Posted on September 3, 2009


Today is Malcolm Gladwell’s birthday. Who is Malcolm Gladwell? Well, he was born in England, holds Canadian citizenship and works in the States as a columnist for the New Yorker. He’s also the author of social commentaries such as Blink, The Tipping Point and most recently Outliers.Malcolm GladwellIf ya haven’t read him, DO! He helps people like me try to make sense of this confusing world. My mantra which I picked up during my teaching career is “ALL BEHAVIOUR IS PREDICTABLE” and Gladwell gives meaning to this saying.

The  premise of  his book THE TIPPING POINT: HOW LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE  is small events can have huge impacts on societies. Probably the most quoted of examples from his book concerns New York City in the mid 1990’s when it  had one of the highest urban crime rates in the world. Well, the tipping point came  when a white guy pulled a gun and shot  five black guys who were hassling him on the subway.

What a furor this incident created.

So how did the City of New York address the situation? Increase policing? Pass more Draconian laws? No! It decided to first clean up the subway most importantly by getting rid of all the graffiti. Believe it or not, New York City now has one of the lowest urban crime rates in the world! There are other examples from history and fashion, and pop culture. But no examples from the third world!


Well, I goggled the tipping point and low and behold I saw the weirdest  Third World application in of all places in a Guinness ad called THE TIPPING POINT! Guinness is big here in Ghana. Ghana is the sixth largest Guinness market in the world. It employs 600 people and Guinness Ghana Brewing Company is the third  largest company quote on the Ghana Stock Exchange by market capitalization. It’s said that more Guinness is drunk here in Ghana than in Ireland! And Guinness is  big here in Kumasi. Its plant is here in Kumasi at least now-although there are strong rumours the plant is closing and moving to Accra. This is no tipping point for life changing outside of Accra….

Guinness Extra Stout

Anyways, Google Tipping Point and not far from the top you’ll see a You Tube commercial entitled  GUINNESS: THE TIPPING POINT. Take a break go watch it; then come back to madinghana. (O.K. Sorry I just don’t have the know-how to down load the commercial onto my blog.)


So what’s your interpretation? Send me your comments….Did ya read the approximately 50 comments? Only one said “WRONG!”

Do good things come to the village poor  who wait?….

Starting a “Friends of”  facebook account called “Friends of Ghana’s Tipping Point” because good things come to active citizens with voice.

Appendum: Today is also Isaac Agyekum’s birthday. He’s four today. He’s the son of Florence our receptionist and in-charge of housekeeping. Isaac’s ‘in that 50% demographic under 20-15 is the age of dependence here in Ghana ….There has to be some tipping point to make  a difference in the quality of life for all the Isaac’s of Ghana. So….

Demographic Information

Ghana Demographic information