Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Burning other people's money

I am reading a new book by Michael Prell called Underdogma: How America's Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power. The title pretty much describes the book which defines Underdogma as "the reflexive belief that those who have less power (underdogs) are good, and that those who have more power (overdogs) are bad."

The book is a fascinating look at why so many people admire the underdog and hate those who achieve or are successful. From a psychological standpoint, the chapter on "Personal Underdogma" really helped to understand the motives behind so many people's desire to tax and take money from the so-called "rich" even if it means that their own wealth will suffer. The chapter describes a very important study conducted by a pair of economists at the Universities of Oxford and Warwick in 2001:
"Are people willing to pay to burn other people's money? The short answer to this question is: yes. Our subjects gave up large amounts of their cash to hurt others in the laboratory. The extent of burning surprised us...Even at a price of 0.25 (meaning that to burn another person's dollar cost me 25 cents), many people wished to destroy other individuals' cash."

--"Are People willing to Pay to Reduce Others' Incomes?" Daniel John Zizzo & Andrew Oswald, July 2, 2001

Author Prell notes that the researchers called this Phenomenon "the dark side of human nature." He calls it Personal Underdogma.

Whatever name is used, it is a problem that needs a solution because as long as jealous citizens and politicians are willing to sabotage success even at expense to themselves, and thus society, losers will prosper and winners will lose. This can't be good for any society.

Update: Cross-posted at the PJ Tatler.

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70 Comments:

Blogger MB said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:04 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

If people earned their money, let them keep it.

I always wonder when I see Helen's comments on this matter why she never addresses the following issues.

1) Did everyone with money earn that money?

2) Why don't you want to ever examine the distribution of people who earned their money vs. the people who didn't or, as the case may be, why are you so interested in letting the people in Item 1 keep their money? Is it truly important for society?

Uhh ... just wondering.

7:04 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

Is Heather Mills a "winner" solely based on her money (which is what Helen implies)?

Is a physician a "loser" because he opts to work on a research project to cure a disease for very little money instead of setting up a production-line practice?

I dunno.

7:06 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:09 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

When you decide on who the "winners" are in society, do you have to count the husband's earnings and money in with the meager income of the wife when you decide if the wife is a winner ... or a loser?

Or are you only allowed to count the husband and wife as a unit in the winner decision (until a possible divorce)?

7:10 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

MB,

In the case of Heather Mills, the laws that give someone like that large amounts of money should change, not trying to have others take it from her once she got it. If you read "The Millionaire Next Door," you will find that most people make their money, many fewer inherit it. And so what if they do, someone at some point earned it and wanted their family or friends to have it. That is also their right. I don't think people are winners or losers based on money. I think, however, they are losers if they are so desperate to take others cash, that they are willing to do anything to get it away from them, even at expense to themselves and society.

7:15 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

...losers will prosper and winners will lose.

Ultimately, everyone loses. The "winners" drive the economy, produce more, prompt others to produce more, etc. The "losers" try to hurt the winners and may succeed at this, but ultimately drag down everyone.

7:36 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

Fascinating post, Dr. Helen. Will have to get that book soon.

But shouldn't you include a line saying "cross-posted at The Tattler"?

7:56 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

"If you read "The Millionaire Next Door," you will find that most people make their money, many fewer inherit it."

----

Utter baloney. That's the finding when you include broad groups of people into the group of "having earned it" when they didn't.

I'm sure the book only considers inheritances from parents to children, but it is obviously very common for the wife to inherit from the husband since men die earlier and they usually marry down in age (as well as other things).

I don't care much either way, because I would like to see a 0% income tax. THAT would really help producers - the people who have an INCOME. But as for the rest, I don't understand Helen's clear division into winners and losers and her hysterical defense of anyone with money. And since I don't like hypocrites, I would be curious as to what HELEN'S net earnings were last year (not her husband's, HELEN'S). She doesn't seem to grasp that point.

8:04 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

In other words, winner or loser?

8:05 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

And the question about Helen's OWN earnings is just a rhetorical question. I know "none of your business" is coming as a response, but it's intended to promote thought - I could give a flying fig in reality (although I can probably guess).

8:10 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

pst314,

Thanks, I'll do that.

MB,

I do agree that many but not all women inherit money from their husbands and other men. If they obtain it through being awarded it by courts just for being female, I don't think that is right. You seem to think I am one of those women. There is probably not much I could do to convince you otherwise so I won't try.

