The Nature of Envy

There’s a non-sensical story in here somewhere about harnessing the friction between the world’s two largest emitters of GhG’s to generate electricity, but I either can’t find it or look past it too easily.

He noted that China has recently leapfrogged over the United States to become the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. “They know the world’s radar is on them,” Mr. Ramesh said. “If transparency becomes the stumbling block, China doesn’t want to be blamed. If China is the only party holding out, they won’t collapse the negotiations.”

It’s Cancún, you see, anything can happen – unless december weekends are decidedly un-spring break-like. Actually, I don’t mean to be so flip. This is the United Nations – the group to which falls the tasks labeled ‘doing something’ when nobody wants to do anything. Nobody wanting anything done actually is another case entirely and has a conference of its own.

But another word, because something is escaping us here with all these willing and smart people gathered in one place, on envy, especially as the wrench ex machina of egalitarianism.

A different way in which envy might be thought to motivate broadly egalitarian thought is by appeal to the idea of envy-free allocations. A distribution of goods is said to be “envy-free” when no one prefers anyone else’s bundle of resources to her own.[] The suggestion here is not that envy is the psychological motivation for the concern with equality, but rather that, where a distribution in fact produces envy, this is grounds to doubt the fairness of the distribution. But ‘envy’ in these contexts is a technical term for any situation in which someone prefers another’s bundles of goods, and does not refer to the emotional syndrome with which this entry is concerned.[]

This is the chief virtue of resistance to economic changes and any greater changes in the way we power, light, ship and travel. The haves (look around you) are afraid that at the end of this dull day, we will all be reduced to just having the same things. When, really, taste, rather any kind of envy-free allocation, would never allow for such a thing – as this failure of imagination gainfully proves. So this brand of resisters really have nothing to worry about. Just not the way they usually expect to be beyond worry. Fear of the bottom, therefore, drives the refusal to alter any actions at the top. Let this be addressed.