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Product of Prosperity

By Karmayogi

Men fall into two groups. One leads and the other follows. Those who lead are a handful, others are the large majority.

The former discover new ways of life and set the standard. The latter follow. The leaders understand ideas, methods and processes. The majority that follow fail to understand ideas or anything that is invisible. They need something tangible and concrete. The follower can relate to material products and work to achieve them. The leaders of a community who have discovered the secrets of life cannot communicate to the masses their knowledge.

It is generally understood that man is powerfully motivated to work for money. It is true in a traditional setup. Not so in a fresh situation. Public workers in a rural development project failed to evoke the enthusiasm of the population for their schemes. The scheme was to convert dry lands into irrigated lands. The public workers successfully persuaded a bank to advance money for the farmers to dig borewells. It was a wonder in those days of pre-nationalisation of banks. No farmer came forward to avail of the loan. It was thought an example may trigger the movement. so they chose a poor farmer and helped him to dig a well. The farmer's success in well digging made him earn Rs 23,000 in the first year.

This evoked jealousy, not imitation. In a year the poor farmer's status rose and he mediated settlement of a dispute between two VIPs of the village. The very next day, the whole village agreed to avail of the loans. Man responds more readily to the motivation of prestige than money was the lesson for the public workers. In the early 1900s Henry Ford desired every worker to own a car when car was a status symbol. His new production methods could bring down the price of the car so much that workers started buying cars for themselves. Car is a product. Man, especially physical man, can relate to a car. To him, car represents status. He understands that he attains social status when he buys a car. He works hard to buy a car and buys one. He would work hard to buy a car and thus become prosperous but he would not work hard to become prosperous in the absence of the car. Car, for the common man, is a Product of Prosperity.

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