8:41 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

I'll quit trying now, because it will just get boring and my point will never come across for some reason.

Last attempt in caveman language:

Helen see winners and losers.

Winners lots money. Losers little money.

Wife who not produce a winner because husband produce? Or loser?

Me think Helen too damn serious about winner and loser thing.

8:54 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger BobH said...

A possibly pertinent book: Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior by Christopher Boehm

8:55 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Dude, it was boring a long while ago, and nobody gets your point because it is in error. This is obvious to everyone but you.

Trey

9:20 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger Mark said...

Honestly, I never understood this attitude (well, at least not once I grew up). My parents were poor when I was a kid (Dad was disabled, they lived on workers comp and Social Security). I learned early on that if someone else had a lot of money, and I wanted some of that money, the best thing I could do would be to produce something that person would be willing to buy from me, he'd get what he wanted and I'd get the money I wanted. Done that my entire adult life, and it's worked OK so far.

10:01 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger Tether said...

TMink,

I don't think you realize this: As a fairly low-wage earner (I've read about your job in nauseating detail on this board), you are a loser under Helen's definition. And you can't even vicariously make yourself a winner by having a producing husband.

LOL

10:27 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger Harold said...

IMHO, married couple are one unit when it comes to measuring winners and losers. Having said that...

It sounds like all the book and research was summed up years ago in a quote by the great Robert Heinlein.

"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck.""

Is saying "great" when referring to Robert Heinlein redundent?

11:29 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

WOO-HOO, I'm a big winner because I make lots of money and am in line for a huge inheritance.

Everybody line up so that I can rub shit in your faces.

11:34 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

Anybody want to compare monthly income?

11:35 AM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Tether, you do not understand Helen's view of wealth. Her point, which is clear to most of us, is that people should be left alone with their finances and that class poloarization concerning money is a bad thing. She is looking to be more succesful in terms of money as well. Good for her!

I have never seen her idolize the rich or have any anti-male attitude toward money and marriage issues.

Some of you guys are just wound over tight on this issue. I am sure you come by it honestly, but it pushes and pressures your behaviors in ways that you seem to be oblivious about.

I value Helen's friendship, and our relationship is not hurt one bit by my own middle class status. I am really pretty happy being middle class, and it would not matter if she had other ideas. But I bet thoughts of my financial failures never cross her mind.

Helen, do you judge us on our perceived earnings?


Trey

12:06 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

"married couple are one unit when it comes to measuring winners and losers."

--

Umm ... OK. Can you cite the relevant section in the Winner Determination Regulations?

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that it is only dry humor. If not it is a reflection of how materialistic, superficial and downright silly American society has become.

12:51 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

"Our subjects gave up large amounts of their cash to hurt others in the laboratory."

Did that study involve actual people spending actual money? If not, shouldn't that read "Our subjects pretended to give up large amounts of their imaginary cash to pretend to hurt imaginary people in the laboratory"?

Things change when you've got to consider missing a mortgage payment in the process.

The problem with those studies is the same as with thought experiments - it's all abstract, crudely simplified and rarely deals with reality. This is also why people are greatly surprised when their "take it from someone else" schemes provide the opposite results from what they expect. They operate in the thought experiment mode.


JG -- "Anybody want to compare monthly income?"

Sure, ten million a month. You?

Like that.

12:53 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:58 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

Can anyone here defend this crass separation into winners and losers and explain to me what the purpose of that is?

... Buehler?

1:00 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

I think happily married couples do view themselves as part of that team and couple. What is good for my wife is good for me in a good marriage.

Now if she turns on me I am screwed because the law is the law and it will protect her and not me. But after 11 years, so far so great.

In my first marriage, it was every soul for themself.

Trey

1:00 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

MB, what would you propose be done with people that inherit their money? Nothing sinister, just a rich parent who leaves large amounts of money to their loving children. I want the scenario to be as happy and above board as possible. Would that circumstance offend or anger you?

I am completely with you regarding Heather Mills and that sort of thing. We are both offended by that. But what about a dutiful son or daughter who inherited bigtime? What should happen to that wealth?

Trey

1:04 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

JG - I knew that. It was just an example of thought experiment's failure to recognize fraud. That's what the "Like that" meant.

No foul, I hope.

1:07 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger craig said...

