Is Envy Hard Wired Into Us?

Yes, says a Spanish economist, who thinks that we are genetically predisposed to be envious and that this is a part of our evolutionary inheritance. There are evolutionary reasons for us being envious of one another, and there are economic reasons and results of being envious, says a researcher from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

envyAccording to a statement made about the study, it is envy that guides our decisions, and that it isn’t just personal gain but also material benefit to others in the social network of the individual that guides those decisions.

Antonio Cabrales, an Economics professor offers the technical term “inequality aversion” for the emotion we commonly call envy. Here people are willing to spend resources such as effort and money to reduce that inequality with others in terms of material well being.

Envy is explained by the researchers as something that occurs due to competing for limited resources.

So since there are evolutionary reasons for us being envious this emotion has become part of our genetic makeup. In a situation rather like ‘survival of the fittest’ it is important not only to have a lot but also to have more than others.

And since we have been conditioned by evolutionary reasons to be envious, it becomes doubly important for education and professional training to curb these instincts.



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