Being Rich in a Poor Country
It seems that the highest standard of living is in a developed country like America. But I find that the higher standard of living is in a poor country, when you are financially comfortable, if not necessarily rich.
The cost of living in developing countries is low. You can get a hamburger for a dollar in Azerbaijan in a respected restaurant. In Mexico, you can have a driver at your disposal twenty–four hours a day. And it costs pennies. You can have three maids at home. One to clean, one to cook, and one to take care of the children. Not to mention gardeners and messenger boys. It will not break your bank account at all. A full–time maid, six days a week, in Guadalajara costs 350 dollars a month.
I heard that many managers who are sent from their multinational company to work in a developing country with their spouses have marriage problems when they come back to their original country. The spouse is unhappy. No more maids, drivers, and nannies.
For the well–to–do, travel is easy. Even If you do not have access to a private plane, which some wealthy people do, you can still travel and, for a minimal fee, receive VIP treatment. This means that when you get off the plane, a limo is waiting for you at the stairs to take you to a VIP lounge. You do not even touch your baggage. It finds its way to the lounge, where it is taken through customs and into your waiting limo. You do not have to go through immigration either. Immigration comes to you, so you can fill out the papers while sipping your coffee.
And if you are rich, you socialize with other rich people who end up in political positions. You know the prime minister or president socially. You use your connections to protect your business.
I was lecturing some years ago in India. I was presenting the argument of how important it is to have a strong marketing department to be able to compete effectively.
During the break, one of the executives in the audience came to me, put his hand around my shoulder, and said with a smile, “You Americans do not understand our world. We do not care about marketing. What is important to us is government connections and relations. The government can stop imports that threaten our market. It can make it difficult for others to get a permit to produce or sell the products we have or stop them altogether. Who cares about marketing?”
It is tough being poor in a rich country. It is really devastating in a poor country.
The best is to be well off surrounded by poverty……. if you believe it is a sustainable situation.
I do not.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes
Founder of Adizes Institute Worldwide