Anyone with a passing familiarity with Russian culture would not be surprised that envy is a powerful motivator.

3:01 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger Alex said...

This is all nonsense. Wake me up when it's Petrograd 1917 in America. Yup, never happened and never will.

3:19 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger Alex said...

craig - Russians are notoriously the most envious and shallow people on earth! It's no wonder they destroyed their country over the last 100 years rather then learn to live with wealthy people!

3:19 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Craig, I think any communist culture would suffice.

Trey

3:28 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

in the game that "hoppy" mills played she was a clear winner.

a true professional.

even my feminist wife sneers at her for going too far to prove her win.

4:33 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

I think Heather was frustrated that she didn't get enough - she poured a jug of water on McCartney's attorney at the end of the trial. Nobody did anything about it, naturally.

But classy lady.

5:48 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger Xiaoding said...

These are the strange conversations that result, when an economic system is worshipped as a moral system as well.

Rich people, winners! Priests, ministers, losers!

CEO's, winners! Nursing home workers, losers!

The best economic system, makes the most money for all. But, it is useless, for figuring out, what kind of society, we want to live in, and leave our children. That takes a moral and religious viewpoint, not an economic one.

People are not jealous of the rich, they are angry at the unfairness of life.

The Russions are an excellent example of this. They still have the anger, of having to deal, with the societal system instituted by Catherine the Great. And no one can blame them.

6:15 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

"People are not jealous of the rich, they are angry at the unfairness of life."

----

I absolutely agree with that statement.

I couldn't clarify that idea enough to express it.

6:37 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

I also am wondering about people who keep talking about "jealousy" (actually envy), like Helen. I don't feel envy at all for people richer than me, I've got more than enough money for myself.

I wouldn't automatically accuse someone of being envious - so I'm wondering what the deal is with the sharp division into winners and losers, the accusations of envy and other nervous afflictions of some of the posters here.

6:45 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

People are not jealous of the rich, they are angry at the unfairness of life.

As a woman I used to work with said, "If life was fair, birds wouldn't eat worms."

Life is rarely, if ever, "fair." Virtually every situation favors someone who happens to have whatever traits or position in life it takes deal with a situation successfully. Is it fair that big guys have an advantage in football, tall guys in basketball, smart guys in the classroom?

Being angry at the unfairness of life is born of jealousy of someone who has more than you, is more talented than you, more successful than you, who in some way has it better than you in your eyes.

8:55 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

DADvocate,

No, I think it's born of the fact that other people can be blockheads in worshiping a slacker who inherited money as a God, while treating a person who is contributing to society as a piece of shit. It's in the fundamental lack of recognition of people who are doing what the can with what they were born with.

Like some of the people on this board do. It's the fundamental ignorance of people of that type - that is what is disturbing to me. It's attributing Hero characteristics to someone who is not a hero at all, and calling someone who is contributing to society and slowly working his way up a loser.

9:01 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

And aside from the "rule" stated above that a wife is allowed to acquire her husband's "winningness" (and aside from the laughability of the whole thing), I am still able to discern slackers among one of the marital partners.

Should I blind myself so that I don't see it and play along?

I asked a while ago what the point of the stark "winners and losers" dichotomy was (especially in the sick way of worshiping ANYONE with money no matter how he/she got it) ... and no one has answered.

I'd appreciate an answer. From any of the proponents here.

9:04 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

While I share your admiration for productive people JG I respect property rights too much to get too upset about rich people who inherited their wealth. They did not work for it, but someone did! And it was theirs to pass on to their heirs.

I think what Helen was referring to with the terms winners and losers was people who did the work to make money and people who did not. It is not just about money, it is also about producers. I see and understand her comment in light of her other comments regarding Rand and The Fountainhead. The danger is in disenfranchising or taking away the incentives for the producers and giving it to jealous moochers.

I honestly have not seen Helen venerating the wealthy. She has seemed interested in finding an effective way to invest her money and has posted about that. But I have not noticed her fawning on anyone or any group per se.

For me, money has very little to do with who I consider a winner or loser. I think in other terms. Our culture certainly worships the rich and lovely and sometimes even talented. When I think of winners I think of good Christian people who lived humble, kind lives.

Trey
Trey

9:34 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

"People are not jealous of the rich, they are angry at the unfairness of life."

You're mistaken. There are plenty of people who feel envy and resentment at those who are more successful than them. The prevalence of this attitude does vary between societies, because of differences in traditions, history, etc.

