Growing up, one of my mum’s favourite terms was “economize”. She used this term in reference to almost everything under the sun, from asking us (insert: my brother) not to finish all slices of bread to suggesting that there wasn’t a need for too many outfits: one could “economize” what they had.
My mum is a very smart woman but wasn’t educated beyond high school. She wasn’t much of a consumer of news or reader or books from all my recollection, so her intellect was and is still innate. I didn’t realize just how deep it was until I was admitted to University to study Economics: the study of the scarcity of resources and how we manage that.
I introduced my mum only because I am in awe of how she managed to keep my 4 siblings and I afloat, with very limited resources. I grew up in a middle-class, two-parent household and while they both worked outside the home, finances were always tight. Yet I didn’t know that until I was much older and seeking the more luxurious items in life: such as trendy shoes or clothes. Throughout my early childhood, my mom had organized our family into a well-run economic system where we all pitched in with chores: cooking, farming, helping each other with homework etc. These kept us all busy in our little areas of expertise that we didn’t notice any lack.
Most world Governments that thrive do so by running a similar establishment to what my mum did. They encourage and develop many competencies in their citizenry so that each contributes to the whole. The farmers can add to the food basket, as teachers teach, doctors heal etc. Ideally, each group is compensated fairly (my mum fed us well) and can then purchase the goods or services they can’t produce. Eventually, these citizens can develop their skills enough to market them outside of their immediate surroundings thereby presenting opportunities to grow their incomes even more.
I am reliving my Economics study through the lens of my mum’s home. At what point did the perfectly “economized” household start experiencing scarcity? Was it real or created by outside notions of basic needs? It is possible for an Economy to thrive while existing in a wider, more diversified environment, which creates new supply and demand for non-native goods and services.
I will keep tacking these points only because I do extremely love Economics as a social science but also because I am a dreamer and believe that if I can figure out how the world can achieve Economic stability, as seen from my mum’s eyes, perhaps world peace is achievable after all.
I created this blog intending to address an issue that’s close to home but as life often does, I found myself swayed in a different direction (I am still going to chat about that and other issues on my other blog ThePhoenix)…for now, let’s talk business.
I recently signed a contract to be the North American rep for Faida Investments Inc: https://fib.co.ke/. As a Kenyan who’s been gone from home for way to long (trying not to age myself here), I jumped at the opportunity to not only invest directly but take my fellow diasporans (sic) with me on that journey.
In grad school, I had a very enthusiastic professor, Zoltan Acs, who needless to say is now a management Prof. at LSE – (bragging sufficiently done and out of the way:)) He spoke about how the great philanthropists of yester-years provided the US economy with strong foundation in the form of endowments for higher education such as Harvard and Princeton endowments, cultural endowments such as museums and even medical research such as the Howard Hughes Medical foundation. These grants have taken over the role of Government in providing research funds and allowing for faster growth which has propelled the US further ahead than if it had relied on Government coffers only.
Hang with me for a second while I sell you on why trading in the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) could be the way for those of us in the diaspora to contribute to the Kenyan Economic development. By listing on the market, companies open themselves up to scrutiny. As potential investors, we are able to decide where to place our money and can be activists investors who push for better management, perhaps for organizations that give back to their communities or are keen on saving the environment. Some of the companies employ large portions of the local population and by investing in them, we inadvertently ensure that our families and friends stay employed. Strong financials would free the companies to pursue growth and investments opportunities that would serve to build the economy.
I would love to start an endowment fund that would rival the Mayo Clinic Foundation because heaven knows our fellow citizens need it but I know that your money is tight and there are only so many harrambees (yeah- the original GoFund Me- don’t get me started on my thoughts on that) you can contribute to. However, by investing in the bourse, it gives you a chance to get some money for something (please tell me you got the rock reference there)
Call me an idealist- yes please do because that’s who I am. I am not motivated by money but more by being a small part of making a great change for the future of our children and theirs.
I am as new at this as you may be but together, tutaweza!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton