God does not do giveaways.

The journey of wealth through the years.

Wednesday night service @ Divine Apostolic Mission Church of Christ, aka The Redeemed of God People, Abúlé Òkòkò, Ajegunle.

Message: The Demystification of Kingdom Wealth and Riches. 

Prayer session led by Most Senior Apostle Paul Oluwagoke Abraham after a long and powerful message. 

Apostle: Oh Lord, we ask and we pray today that you open the windows of heaven and pour out abundant prosperity upon your children in Jesus’ name! 

Congregation: Amen!! 

Apostle: Dear Father, is there anyone or any power from father’s house or mother’s house, conspiring against your children, preventing them from attaining the glory and the riches you have set aside for them, let fire come down from heaven and consume them in Jesus’ name!!!!

Congregation (in a louder voice): Amen!!!!

....... 

You can hardly visit a Nigerian church and not see this kind of scenario play out and hear this prayer or a variant of it. It has become the de-facto national anthem for most congregations. They chant it at every service. Should a neutral person be observing, with full knowledge of the poverty level in Nigeria, he or she will conclude that either the connection from Nigeria to heaven is using Glo* network or God doesn't have any money to give to us. Because there is no way people would expend so much energy on prosperity prayers and still be abjectly poor.

Well, the talk today is not to argue whether God has money to give (even if he has, by now, the one he allocated to Nigeria must have finished). My plan today is to remove the cloak of secrecy wrapped around wealth by some Nigerian clerics. It irks me to see these men act like they are some sort of gatekeepers of the doors to abundant wealth and riches. They go about teaching and preaching about wealth like some esoteric concept, talking about how you need to fulfill some minimum requirements or kill some village people (aka enemies) before you can be allowed to enter into the riches that they are gatekeepers to; when in fact they are just arrogant charlatans who are only interested in building a cult of personality around themselves by peddling gibberish and lies. 

Anyone who has paid enough attention to the world around will understand how wealth and wealth creation works. They will know that with the right macroeconomic policies by policymakers and personal astuteness on the part of individuals, a geographical location will create wealthy people faster than any Nollywood money ritualist will. If you study history well, you will begin to see a pattern or path that wealth creation has followed throughout the years. It’s no secret. It’s out there in the open for all to see and that is what I will be examining today.

Humans began to accumulate wealth as they transitioned from being hunters to farmers. Previously, as hunters, they moved from place to place and survived by hunting animals and picking fruits. They lived for the moment and didn’t care about what was going to happen in the future. Also, they didn't stay in one place, the whole of humanity was a traveling band. There was no need to accumulate excess resources, such resources became extra items of baggage to carry during their constant journeys, which could become burdensome. They only had in their possession what they needed. The concept of wealth in those times was more or less non-existent. 

Things began to change as humans became farmers, and settled down into colonies, hamlets, and villages. Complex social structures began to form in geographical locations where humans settled and some forms of resource accumulation began with the people who found themselves at the top tiers of these social structures. As settlements grew into towns, towns into cities, cities into kingdoms and empires, resource accumulation became a common feature and humans started having a nascent form of wealth and riches from people who are now called the upper class. In the beginning stages, wealth was tied to land assets and landed property. The wealthiest men in the world were the biggest landowners. How? You see, at that time, most of the known world was agrarian. Food was the only product produced and sold on a commercial scale. All other goods and commodities were dwarfed beside it. To produce food, land was needed for its cultivation. Fertile land became a very important means of production and a key ingredient for survival. No land, no food. No food, no survival. So, most of the early human civilizations grew around very fertile lands and a large body of water because such huge reservoirs of water were needed for irrigation. The Egyptian civilization, for instance, grew around the  Nile river, the Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia (current day Iran) grew around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. 

Seeing how precious fertile land was, the elites began to accumulate it for themselves through both crooked and legal means. A famous example was told in the Bible when Joseph told the people of Egypt to give up their land for food. Truth be told, one of the biggest motivations for war in those early times was the amount of fertile land that was going to be annexed and taken from the losers in such wars. 

After the elites got control of these large areas of land, poor citizens and slaves alike were hired to work on them, their pay was a tiny fraction of the harvest of whatever was cultivated after the rest had been sold off while the proceeds from those sales went to the vault of the landowners. If you had enough land to yourself, hired slaves to work on it while you took most of the proceeds, you were considered to be a rich guy in those times.  Another way land brought wealth for landowners was if a certain precious resource like gold or silver was discovered on the land they owned, they were considered to have landed it big.

This method of extracting resources (wealth) from the land was the foundation for the business model on which colonialism was built. Africa and South America had abundant resources and wealth in/on their land, so the Europeans went to those continents, and for centuries, they pillaged and extracted whatever resources they could find around enriching themselves in the process. 

The last major way people got wealth was by commercializing their lands by building. This method, which is still very common today, involved people acquiring land in major population centers, building homes on them, and renting them out to the general public. Marcus Crassus, the man who eventually defeated Spartacus during the slave revolt in Rome was considered the richest man because he was the biggest landlord in that ancient city.

These various forms of generating wealth from land held sway from the advent of the Agricultural Revolution around 10,000 BC and reigned supreme until the Industrial Revolution. In between this time went the Egyptians and their pyramids, the Romans and their exploits around the Mediterranean sea, the Middle Ages with the serfs and lords, and the century of colonialism which was motivated by the wealth gotten from annexing other people’s lands as earlier explained. 

