People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world

'People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do’1

Now that we have established that am I obsessive, I hope you are crazy, too.

One of the things South Africa needs at the moment is jobs. Better yet, jobs where people can earn a sustainable income. You might argue that job creation and the economy should be the concern of politicians and corporate strategists. I am sure it is. But South Africa’s unemployment and the state of the economy directly influence my everyday life, so I’m not going to leave it all in their hands.

Democracy, the rule of the people, is an involved concept. Becoming engaged in civic causes is admirable and necessary and yet most of us are just trying to get on with our lives. Generally those lives don’t include being a full-time ‘change agent’. Luckily we can change our world in the everyday things we do.

Having moved far away from a subsistence existence, we rely on a division of labour and most of us buy what we need. In this way, the capitalist system we are currently stuck with, has given us a tool for change. We don’t have to hand over our money to the first bidder. We can choose to channel our buck to where it can make a difference, all in the process of shopping for what we need – and want.

Buying local products supports local jobs. Of course we also support jobs in South African retail if we buy imported products. But buying local products keeps the money in the country and creates further job opportunities and skills. Buying local creates a demand for local products, starting a virtuous cycle that encourages investment in and expansion of local industries. That can in turn contribute to lower prices and to reducing our scary trade deficit stemming from importing more than we produce and export.

We buy things anyway. Buying local products will contribute to positive change.

1 1997 'Think Different' advert by Apple Computer.