One non-Russian example of this: A classics professor who spends a good chunk of each year in Greece where he owns a home and small vinyard.

One year he was experimenting with unorthodox methods of pruning and caring for his vines. Come harvest time, his vines did very well. But his neighbors resented his success, and before he could harvest the grapes they paid a visit at night and cut down all his vines.

The professor used this incident to contrast constructive envy (you are doing well, so I will emulate your methods) from destructive envy (you are doing better so I will drag you down to my level). He noted that the theme of destructive jealousy occurs repeated through ancient Greek literature.

9:38 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

"I asked a while ago what the point of the stark 'winners and losers' dichotomy was"

Are you referring to Dr. Helen's observation that "losers will prosper and winners will lose"?

Is that what bothered you?

9:41 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

It's in the fundamental lack of recognition of people who are doing what the can with what they were born with.

I agree there often is a problem with this. Personally, I value and appreciate any person who supports him/her self and family, if applicable. I believe I can learn something of value from almost anyone. If nothing else, things to avoid doing.

There are those who look down on those of a lower social status than themselves, but I don't think they're quite as common as you seem to think. I do see quite a bit of "destructive envy" however. It runs from the simple vandalism pst314 relates to sophisticated arguments for certain laws and social policies aimed at hurting those evil rich people, especially those that don't "deserve" it for some reason or another.

10:18 PM, January 25, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

Part of what is being described as envy here is a dislike of people shoving their better position in your face.

An example that doesn't include envy:

I watched a housewife play games with another housewife at a get-together. The richer housewife was getting across in subtle ways that her husband earned more than the other housewife, that she was driving a better car etc.

Now if I earn more than her husband and drive a better car than the first housewife, it is probably not envy I am feeling for her. Right?

But I did have some very strong negative emotions about her when I was watching her performance, and for all people who act like that. I try to avoid people like that, but I understand it's pretty much standard fare in the nicer suburbs.

3:55 AM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

"One year he was experimenting with unorthodox methods of pruning and caring for his vines. Come harvest time, his vines did very well. But his neighbors resented his success, and before he could harvest the grapes they paid a visit at night and cut down all his vines."

----

Or maybe he was a dick in some way. Lots of people in Greece have vineyards, lots of people sell lots of wine and olive oil, and your story sounds a little too pat because all the neighbors knew everything about his "unorthodox methods" (and they didn't copy him with all this knowledge ... huh) and his precise sales figures and financial ratios.

But here's a similar story:

When I was in my 20s, I lived in an apartment building. The guy in the apartment next to me had a piano. He would play for hours at a time - loud. The piano was right up against my wall. And it irritated the hell out of me.

I finally saw him in the hall and told him that the piano was loud and several hours a day was a lot of time on the piano. His response was that I was just jealous of his piano-playing ability (with a hardly concealed smirk). I was expecting lots of answers from him, but not that one. He was fairly good, though.

Now if I had gone over and turned his piano into firewood (and believe me, I had fantasies of doing that), he would have had the perfect story about how a really, really envious guy destroyed his piano simply because the piano player was far more skilled at his craft.

Sounds good anyway.

4:27 AM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

"Or maybe he was a dick in some way"

Or maybe you don't want to believe that such a thing can happen.

"your story sounds a little too pat"

Only to someone who does not want to believe that there is such a thing as jealousy, or that it can lead people to do stupid and evil things.

Remember, for example, the joke about the three poor peasants, so poor that unlike their neighbors they owned no animals. They find a magic lamp and the geni grants them three wishes. the French peasant says "Give me a cow. I'm French so I eat cheese, and I can sell the extra milk for a profit." The German peasant says "Give me a big strong bull. I can rent it out to stud to my richer neighbors. I will get cash and my neighbors will get healthy calves." The Russian peasant says "Kill my neighbors cows." The humor of that joke rests on its use of ethnic stereotypes, and the jolt of surprise when the Russian peasant does something stupid and evil. The sad truth is that this was a real phenomenon in the Soviet Union.

Anyway, I now confidently understand what you were thinking when you wrote the following:

"I also am wondering about people who keep talking about 'jealousy' (actually envy), like Helen. I don't feel envy at all for people richer than me, I've got more than enough money for myself. I wouldn't automatically accuse someone of being envious - so I'm wondering what the deal is with the sharp division into winners and losers, the accusations of envy and other nervous afflictions of some of the posters here."

