Benign Envy

How has the emotion of envy changed over time?

20 mins
What is it about?


Medicine and Health

Envy has long been held to be a harmful emotion involving the desire to deprive others of qualities or possessions that we covet. This paper argues that contemporary consumption is driven far more by benign envy involving a desire to "level up" through consumption emulation rather than harming others. The concept of benign envy is developed along with an analysis of the forces leading to its displacement of malicious envy and its key role as a motivator of consumption.