Another interesting conversation with an listener
Hi there Lou,
I’m a grade 12 high school student in Toronto. I just heard your segment at 7:55 on the John Oakley show at AM 640. What you said struck a chord with me. Your response to the situation in Nigeria, “it’s not my problem,” due to the corruption and Nigerians not putting their own money into it; I strongly disagree with it. II believe it is partly our problem, and so will be any similar future problem if we just stand by because we’re not there.
Legally, you’re right; it’s not our problem at all. But on an ethical and moral standpoint, we can’t just ignore it. Over 200 girls were kidnapped. With every person that turns their back on these girls, there’s more of a chance that they’ll be lost, sold like livestock, and raped. It makes me sick.
Since I’m a student, I’ll try and give you a fitting analogy. Pretend you’re back in school, and you’re given a group project; only, you’re paired with someone who doesn’t do their work and you can’t switch. You both get the same mark at the end; so do you pull through and get yourself that good mark, or do you sit by and let your grade drop?
I know that’s not a very good analogy, since it’s not our job to help. Not legally, but it is ethically. This is our world, our only planet, humanity’s home. We should want to help, to make our world even that much of a better place.
I apologize for making this such a long message, and if you do read it, thank you. I’m looking forward to hearing a reply from you if possible.
Thanks for listening to The John Oakley Show on Talk Radio AM640 and for your thoughts.
I am as horrified as you at the community standards in Nigeria. I have friends who worked for Shell Oil in that country and from their telling it is a failed state. The situation with these young girls is not new. The public reaction to the tragedy arises from the shock of recognition. The problem in Nigeria is that the wealth of the nation is not building infrastructure or providing for the safety of the citizens. These facts tell me that its not my problem – its their problem and until they are as disgusted with themselves as I am – there will be no improvement.
As far as your classroom example let me tell you how I handled a similar situation. When I was taking a graduate level course in Project Management through the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Calgary we had to undertake a group project. We were randomly thrown into groups and no one had any experience with the other participants. At our first meeting we had to select a project manager.
A couple of members who had little experience were pitching for the position – their offer was to meet every night and on weekends to complete the assignment. As a working professional with a number of extracurricular community activities – I could not allow that much amount of my time to get vacuumed up by an inexperienced project manager. My offer was that if I was selected as project manager we would meet an hour before class which was only held once a week. We would work independently and if everyone did their part I guaranteed that we would all get A’s. I was selected as the project manager and at one point we had a delinquent member who was not communicating and not producing the deliverables that he had been assigned. I fired him. He went to the professor – and was told thats the way of the world and he would have to deal with the consequences. We finished the assignment and all got the A’s I had promised.
The issue is not to help the delinquent become better but to accomplish the assigned task. In the case of the failed state of Nigeria – I have not been assigned that task – but trust me on this if I had been and had adequate resources – it would be solved and some bad actors would be suffering greatly as we speak. Nigeria has the resources - they don’t choose not to.
Make it a profitable day and happy capitalism!