More money, more problems?
Money is good. It enables you live well and work well. The argument of the poor that money is bad is just an anticipatory defence mechanism. But money is good when it is a blessing that adds no sorrow; when it is the product of hard work and sincere efforts.
Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, has many testimonies about rich men who are in pains. One of them offered the Pastor one of his many houses if he would pray for him to be able to sleep. Of course he didn’t need a house from this man who was unable to sleep in any of his many houses.
Last week, we discussed the issue of Affluenza, the problems caused by spoilt, overpampered kids of rich people.
Unlike Pastor Adeboye, most of us are not likely to see the pains of the rich and powerful. To live up to their status they hide the pains – loneliness, unhappiness, lack of love, and serious diseases. The rich also cry! Their problems, some of which are listed below, are many.
Ordinarily, most of the Nigerian rich are curiously greedy, suffering the syndrome of primitive acquisition; they display oppressive impunity; and those who suffer from the sudden-wealth syndrome are too flashy and boastful. What do you expect if a man from the streets finds himself in the state or national assembly to be called an ‘honourable’ with all the money that goes with it? He becomes everything but honourable!
Rich people who made money from their own sweat and invest heavily for the benefit of the economy and to offer employment tend to be less arrogant with money. They know they are blessed to be blessed.
But the rich desire to be in a special class, and the more the poor, the more special they feel. But in truth, they suffer. Various studies have pin-pointed some of the pains by experts and writers such as Carolyn Gregoire. Some are cited below.
Wealth affects moral judgment
Many rich Nigerians have no scruples sleeping with other people’s wives. A top rich Abuja politician shocked me recently, when cautioned that a woman he had a crush on was married. He retorted, “And so what? Do you know what it takes for us to do this job?” I hid my face. Shocked.
In the United States, studies have shown that in San Francisco — where the law requires that cars stop at crosswalks for pedestrians to pass – drivers of luxury cars were four times less likely than those in less expensive vehicles to stop and allow pedestrians the right of way. They were also more likely to cut off other drivers.
Another study suggested that merely thinking about money could lead to unethical behavior. Many rich men are liars. Research from Harvard and the University of Utah found that study participants were more likely to lie or behave immorally after being exposed to money-related words.
Wealth linked with addiction
While money itself doesn’t cause addiction or substance abuse, wealth has been linked with a higher susceptibility to addiction problems. A number of studies have found that affluent children are more vulnerable to substance abuse issues, potentially because of high pressure to achieve and isolation from parents. Researchers found that children of the rich may be more likely to internalize problems, which has been linked with substance abuse.
But it’s not just adolescents: Even in adulthood, the rich out-drink by more than 27 percent.
Money itself is addictive
It has been observed that the more money people have the more of it they want. Sometimes, as in many parts of the third world, greed sets in and spirals high away. The pursuit of wealth itself becomes a compulsive behavior. As Psychologist Dr. Tian Dayton explained, a compulsive need to acquire money is often considered part of a class of behaviours known as process addictions, or “behavioral addictions,” which are distinct from substance abuse.
While a process addiction is not a chemical addiction, it does involve compulsive behaviour.
Wealthy children may be more troubled
Children growing up in wealthy families may seem to have it all, but having it all may come at a high cost. Wealthier children tend to be more distressed than lower-income kids, and are at high risk for anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, cheating and stealing. Research has found high instances of binge-drinking and marijuana use among the children of high-income, two-parent, white families.
Money can’t buy happiness (or love)
We tend to seek money and power in our pursuit of success (and who doesn’t want to be successful, after all?), but it may be getting in the way of the things that really matter: Happiness and love.
There is no direct correlation between income and happiness. After a certain level of income that can take care of basic needs and relieve strain (some say $50,000 a year, some say $75,000), wealth makes hardly any difference to overall well-being and happiness and, if anything, only harms well-being: Extremely affluent people actually suffer from higher rates of depression. Some data has suggested money itself doesn’t lead to dissatisfaction — instead, it’s the ceaseless striving for wealth and material possessions that may lead to unhappiness. Materialistic values have even been linked with lower relationship satisfaction.