The Psychology of Human Misjudgment

Eight: Envy/Jealousy Tendency


A member of a species designed through evolutionary process to want often-scarce food is going to be driven strongly toward getting food when it first sees food. And this is going to occur often and tend to create some conflict when the food is seen in the possession of another member of the same species. This is probably the evolutionary origin of the envy/jealousy Tendency that lies so deep in human nature.


And envy/jealousy is also extreme in modern life. For instance, university communities often go bananas when some university employee in money management, or some professor in surgery, gets annual compensation in multiples of the standard professorial salary. And in modern investment banks, law firms, etc., the envy/jealousy effects are usually more extreme than they are in university faculties. Many big law firms, fearing disorder from envy/jealousy, have long treated all senior partners alike in compensation, no matter how different their contributions to firm welfare. As I have shared the observation of life with Warren Buffett over decades, I have heard him wisely say on several occasions: “It is not greed that drives the world, but envy.”

投資家は、この傾向に対して二重に注意する必要があると思います。まずは自分自身について。他人や市場の成績に追いつこうと、あせって自分の意思決定を誤ってしまうリスクが考えられます。もうひとつは投資先の経営者について。同業他社、社会動向、公私にわたるつきあいといったものが、経営者の心をゆさぶります。その経営戦略や設備投資は、本当に会社のためになっているのですか? ウォーレンが言うように、どちらに向かおうとしても企業を動かしているのは、他をうらやむ力なのかもしれませんね。

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