being is described by his character, and not necessarily by his possessions. One may own various properties, but feel empty, as long as having dubiously obtained such wealth. Others may have committed murder, to obtain such wealth, serving to haunt their well-being. The spirits of such people can never be at peace.
Their offspring would be out of balance, with normal conditions of living. A country with such characters is accursed. More criminals get generated, normalizing the abnormal environment. There cannot be safe people in such a country. Whether the person dies early or lives longer, the effects would remain the same. The person dies without obtaining peace of mind.
None Supply deals
The second method of making money is by entering into contracts to supply products or services, which never materialize. The person receives money, promising to supply or provide services which never materialize. In Zimbabwe, many companies survive under such conditions. The victims are often tricked, as to be unable to redeem what would have been lost. Such dubious companies have a network of legal firms, serving to protect their nefarious activities.
This includes under-supplying or reducing product quality, in violation of agreements. The supplies are often covered in generalities, avoiding specifics that could facilitate litigation. Such dealers are experts in ensuring that the naïve clients cannot sue, in the event of being shortchanged. They prejudice the inexperienced victims, using this type of blatant corruption.
Under normal conditions, one sues, to redeem the incurred losses, resulting from contract violations. However, under a corrupt governing system, such nefarious dealings protect criminals, rather than prejudiced individuals. Zimbabwe carries a catalogue of criminals, law firms and magistrates, who have colluded to prejudice innocent individuals. The environment of business dealings in Zimbabwe has produced more criminals than genuine entrepreneurs. Most companies appear innocent, yet extremely corrupt.
The endemic corruption includes politicians, descriptive of a corrupt governing system. Non-suppliers may appear as successful, under the extremely difficult conditions, but ethically eroded, spiritually. Their children may also adopt the idea of corruption, to ensure the sustenance of corruption in their pedigree.
Those who care to analyze the causes of Zimbabwean problems would realize that this reveals the effects of nefarious business activities. Such criminals are accorded the status of being authentic businessmen but are criminals to the core. The difference, when compared to bank robbers, is that bank robbers are regarded as blatant criminals, while they are accorded the respect of being businessmen.
Fake business dealers appear genuine but can be just as dangerous as bank robbers. Most of them would have corpses underground. Their victims are unsuspecting individuals. Although publicly respected, such unscrupulous characters can never be inwardly at peace with themselves.
Strict Legal deals
The third way of making money is through strict conformity with contractual agreements. This requires legal expertise in drafting such contracts, to avoid being shortchanged. The only difference, compared to previous deals could be compliance with the law. However, there would be no affinity among business associates. This can especially be very uncomfortable for elderly people, without sufficient education, for instance.
Legal firms are consulted for purposes of foolproof business contracts. But, safety cannot be guaranteed, as lawyers are also humans, susceptible to tomfoolery. Cases of rampant violation of aspects of contractual terms are rampant. However, operating under strict legal deals carries some semblance of security, against unethical conduct.
The disadvantages, associated with strict legal deals could also be cost-related. Prices are inflated by legal cost considerations so that the end-user pays exorbitantly. The product becomes expensive, but without value-addition, necessarily; although the legal costs would be intended to enforce the required standards.
Strict legal deals can be workable when operating without the effects of corruption. But, in a corrupt environment, lawyers could also be entangled in corrupt activities. The general public trust lawyers, but is unaware that lawyers could also be suspiciously dubious. Even when fairly represented, elderly people remain suspicious.
The possibility of legal misrepresentation cannot be completely removed. Corruption is found even in countries known to be governed ethically, where economic conditions are known to be stable. Money-making methods, as outlined above, are necessitated by desiring to come out of poverty.
These ideas remain risky, not appealing to those wishing to sustain normal living conditions. The timid ones are those who prefer being employees, so that they can be guaranteed to receive pensions, after having reached the retirement stage.
A fourth idea is an employment contract. This appears safest, but only under a normal governing system. The person is assured of his regular pay, as to be able to pay rent, buy food and send children to school. Trade unionism provides some protection from a capitalistic environment. This enables workers to be more secure than the possibly naïve businesspeople.
The security of an employee is in his ability to be highly productive. He could bargain for higher pay, as long as adjudged as hardworking. This requires professionalism in workplaces. In a stable economy, a hardworking individual could live normally, being able to cater for his family’s needs, as an employee.
