[ExI] Status, Envy, and Economics

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Wed Feb 13 23:08:47 UTC 2008

On Feb 13, 2008 3:35 PM, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> Rafal writes
> > Lee, don't try to understand envious people - they are different from
> > you and me :)
> The envious? Yes, they're different.  Since the proper memes are now
> freely available, they have no excuse for their envy.  They just have
> to work at it.  I am not without envy.  But I keep it under very, very
> tight control, and it does rarely affect my decisions and never does it
> affect my stances.
### Me too. A few years back I looked into myself to see envy
masquerading as a feeling for fairness. I became disgusted with this
part of myself, and managed to expunge envy from my political views
(not so much from daily life but I am working on it).

> But those who simply see inequality as a very big and dangerous
> evil, are quite like me in the sense that they would prefer societies
> to avoid dangerous developments---even though we probably
> disagree about exactly how dangerous inequality is, and how
> successfully it may be possible to combat its effects.

### Yes, I agree - inequality of wealth, insofar as it may translate
into inequality of power, can be a real problem but I tend to see it
this way: In predatory societies, accumulating money is a side-effect
of having power, rather than a true source of power of its own. In
honest, capitalist societies money is accumulated without the use of
asymmetrical power, and does not easily lend itself to the subversion
of the society. That's why Mr Buffett's money is not much of a threat
to me, while Mr Hussein's money was a testament of his power of life
and death over every Iraqi.


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