Envy is good

An interesting finding:

But for young workers, seeing others around them do well can actually make them happy by providing them with aspirations, according to a new report.

Economists believe that workers under the age of 45 get high levels of satisfaction from seeing their peers earn more than them, because they think they have similar chances of success.

But the effect has a time limit: for those over the age of 45, comparisons with high-fliers can lead to misery, because there is less time to “catch up” .

If you think there\’s still time for you to make it then you\’re quite happy with the evidence that you can make it. If you think you\’ve missed your chance then you\’ll be unhappy about it.

The joy of the finding is of course that we can now reject those who whine about income disparities as simply people who are convinced they\’ve missed their chance.


5 thoughts on “Envy is good”

  1. I can see where the research came up with the findings for those under 45. I am not so sure about ‘unhappiness’ over 45. For most people, over 45 is a good time: getting up to peak earnings, children growing up and making their way, pension fund growing (!) the drive for rampant consumerism suppressed by the realisation that you just don’t need version x of y product, mortgage reducing etc, etc.
    Working practices are more relaxed than before, more holiday (or as it is pompously known ‘leave’) time is available, cheaper travel, better health. Inheritances are beginning to fall in so capital is moving down the generations. We have truly never had it so good.

  2. I suppose we could add to the sum of human happiness by sacking/jailing all those who “made it” by crookery – it’ll fill most of us with joy at their just deserts while opening posts for others.

    P.S. @Luke: I agree wholeheartedly about “leave”. I had thought I might be alone.

    P.P.S. Enjoy it all before the onset of the diseases of ageing.

  3. No problem with high fliers – but it’s the incredible smugness of people like Nick Luke that gets my goat! “Most people”???

  4. It’s worse than the pomposity of “leave”, chaps. It’s the lie of “annual leave”, as in, this one day that I’m taking off is annual leave, because that’s the only time I’m taking off this year.

    Hat tip to police officers everywhere.

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