Envy is best defined as a resentful emotion that “occurs when a person lacks another’s (perceived) superior quality, achievement or possession and wishes that the other lacked it.”
Bertrand Russell said envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness. Not only is the envious person rendered unhappy by his envy, but they also wish to inflict misfortune on others. Although envy is generally seen as something negative, Russell also believed that envy was a driving force behind the movement towards democracy and must be endured to achieve a more just social system. However, psychologists have recently suggested that there may be two types of envy: malicious envy and benign envy – benign envy being proposed as a type of positive motivational force.
One theory that helps to explain envy and its effects on human behavior is the Socioevolutionary theory. Based upon (Charles) Darwin’s (1859) theory of evolution through natural selection, socioevolutionary theory predicts that humans…