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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Culture And Envy

We have a genuine problem. Envy, fear of envy and deflecting envy may be the most dangerous and difficult aspects of human nature for us to wrestle with as we seek to progress toward greater freedom.

As formerly poor and unfree countries open up and allow the potential for personal achievement, the disparity between the opportunities for those individuals and what they see in places like the United States becomes a source of great dissatisfaction.

This is a global problem. It is a major factor behind the pendulum swinging back and forth from the right to the left. It is a serious quality of human nature that we have to face if we are to live in a freer world.

People are least happy not when they have very little, but when they have less than their neighbor. Many people, given the choice, would prefer that everyone be poorer than to be wealthier in general but poorer than their neighbor.

Today, with modern communications and media, those neighbors can be thousands of miles away.


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