My friend, Nick Twinamastiko once noted: “We overestimate pleasures of the wealthy just as we overestimate pains of the poor. Life’s pleasures and pains are evenly distributed more than we realise.”
I concur with him because if you become slightly philosophical, you’ll see that; when one is poor, they enjoy some pleasures which they lose upon becoming wealthy to receive pains of the wealthy and, they suffer some pains which they lose upon becoming wealthy to make way for the pleasures of wealth.
A poor man can freely express his bitter opinions without the fear of clients boycotting his enterprises as a punishment.
A poor man can go to sleep or sigh through life without worry of receiving chilling phone calls that his building has caught fire; that a trailer or cargo plane has crashed with his merchandise; that the Ugandan shillings has become too weak against the dollar; that the worth of his stock has depreciated; that a product superior to his has hit the market and that his competitors are thirsting for his blood.
When the same poor man transforms into a wealthy one, he loses himself for so much compromises him — mainly the desire to maintain wealth and the greed to have more. If a wealthy man refuses to conform or adjust to what is expected of him, his wealth is bound to short live.
A successful entrepreneur cannot or may find it real hard to freely express his political opinions or opinions about the hottest or important social topics such as homosexuality even in highly democratic societies like USA for his enterprises are facilitated by virtually all kinds of people in society. The fear to lose clientele either compels one to support what one doesn’t believe in or painfully hold one’s peace. Deceit or public relations becomes their new normal.
Living a life of mimicry is an underrated burden.
When any of the streets around Kampala catches fire or gets hit by floods, Sudhir Ruparelia has reasons to worry instantly for one of his buildings might be damaged or at least some of his best clients.
Haruna Ssentongo, the alleged owner of the building in Kisenyi which collapsed and claimed lives has been reported to be in hiding. Probably, if the angry mob spotted him, it would’ve lynched him. Such threats, huge losses, pains and inconveniences are a prerogative of the rich.
However, as a poor man enjoys his unique pleasures, he suffers pains too, which they lose upon becoming wealthy. Worries about: what to eat; finding school fees for one’s children; coveting posh cars without much hope of acquiring one; failures to travel to the best destinations; and because romance has increasingly become a privilege of rich men as an Irish Poet, Oscar Wilde noted, burning with passion for specific members of opposite sex without means to gratify it is a pain no man wishes to live with. Such and many others are the pains of the poor which vanish upon one becoming wealthy.
It’s very possible that if we make an empirical analysis of the distribution of pleasures and pains, we can see that they are evenly distributed more than we casually see.
But because most folks in any given society are not wealthy and man’s nature is that he tends to overestimate what isn’t in his possession, it’s not surprising, therefore, that on the casual look, pains seem to be more concentrated on the side of poverty and pleasures on the side of wealth.
Indeed, as Nick Twinamastiko noted; “A bird covets fish’s fins and fish covets a bird’s wings”.