Wednesday, June 13, 2012

why are we incompetent?

in developing countries, we take things that are broken for granted - shitty roads, shitty procedures, shitty everything. no, we actually expect them. when we deal anyone from our countries, we automatically assume that the quality will be inferior.

but why?

what is it that stops people from doing things well? i mean, the deeper question i'm looking for is, what is competence? what is that innate drive (ability?) that pushes some people to do things well, and others to do them half-assed? and from there, what is it in developed societies that guides the collective consciousness to just look not only at doing things well, but for ways to do them better?

is it a matter of skill? i'm sure it's part of it, but how much skill is required to slip a fucking burger properly? or realize that the bun is stale? or that the fries are mushy? is it a matter of education and sophistication? i really doubt it since the incompetence i've seen didn't seem to discriminate based on knowledge. like i said, how much does it take to know that a job was done well?

i may have finally figured it out, and i think my original question should be reversed. it shouldn't be a question at all - instead of asking "what is it about people from developing countries that stops them from being competent?" i should've stated the fact as "collective incompetence is what classifies the country as being a developing country." it's not the money or buildings or cars or cell phones or how much internet connectivity it has. bear with me.

i think it's basic human psychology: it's the link between effort and reward. the biggest difference between developed and developing countries is that in the earlier a job well-done is rewarding in itself. even if there was no money or recognition involved, people strive to do better because it makes them happy. it makes them feel accomplished and productive - alive, for lack of a more encompassing word. in contrast, people in developing countries look at things backward - they work for money. what that practically translates into is doing as little as possible to get the job "done" by the minimum definition of the word. what is lost here, of course, is what does beyond the minimum definition of the word, like the difference between a lada and a bmw (both, using the minimum definition, are cars).

i am, of course, generalizing, and i may be being unfair to many hard working, accomplishment driven individuals, but the generalization holds, i believe. until the developing country's collective consciousness starts recognizing competence as a reward in itself, it'll forever remain developing.