The pension could be used to guarantee livelihood at the retirement age. The natural phenomenon of ageing and dying is fully appreciated by workers, who avoid worrying about business ambitions. Employees prefer living simple lifestyles being debt-free and living ethically. In a stable economy, employees could be safe. This is different from entrepreneurs whose challenges would rarely bother employees.
The only possible danger, confronting employees comes in the event of economic upheaval. Employees become the first victims when the country is attacked by inflation. In a more pronounced way, Zimbabwe can be used as a perfect example of how employees get affected in an inflationary environment.
Even the most loyal and hard-working employees got retrenched, as the country experienced political madness. Workers lost their pensions overnight, and many died due to stress-related illnesses. During that inflationary phenomenon, the most affected people were those engaged in employment contracts.
The twenty-first century brought an experience that eradicated the idea of feeling safe in employment contracts. Entrepreneurship became necessary for most Zimbabweans. However, everything needs balance. A country cannot be sustainable where everyone becomes an employer, without the contracted legal employees. This introduced a peculiar nature of problems.
Graduates from universities could not be employed, yet they were unable to start their businesses, as lacking capital. Those with money found themselves attached to nefarious business activities, as previously outlined. Most of those graduates got streamlined into corruptible business activities for survival purposes, thereby christening the corrupt environment.
The fifth idea of acquiring money could be gambling. One may win a jackpot and assume being financially stable for the rest of his life. Of course, the person cannot be described similarly to those dubiously acquiring finances. But, the sudden acquisition of obtaining huge sums of money, without some form of exchange, is like building a house without a foundation.
The house might appear strong, but as temporary as anticipated to fall in the next rainy season. There is no sustainable financial security that can be derived from gambling. A person having obtained money through a jackpot might not have an idea of wisely spending it. However, when willing to accept good advice, the person might buy some shares from the stock market.
Possibly, the recipient of that jackpot might be kept afloat for the rest of his life. But without proper balance, the recipient of such a windfall may be overwhelmed. When having been poor, Jackpot winners tend to spend recklessly. Any person can analytically track the recipients of those jackpots, in the last twenty-five years.
The awakening truth would be that none of them could sustain their wealth beyond twenty-five years. Such a wealth floundering lives the person in his original poverty condition. Who in this world has ever been recognized for having maintained his wealth, after winning a jackpot? At least none can be found in Zimbabwe.
Of greater importance is that wealth is sustained by what one gives to other people. This is different from assuming that wealth is maintained by avoiding giving to other people. It may be a question of time, before reverting to poverty, after winning a jackpot. Others become addicted to gambling, desiring to strike a jackpot, which would never be achievable.
Does this leave us without any safer idea of making money in Zimbabwe? How does one survive, under such circumstances? I have good news. There is no need for despair. There is only one safest idea for making money, guaranteeing success, not only in the present time but also in the world to come. We bring this last, so it remains ingrained in the minds of the readers.
The sixth and last idea of making money in Zimbabwe focuses on giving. This idea is not taught in commercial colleges. But it remains the only workable idea that was practised by Jesus, whose philosophy remains relevant up to this day. The workability of this idea can be found in most of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Good people are protected by ordinary people in their surrounding area.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV).
In short, the significance of what Jesus taught was that the life of an individual is sustained by what the same person does or gives to his fellow humans. There is no other safer idea leading to perpetual survival than catering for the needs of other people.
The workable businesses miss it when failing to aim at achieving the goal of solving problems in communities. Instead, they get entangled in the idea of seeking to accumulate profits, which then invites corruption. The most important datum is that human beings are more important than money.
Jesus used another parable to illustrate the importance of catering for humanity’s needs. This was when He gave the parable of a shrewd manager in Luke 16:1-10. The shrewdness of that manager was not in corruption, necessarily. His focus was on the welfare of his clients, who then looked after him during his unemployment period.
“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:8-9 NIV).
Jesus was illustrating the significance of catering for other people, ahead of oneself. This idea suggests value in considering other people’s problems more than focusing on one’s problems. One wishes that our graduates could realize the value of giving to other people.
Rather than lament, and complain about the government’s ineptitude, the graduates exercise giving, serving people in their neighbourhoods. I know of some teachers who earn a good income, helping students, who then pay commensurately. In some way, this portrays an idea of catering for others more than desiring to be catered for.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99