A brief aside on the envy of the rich

It’s very interesting that there’s a lot of work spent on painting the poor as envious- hating the rich simply because they are rich- especially whenever the topic of redistribution is raised. However, almost no thought goes to the feelings so many of the rich have for the poor- enjoying the immiseration of the poor as a source of pride.

Why do I say the rich glory in the immiseration of the poor? Much of the glory and attraction of owning luxury items and receiving luxury services is that they are rare- that one has a luxury from which most of the species is excluded. Taking pleasure in the deprivation of others- in their lacking what you have- is sadism. It is at least as fair to call glorying in having what others are denied enjoying ‘sadism’ as it is to call wanting greater equality ‘envy’- especially if acquiring these symbols of exclusive superiority denies others access to more basic necessities.

Sadism is a far worse sin, surely, than envy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s