Economists are the self-declared high priests of social sciences. They mesmerise the public with their equations, graphs and jaw-breaking concepts. Below these high priests are the people who make economics real.
The lay leaders of this discipline are called the hustlers. Hustling is the training school of successful businessmen. Hustlers are the key players in hustlenomics, exemplified by a lack of clear laws and taking advantage of opportunities.
Simplicity is the pedestal on which hustlenomics stands. The elite know the hustlers run the economy. Why are ‘locals’ and ‘vibandas’ always full? One gentleman I know decided to convert his makuti bar into a modern hotel, with self-contained rooms and conference rooms. He went bankrupt.
He discovered, to his surprise, that his clients wanted a place they can unleash their true selves — their hustler selves, even with their big cars and expensive suits. They wanted to be able to talk in mother tongue, joke with the waiters, and shout to friends across the room that they are thirsty. You can’t do that in a five-star hotel.
The beauty about hustlenomics is that, contrary to popular belief, even the elite are players in this type of economy. Hustlenomics is much bigger than the glitternomics espoused by clean, well-lit streets, order and modern buildings. In Kenya, the informal sector, the playground of the hustlers, has created more jobs than the formal sector.
In China, SMEs employ nearly 65 per cent of the workforce and generate 60 per cent of GDP. In the coming months, we shall explore hustlenomics in detail: its key characteristics, its key players, its role in different sectors and its future.