Dr. Helen's original point about "winners and losers" had to do with jealous people voting for government policies to seize the assets of those who are more successful and redistribute them to those poorer, jealous people.

You completely missed her point, and went off on a series of complaints about those darn winners and the naughty people who "obsess" too much about winning.

Clearly, the problem is you.

Although you claim to be financially successful, and to harbor no resentment against those with money, you betray a strange annoyance when Helen discusses the problem of envy as a factor in the politics of redistribution.

Rereading the entire thread, I see that you started out with an astoundingly childish and stupid comment about "oh boy I've got money so I'm going to rub shit in the faces of those who don't." Clearly, you have psychological problems. Get help. Please.

8:26 AM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

pst314,

Spare me the admonitions to "get help" and your concern for my mental health.

I had the benefit of seeing people when I was growing up who spent their entire waking hours tying to impress other people with their stuff.

I consciously went the other way, I have friends who talk about ideas and philosophy and business and science, and I absolutely avoid the superficial twits who think a new car or a boat or something is the be-all and end-all of life. I avoid the materialistic twits on the hamster wheel, and especially the women who are showing off their husband's wealth, not even their own. THAT'S an affliction in life that is not healthy. And I see some of that here, at least no one is answering my questions.

--

>>I see that you started out with an astoundingly childish and stupid comment about "oh boy I've got money so I'm going to rub shit in the faces of those who don't."<<

Oh ... you're one of those who don't understand humor or sarcasm. I can't help you there.

8:54 AM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

You introduce a new fable, pst314, but frankly your Greek story sounds like something out of Aesop's Fables. I could probably find it there if I bothered to look. Maybe tell the one about the woman with hair of flax, that may get more traction.

8:56 AM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

JG, the chip on your shoulder is the size of a tree. Grow up. (And learn to read.)

10:05 AM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:05 AM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

Getting back to the original topic, now that the obsessed kooks have been dealt with, how aboutjealousy as a factor in the socialist program?

I do wonder how much is jealousy and how much is just simple opportunistic greed. The evidence shows that both factors are at play, but it's not always clear to me what their relative strengths are.

10:08 AM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

On jealousy: I've had plenty of interactions with redistributionists who were clearly filled with an envy and an angry resentment of those who had more money. Often they rationalized this as "anyone who makes lots of money must be a crook who cheats customers and exploits employees." They tended to be people who knew little about the real world of business, but curiously I did now and then meet people who had worked many years in all sorts of companies who retained this delusion. Some were engineers who I suspected were technically skilled but socially retarded (inept and unperceptive) but others I could not classify and simply shrugged my shoulders and admitted I did not know why they felt as they did. A third class were people who grew up in a liberal-leftist environment and never encountered other ideas until their minds were ossified. The actual red-diaper babies were particularly amusing--except when they were infuriating. :-D

10:16 AM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

Not quite jealousy: Gateway Pundit posted some videos yesterday taken at a rally in support of Rahm Emmanuel. Some of the interviewees were "interesting", such as the woman who said that she was convinced that Obama's Stimulus was working because she herself had taken advantage of every possible government handout. This confusion between personal gain and the health of the economy revealed at the least economic ignorance and perhaps greed. Remember "Obama's going to pay for may gas and rent"?

10:20 AM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

On the matter of distinguishing between jealousy and greed and damn foolishness, consider high-speed rail:

I'm sure that many cynical politicians support it because they thrive on doling out pork to their constituents--both the companies and workers that will build and operate such trains, and the people who look forward to a subsidized ride.

But we all know of people who went into politics because they resent wealth and want to eliminate it. I've personally known my share, and anyone who follows the news can see such people every day.

I know lots of liberal voters who enthusiastically support a high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison, but who in their arguments betray an utter ignorance of economics in general, and the economics of rail travel in particular. Not all of these people betray envy when talking about that boondoggle. They just cannot understand why it's not a good idea to spend billions of dollars on something that sounds sounds "nice" to them. Fast trains. Cleaner and more comfy than Greyhound. Easier travel for people who don't own cars. They cannot understand the economic and technical facts that make this a foolish boondoggle. Either they are unable to think in economic terms (only in sentimental terms of "helping" people) or their utopian dreams make them unwilling to face inconvenient facts. But regardless: Many of these people I know do not betray a feeling of envy, so I remain unsure about them. As Yul Brynner once said, "It is a puzzlement."

