Thursday, March 6, 2014
Envy and other deadly sins
Writing in the New York Times recently, Arthur Brooks says that calls for the redistribution of income are motivated by envy. I hope to have a more serious post on this idea in the near future, but in honor of Lent I'll write about a 2012 survey sponsored by CBS News, 60 Minutes, and Vanity Fair that asked "Which ONE of the seven deadly sins do you feel the most susceptible to- Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, or Pride?" Pride was the "winner," with 36%, followed by gluttony at 15%, lust (11%), Envy (10%), Greed (7%), Sloth (6%), and wrath (4%). 11% said don't know or didn't answer--I don't know if that's because they didn't think they were susceptible to any or because they couldn't decide among the contenders. There was little or no association between answers to this question and vote in the 2008 election or views of the Tea Party. However, there was an association with self-rated political views. The pattern differed depending on whether you used the sampling weights, so I'll just mention the differences that showed up both ways: Liberals were more likely to say they were prone to gluttony, people who rated themselves as either very liberal or very conservative were less prone to envy, and people were rated themselves as very conservative were more prone to pride.