SCARCITY MENTALITY

Just a little bit more! This was John D. Rockefeller's response to the journalist who inquired about how much money is enough. And this unexpected view from a person that controlled much of the oil industry in the 19th and 20th Centuries reflects the core of humanity and the state of the heart of man. All that it would take to make one happy, whether the multibillionaire or the pauper, is just a little bit more.

Quite naturally, individuals in large families with constrained resources scramble for the available resources than in smaller households. The genuine or unfounded panic brought about by the mere thought that the meagre resources may run out before we have our fill is the basis of the scarcity mentality.

Scarcity mentality is not about the urge to work hard to make a good living or for self-improvement. Neither is it not about astute investment from honestly earned resources. It is all about greed. And the greedy protect their voracity by all means necessary, even if extreme.

The irrational fear of depleting resources is the driving force in acquisition of much more than the fair share of the available resources, from the sublime to the ridiculous; from the big to the small.

The scarcity mentality manifests commonly as greed, the root cause of corruption.

The scarcity mentality expresses itself in the inordinate desire to possess more than our fair share including what belongs to others. We see it when those in power grab public and private land for selfish gain, when land meant for public good, for roads, for schools and for health facilities is possessed. We see it when politicians vote to inflate their already massive salaries.

We see the scarcity mentality when individuals sell “air” and imaginary space to Government. We see it among officers tasked with law enforcement. We see it when roads take too long to construct but disintegrate rapidly shortly afterwards due to the inferior material used and poor workmanship. We see it when rental houses collapse due to limited curing.

Scarcity mentality manifests when projects cost many times more than the initial estimate. We see it when money meant for HIV-AIDS and Covid-19 treatment and care is misappropriated. We see it when individuals stash abroad over six trillion Kenya shillings, a figure comparable to the country’s total borrowed money from local and foreign sources, which constitutes about 65% of the country’s GDP.

Greed finds satisfaction in "just a little bit more". The moth and the rust and the thief do not deter avarice. “Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’” For where the treasure is, there is the heart also.

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