Greed or Envy?
Greed and Envy are two of the ‘seven deadly sins’ and are relevant to material wealth. Economists adopt the fundamental principle that people seek wealth maximisation (a form of greed), but is this really the case?
Because we live in communities and families, it can be argued that the more significant driver of behaviour is envy, because we invariably compare and benchmark ourselves to those around us.
For the economists among you, the analysis is in the link below, but more broadly interesting is the implications for family wealth.
If envy is a greater driver of behaviour than greed, then the principles of equity and fairness become all the more important when transitioning wealth within a family. Within families, envy can be a far more destructive attribute. Any gift (in the broadest sense, so including a role that is ‘given’ to a family member) should be considered in the context of how other family members may react and respond.
Consider This: Are members of your family more driven by greed or envy? While neither are good attributes, what can you do to mitigate their risks?
Read more about living with significant wealth
Also published on LI as https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/greed-envy-david-werdiger/