One particular thing to note about this type of wealth generation was that no new wealth was being created. It was just being extracted from the ground, and control of these lands and the wealth it carried just passed from one person to another and from generation to generation, through inheritance; some other times, through violence. Upward mobility through the social class was almost impossible. The rich remained rich through the ages, and the poor remained poor or became even poorer. As a result, the global GDP and productivity through these times remained stagnant. But with the advent of the Scientific Revolution/Industrial Age around the 17th century, everything changed. 

When Isaac Newton published his first book, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, in 1657, little did he know that he was adding fuel to the fire of the Scientific Revolution that had begun decades before him in the days of Galileo Galilei. The Scientific Revolution touched and changed every single aspect of human existence, wealth/wealth creation wasn't left out of these changes. In less than 100 years of Newton publishing his book, factories were springing up everywhere, churning out various products at a speed that had never been seen by mankind.

The Industrial Age was underway and before anybody knew what was happening, a new set of wealthy individuals were being produced; the factory owners. These individuals became the richest men, displacing the landowners from the top position they had held for ages.

At the peak of the Industrial Revolution in the 20th century, we had men like Andrew Carnegie of US Steel Corporation, Cornelius Vanderbilt of US Rails, and Henry Ford of Ford Motors, who ran the show. Alongside the Industrial Revolution, there was also a massive breakout in various sectors like banking because they were the ones who financed the majority of the industrial breakthroughs that happened during that era. The man, J.P. Morgan who founded the bank that goes by his name JP Morgan Bank was the star of this sector, these men, at their zenith, were worth more than one trillion should their net-worth be adjusted for inflation.

With the creation of this new form of wealth that wasn’t directly connected to what was coming from above/below the ground, the global GDP had skyrocketed. As of 1000AD, the world’s GDP was a paltry sum of $210.14bn monopolized by agricultural products. By 1500 AD it had doubled to $430.53bn and by 1900 after the industrialists had begun their work, global GDP had increased into a whopping sum of $3.42tr. There were more wealthy people on earth than had ever been, the landowners though still wealthy, now had new competitors for the list of the top richest and the industrial revolution wasn’t done just yet.

The year was 1946. Somewhere on the grounds of the University of Pennsylvania, a group of scientists and engineers with their thick and nerdy glasses had gathered in front of a rather strange looking box that had different knobs and switches on it, the press people were also there and they tagged this big box which filled a whole room a "giant brain". This box was the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). Nobody standing there that day knew the extent of the impact that this machine and its siblings that would be invented later was going to make.

The invention of the computer changed the world in unprecedented ways. Our processing power as a species skyrocketed. We began to do previously unimaginable things - fiction turned into reality, impossible became possible, we landed a man on the moon. Soon, homes and offices became host to these new technologies. Things were moved up a notch when the internet was invented sometime in the 1980s. It became possible to transmit information at the speed of light! This, together with the proliferation of personal computers changed the world completely! With this revolution, dubbed the Information Revolution, a new class of wealthy people emerged, most of whom were computer nerds and geeks, and just like that, the Scientific/Industrial Revolution gave rise to a whole new class of wealth different from landowning.

The information revolution took wealth to a whole new level. Wealth became something that ran deep inside silicon chips and semiconductors. The first geographical location that witnessed this new form of wealth creation was dubbed Silicon Valley. In addition to creating wealth for the information/tech industry, the information revolution also created new industries. The entertainment, sports, TV and news, and gaming sectors were among those that received the Information Revolution's Midas touch. We are still reeling in its effect to date.

To make an important point here, if wealth was being created in a whole new industry, this doesn't mean that the existing and established sectors will be pushed off the cliff or reduced to nothing. The former complimented the latter, as with the case of the industrial revolution, the raw material that ran the factories came from the product and derivatives of land - cotton powered the textile factories, mined ores powered the metal-producing industries. Also, one thing that made the Information Revolution engulf the whole world at such an accelerated rate was that humans had already mastered how to produce things/devices on a massive scale during the Industrial Age. This was the leverage that the Information Revolution had that made it spread like wildfire.

Most successful nations in the world have been the ones that understood the times they lived in and adjusted their policies to take maximum opportunities of those times. Massive wealth creation is the product of a particular geographical location/nation-state aligning into the current move (where wealth is being created) and individual astuteness pointing people in the right direction. It helped Britain in the early days of the Industrial Revolution. They rode that wave to become the biggest empire the world has seen recently. Nobody in the world has embodied this understanding in even more recent times than the Asians.

Between 2019 - 2020, the Greater China region (China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong) inducted 129 new billionaires into their class of very wealthy citizens without having to say a single word of prayers. These guys understand the times and what is going on in the world and are making their policies, businesses based on this understanding. A company in Taiwan, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, is responsible for producing almost 90% of the modern microchips used in the production of modern cars, smartphones, computers, and game consoles, making Taiwan a very important country in the world’s value chain and creating wealth for the company's stakeholders and Taiwan itself due to the secondary effect of the company successes.

Despite all our prayers and understanding of a “certain mysteries of wealth” in Nigeria, we haven't produced a single billionaire in the last ten years.  It's time to change our strategy and knowledge on wealth creation because it is obvious that our current method of trying to force God to rain money from the heavens or bribing him through monthly payments isn’t working nor will it work in the nearest future. He doesn't have any money to give to anybody more than the resources available to everyone on this planet. We should try and use them. He doesn't do giveaways.

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*Glo is a network provider in Nigeria notorious for its slow network

P.S: There are other professions that generated wealth through the ages that weren’t mentioned in this article.

I was trying to keep things as short as possible.

Notably among these professions was herding animals and the art of buying and selling(Merchant work)

They were also very lucrative.