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Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Essence of getting Ideas and Knowledge

Written by: Dr. Chidi Okpaluba


Ideas are capital, the rest is just plain money – Deutsche Bank

All achievement, all earned riches have their origin in an idea – Napoleon Hill

In the pre – industrial and even up to the industrial age, the wealth of a people or nation is measured by the size of its physical structures such as land, minerals etc.
In those days, if your family didn’t own a large expanse of land for agriculture, mineral deposits or large plantation of economic trees, you will be poor, because you could then only work for those who had those physical resources and get paid for your labour. And there is only so little labour can give you in terms of remuneration.

This meant that you were limited totally by your place of birth. If your parents worked as laborers in the farmland of the wealthy, you would likely work in the same farmland when you grow up.

But today the story has changed. Now, ideas and Knowledge rule the world. You can be born in a ghetto and you move instantly to a palace by the power of your idea or knowledge.

The place of your birth does not matter again after all. You don’t need money anymore to be rich, all you need to generate wealth is one powerful idea that will affect many people.

Today the wealth of a nation is no longer measured by the size of its land or the mineral resources it has buried within its soil. The wealth of a nation and or any individual is now measured by the power of idea or knowledge.

It is this idea or knowledge that drives technology which in turn drives the world. Today, the wealthiest nations or individuals are not those with abundance natural or mineral resources but those with technology which is a product of human wisdom.

Africa today is the poorest continent on earth despite the fact that it has over 70% of the world’s mineral resources. If these were true measure of wealth, Africa would have been the wealthiest continent on earth.

Despite being endowed with enormous mineral deposits, majority of Africans, still live below poverty level. This is because, Africa leaders did not understand the power of knowledge and ideas, and as such did not invest in the development of its human resources.

Their emphasis was on tapping the abundant mineral resources that is buried in their soil without any emphasis on people development.
It is saddening that even the technology to tap these mineral resources is imported from overseas and African countries pay billions of dollars to the western world for helping them tap even the natural resources they have in their soil.

Nigeria for instance has paid over 300 billion dollars to Netherlands, Britain, and United States of America for helping us tap our oil.

The western world understand the power of knowledge and as such invested heavily in the development of its citizens while most Africa leaders placed more emphasis on picking up cheap money from natural resources without adding any value to such.
Is it not painful that gold is extracted from African soil, exported in its raw form, polished in the west and imported back to Africa at very high premium?

Africans will export a container of cocoa and use the proceeds to import two or three cartons of chocolate.

We are permanently shortchanged by the developed world because of our leader’s lack of foresight to develop our people and hence develop the economy.
The poverty in Africa today is induced by lack of knowledge or ideas. 

The leadership has not placed emphasis on the superiority of knowledge over guns and power and this is why in most African countries, a colonel in the army earns more than a university professor.

Africa is suffering from the consequences of its leader’s rejection of knowledge as inscribed in the Holy Scriptures,

Isaiah 5:13 – “therefore my people are gone into captivity because they have no knowledge, and their honorable men are famished, and their multitudes died up in thirst.

This implies that our poverty in Africa today is induced by lack of knowledge and can only be solved by our collective pursuit of knowledge and the celebration of the power of knowledge.

I want to believe that this was what prompted our own son, the very eminent Professor Phil Emeagwali to say,

The potentials for progress and poverty alleviation in Africa, relies on capital generated from the power within our minds not from our ability to pick minerals from the ground or seek debt relief. Knowledge and ideas are the engine that drives economic growth.”

To confirm the power of knowledge or ideas over mineral resource or even money, let us look at nations like Japan, Singapore, and even recently India.

What India generates from information technology export is probably more than what we get from the very oil we have been killing ourselves over.

Japan became a great nation and one of the great powers on earth without a single natural resource. I learnt they probably import water.

Singapore, an island that was considered economically unviable has been turned to a country of envy by the understanding of the leaders of the nation who started from beginning to invest in its human potentials – the only unlimited resource available to any nation or organization.

Before the coming up of Microsoft, Bill Gates was unknown wealth – wise and worldwide. But equipped with the power of ideas, he went on in a few years to become among the wealthiest men on earth.

The Google guys, Larry page & Sergey Brin wouldn’t have been noticed anywhere until the force of ideas pushed them to the front stage of fame and influence.
Steve Jobs was relatively unknown, except probably his immediate family until the power of ideas behind the apple computers propelled him to limelight.

What can we say of our own Professor Phil Emeagwali whose knowledge of information technology has transformed from an ordinary immigrant from Africa to a force to reckon with globally.
You cannot talk about the super computers without talking about the intellectual giant.

The world today is ruled by men and women of knowledge and ideas. Knowledge and ideas rule the world.

Go get ideas. Pursue knowledge for your life depends on it. In coming years, your level of influence will be measured by the impact of your ideas or knowledge. Men and women will seek you for what you know.

Your knowledge will attract wealth to you. You will be able to sell your ideas and become wealthy with it.

Therefore get ideas, get knowledge!

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