The Quid Pro Quo
Altruism, people doing things out of the kindness of their hearts. It’s a nice thought isn’t it? Well unfortunately, that’s not how the world works. Rarely do people do things out of the kindness of their hearts, there is a quid pro quo. That is, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. It’s an incentive, a bargaining chip used to get what you want.
Now this goes for business, friendships, romantic relationships, all interpersonal dynamics to be quite frank. You need to offer something of value to that other party to exchange for something that you want.
The question then becomes, what is valuable? Well there are a few key points on things that are valuable which are covered in Econ 101. Firstly, there has to be demand for such skill or product, secondly is how much supply of it is available, the less the more valuable.
Another way you can put it is, what do you bring to the table?
Putting this into practice. Take the example of practical professional skills as one such example. In the west, say the US, white collar professional skills are needed and valued, no doubt about it. But such skills are a dime a dozen. (Practically) everyone has an undergraduate degree in one of these professions.
Therefore what you have to offer is not valuable. But if you go to a wild, untested, untapped frontier market such as where I am right now in Freetown, your status suddenly jumps leaps and bounds upward. When what you have to offer becomes scarce, it becomes valuable as you have entered an unlevel playing field.
And that means an opportunity to milk your privileges.
And that means leverage.
Kingston S. Lim
July 7, 2021
Freetown, Sierra Leone