The Empire of Cash

Umair Kazi June 09, 2010

Near the swimming pool, a kid proceeds to push another into the water, resulting in a big splash. The caretaker comes over to reprimand them, but the tiny swimmer starts crying before the guy can say anything.

The kid’s concern: he had a ‘bohat mehengi’ (really expensive) toy car in his hand which was now lodged at the bottom of the pool.

The toy car wasn’t a nice car, or his favourite car, or a special car; it was an expensive car.

“It was for 150 rupees!” he cried.

The kid must be less than eight years old, yet he was thoroughly inculcated with our money-minded culture. Gone are the days when good quality things cost more. Today, it’s the other way around. Now we assume that expensive things must be of good quality. The worth of an object or experience is no longer judged by the utility it brings, rather it is dependent on the price tag it carries.

Since many of my friends have just become financially independent, I see this mentality creeping up in our conversations. I admit, I’m often a party to it. We spend hours and hours chatting up about assets, buying expensive things that we couldn’t afford in our student days, and getting glaze-eyed over the classy lifestyles of our bosses.

At the end of the day, we must ask ourselves: why do we want to get that shiny new BlackBerry? Because we want to be seen with a 40k cell phone or because we want to avail BlackBerry’s integrated services?

Here’s a hint: Half the BB owners I know don’t bother subscribing for BB services.

The article was originally published here.

Umair Kazi A strategist who blogs at
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.