10:33 AM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger Michael K said...

Very interesting thread. I see lots of comments in threads that discuss health care and doctors that show complete ignorance of the economics of medicine. Having been a physician for 44 years, I know the key phrases that tell doctors to watch out for a patient. Usually, it is excessive praise for the doctor being consulted, combined with excessive criticism of the last doctor she saw. It's not exactly about winners and losers but it's a dead giveaway on resentment.

The ignorance of economics on the left can be illustrated with many of Obama's remarks, even in the SOTU speech.

12:23 PM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

"The ignorance of economics on the left can be illustrated with many of Obama's remarks, even in the SOTU speech."

See today's post at Instapundit:

[begin quote]
HUBRIS: “The president’s friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett sometimes pointed out that not only had he never managed an operation, he’d never really had a nine-to-five job in his life. Obama didn’t know what he didn’t know, yet his self-confidence was so stratospheric that once, in the context of thinking about Emanuel’s replacement, he remarked in all seriousness, ‘You know, I’d make a good chief of staff.’”

UPDATE: Reader John Potter sees the Dunning-Kruger effect in action.
[end quote]

Go to Instapundit to follow the links. As Glenn says, Read the Whole Thing. (And sorry, I don't have time to construct HTML here to do the links. And if any of my earlier posts were disorganized or ungrammatical I plead the excuse of haste. I know I haven't said nearly as much as I'd like about the pathology of envy.)

1:20 PM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

MB, where I part ways with you is your insistance at knowing Dr. Helen's personal income - anyone's, actually. I wouldn't tell you mine, I wouldn't expect you to tell me yours.

Perhaps though, if you broadcast yours across this web blog, she may return the favor. I won't though.

2:25 PM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

jealousy maybe one of the great motivators of our culture.

and no my dear, i don`t hate you because you are pretty, i hate you because you are an idiot...i know plenty of people who are as pretty as you who aren`t an idiot, and wouldn`t dress in evening wear just to go to the grocery store.

of course the whole idea of socialism is an aphrodisiac to some who believe that there is an inherent "good" in the poor and something sinister to the affluent.

calvinism is all about grinding out a living and falling in heap exhausted after dinner, only to do it again at dawn...and for what? so that st.peter will welcome you into heaven....

2:49 PM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Doc, while I do not dispute the Protestant work ethic my view of grace is a bit different than what you wrote. I can't dispute the grind or how tiring it is, but I think we do it in gratitude and obedience in the knowledge that St. Pete will allow us in because the price of admission was paid for us.

On a good day I think that way. On a great one I act that way.

Trey

5:39 PM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

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7:55 PM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:27 PM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

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8:42 PM, January 26, 2011  
Blogger ken in sc said...

When I lived in Myrtle Beach, SC, someone deliberately ran someone else off a bridge, and caused two deaths, because the dead were in a classic hot rod, 32 Ford convertible. It was a hate crime in my opinion. They hated anyone who had something they didn't have. These are the fruits of envy.

2:09 PM, January 27, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

ken in sc:

Envy definitely exists, but people drive around every day in extremely expensive cars and don't have anything happen to them.

In fact, EVERY case of someone getting their car keyed or otherwise vandalized that I have ever heard of was because the victim was an idiot in some way to the perpetrator. EVERY case I have ever personally heard of.

2:32 PM, January 28, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

And inexpensive cars get keyed just as often - or even more often - than expensive cars. Really.

2:33 PM, January 28, 2011  
Blogger Tether said...

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4:35 PM, January 31, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

JG back in 1904: "Racism definitely exists, but black people walk around every day without getting lynched. In fact, EVERY case of some black getting lynched that I ever heard of was because the victim was an idiot in some way. EVERY case."

8:01 PM, January 31, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

A few years ago, Chicago lawyer Jay Grodner keyed the car of Marine Sgt Mike McNulty. When confronted, he let loose with a string of anti-military abuse.

But according to resentment-fueled people like JG, this could never happen.

JG, you really need help.

8:04 PM, January 31, 2011  
Blogger pst314 said...

"You introduce a new fable, pst314, but frankly your Greek story sounds like something out of Aesop's Fables. I could probably find it there if I bothered to look."

JG, if I dig up the name of the professor, will you email him and ask about the incident?

8:39 PM, January 31, 2011  

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