Cost

/involving the loss of:…/

/the effort or loss necessary to achieve something/

 

In the present jotting I will deviate from one definition of the present word. I have resolved to acknowledge that there are certain words for which just one definition won’t do. The present word snugly fits into this resolution.   The cost of living is one of the problems that each of us has to battle with every day. However it is alleviated by the prospects of having a job. With employment comes access to salary and one is able to meet their financial commitment. In our modern age we are faced with rising costs of essential commodities important to our livelihood. These are energy in a form of petrol and electricity which inevitably affects our food and clothing. Such are the galloping cost that Maslow’s pyramid of needs is disturbed without doubt. However this disturbance is acutely felt in the people living in the lower strata of our societies.

At the base of dear Maslow’s pyramid is Physiological well being whereby he asserts that one needs food, water, shelter and warmth. On top of these basics needs is safety, and by this he asserts that you will need security, stability and freedom from fear. At the third strata of ascendance of this marvellous pyramid of survival is belonging whereby one must acquire friends, family, spouse or lover. Fourthly, Self Esteem: in this situation one will then embark on achievement, mastery of something and recognition whereby you will be respected.  Lastly at the apex of the pyramid you reach Self Actualisation whereby you pursue inner talent, creativity and gain fulfilment. Obviously I added some spices to my explanation of the infamous pyramid to render it intelligible. However the crux is retained as much as possible. This is the pyramid of survival in the social wilderness.

A friend the other day shared a sad story of how management in their company made the decision downsize its employees due to financial challenges. This events coordination company isn’t doing enough business to generate revenue. The most heart wrenching detail of all was that of a lady who, after her husband was retrenched about a year ago, she also was going amongst those who would be sacrificed. With two kids at school and no job and being looked after by his wife one can imagine just how awful the gentleman felt having to be taken care off by his wife. Now his wife is also out of work. What will they do to survive? It’s not like when you are out of work there is a charity fund that looks after you because you have done your bit to the tax man. There is of course the scanty blue card nest and if you were wise your pension fund. But how long will these defences last against the rainy season with the daily costs of commodities going up?

What will happen to a household with no income in the short run of things? Perhaps they will turn to their family relation as a last resort. Turning to their families will depend on a couple of scenarios. Firstly, were they there for their respective immediate and extended families needs while they ascended Maslow’s pyramid of needs and secondly are those family relations in turn preoccupied with their own survival that they could not even be bothered by the sufferings of the others.

While our life has moved on over the centuries from that of hunter gathers and a nomadic people to that of pastoralist and farming communities that relied on battering we swiftly made our way into that of a consuming society relying on a few individuals to produce food for us as well as relying on those who by certain means have accrued capital and own enterprises and corporation to employ us.

It dawns then that realise that we could be commoditised to bring income into our social groupings – family. What happens then when our work as a commodity is no longer purchasable? With this question posed you can begin to contemplate farming as a means of self determination and sustenance of the family nucleus however since our mentality of commodity leans more towards consuming than reserving; and besides in the urban areas you are stuck with a small yard to even begin to receive inspiration to plant. In Any case looked the other way farming might even be attractive at face value however it takes skills and knowledge to make it as a farmer.   At any rate money is pivotal to start out, and there is no was that any bank or friend will lent you money if there is no prospect that you will pay them back.

Autumn

Mmutle Arthur Kgokong

 17 April 2012

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