Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
“… For example, studies of income and happiness have revealed that, once a basic level of wealth is achieved, relative wealth is more important for overall happiness. Similarly, a vast body of research in social psychology finds that people engage in constant comparison of themselves with others. Knowing that one’s income is much higher (or lower) than that of a neighbour has a substantial impact on happiness. As Gore Vidal put it: ‘Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.’
This motivation for “relative advantage” can motivate a desire for unequal distributions. Indeed, to achieve the warm glow associated with relative advantage, people are even willing to pay a cost themselves to reduce others’ incomes.”
Very interesting to see it put this way. I’ve been pondering this for a while because I can see it in myself. Although I’m a fervent believer in social justice and equality, my (natural) drive/impulse is to a system where I’m more equal than others. I think that if people are 100% honest, they’d admit to feeling the same.