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Equality of Freedom

An Another Simple World

TATEIWA Shin'ya 2004 Tokyo, Iwanami-Shoten, 390p.
[Japanese] / [Korean]


Equality of Freedom『自由の平等』   TATEIWA Shin'ya立岩 真也
  2004
  Equality of Freedom: An Another Simple World,
  (『自由の平等――簡単で別な姿の世界』
  Tokyo, Iwanami-Shoten, 390p. ISBN:4000233874 3465yen [amazon]





TATEIWA Shin'ya 2004 Equality of Freedom: An Another Simple World, Tokyo, Iwanami-Shoten, 390p. ISBN:4000233874 3465yen

*****UNDER CONSTRUCTION*****

_______ translation by ARIMA Hitoshi ________

Chapter II Unhealthiness about the Criticism of Envy: Refutation of Criticisms 2

**1. It is Said that We are Merely Envious
**2. Refutation of Criticisms 2:On Being Envious
pp.73-94

*1.Although It Might be Unnecessary to Take It Seriously

It is sometimes held that claims for share are originated from (or can only be originated from) "envy" and "ressentiment," and therefore are not justifiable. I have difficulty understanding this criticism, too. Although people may at times be envious of others, that does not seem to be a bad thing in itself. Additionally, one may question whether those who make this criticism stand afar from envious feelings or what standpoint they are speaking from. Nonetheless, the criticism has been hailed obstinately: "After all, they are simply envious!" There are also other, cool voices from those who speak from their actual feelings: "It is only normal that people envy." How shall we respond to these voices? Also, "merit system" is not just about the distribution of goods, but it is also concerned with a person's value. Therefore it is worthwhile discussing these matters.

Some people are good at playing baseball. Others may know that they are not as good, and become envious of those who play well. So they try to play better. But most people simply will not make it to be a very good player after all. As a result, they may deny that they are not good, or deny that other people are better. This is how a poor player may react. However, although this strategy, or way of understanding, may be helpful to some degree in those fields in which no one is really sure about what counts as a good work (for instance "academics"), yet, when it comes to baseball playing, the strategy will be negated by the fact. It is undeniable that poor players are poor. It is also undeniable that some people run faster than others. Or some filmmakers make undeniably boring movies as opposed to the success of others.

Another reaction, then, may be to choose to think that it does not matter whether one plays baseball well or not. This comes closer to what the term "ressentiment" is used to mean. Poor players are now not just envious but they degrade the entire issue. Such is also a commonplace experience: a person thinks it unimportant to play baseball well because she cannot play well. An Aesopian fable, "The Fox and the Grapes," is often referred to in this context. In the fable, a fox wants grapes but fails to take them and so convinces himself that the grapes will not taste good anyway. When it comes to this degree, the reaction may appear somewhat unhealthy.

When this reaction is taken with regards things in general, it will be said, "Who is capable and who is not? --- those things are not important!" In this way it may be thought that the denial of merit system is the strongest case of "the fox and the grapes."

In the first place, however, it needs to be asked if those who envy and those who are envied, or those who talk ill about capable people and those who criticize them as simply unable to admit their incompetence, are really different types of people. It is common for people to envy and care about others: further, is it not the case that when we envy and care, we experience essentially the same kind of emotion as when we are proud of ourselves for being capable? Those who are good at playing baseball may well criticize those who lower the value of baseball playing just because they will be embarrassed if baseball playing loses its value. If this is so, there is little to choose among them. The criticism that their attitude derives (only) from "ressentiment" applies to both groups. But then it is wrong to criticize only one side. Indeed, aren't those who accuse others of being unable to admit their incompetence even unhealthier? They see someone who is supposed to be miserable look happier. They say, "Well, people who live on public funds can afford a bicycle. Don't they have a lot more money than I thought? They look like enjoying their lives!" Aren't they offended by the fact that those whom they want to be miserable are not very miserable, and that those who must be poorer, or those whom they want to be poor, are not very poor, or do not care about being poor? We may want to say that it is rather they who accumulate ressentiment.

In the second place, some people are unnecessarily suspicious. Even if a person truly doesn't care about whether she can perform well or not, she may be nonetheless criticized when she says that she does not care: "Surely you must be saying so, because you cannot perform well and cannot admit that you are not good!" It is alleged that she says it does not matter because she cannot do well. It is claimed that if it is ressentiment that causes a person to think that grapes do not taste good, this person should admit that grapes do taste good at least once. They claim that we are supposed to think that it matters. If we reply that we do not think it matters, they will conclude that we are either dishonest or suppressing our true feelings. People who fight against discrimination are often struck by the same type of difficult criticisms.

In the third place, however, it is also not necessary that we try hard to prove that we really don't think it matters. When you think that you must prove it, you are already accepting at face value the forceful argument that those who are suppressed and deprived must first prove their "innocence" before they make their own claims.

No one denies that a person's wants and desires are shaped by her relationship with other people, and there should be nothing particularly problematic about this fact itself. Often times we desire to become capable of doing something because others can also do it or because others cannot do it. No one would deny that the standard of living we desire to have will also depend on the condition of the lives of the people around us. When no one around has, we will not want to have; but if someone does have, we will want to have the same thing. People desire to live an averagely decent life. We envy what others have and we desire to have the same thing. As has been pointed out by many writers, something like this has been the case with consumption since ancient times. If this may appear foolish and is not so recommendable, this is how we live daily in any case. This is not so blamable, either. Nor can it be said, it seems, that we should completely give up this attitude in our life. And to repeat my first point, those who are being envied are not very different on this score. They may be proud of their present situation and are not envious of other people. Or they may simply not think much. However, those who are simply self-content would still be the same if they are content because they think they are better situated compared to others; and it may be because they are content in this way that they do not have to think much. There are no reasons to conclude that these two groups of people are different.

Furthermore, if someone says that "you must be envious" or "because you are envious" or that "you cannot admit," you can reply that your attitude as such is just normal. There is no need to deny seriously that you resemble the fox. In fact, people may even sometimes suddenly change their attitude once they become capable of something, even though they had previously pronounced it to be unimportant and had seen very little value in it. So we can admit that we really resemble the fox and that these things can happen to us.

But in the fourth place, it is also true that when we deceive ourselves, we normally feel uneasy; and if one is aware of her own deception, it is painful for her, too. There may not be a problem if she can also forget about her deceptiveness, but otherwise she will feel at least uncomfortable. This may still not be a problem if this person does not thereby cause trouble for other people; but if she becomes slanderous or hostile to others, and become harmful to others, that will create real problems.

In the fifth place, however, it is not very beneficial simply to preach to people not to be envious. It would be better to discuss what is behind these issues and what can be done about it. Now, this type of discussion is likely to become complicated and messy, with different people saying, "You must be thinking this way down in your heart," "No I'm not," "No, it ought to be…," etc. Exactly because these exchanges are intertwined with emotions, we would better to be clear about where we stand. I shall contend that although we may be envious at the outset and thereby begin to think about how to defend ourselves or to retort to others, it will be all right if, as we think through, we become able to say that these things are not so important after all and if our claims are reasonable in the end. We can first think and make it clear what standpoint we shall choose, and then should give evaluations and criticisms from there: we shall refuse an argument not because of what motivates the argument but because the argument is not valid from our standpoint.

*2.What has to be Argued Nonetheless: Summary of this Chapter

In short, poor players are accused of being envious. Although there is nothing wrong if they deny it resolutely, I have argued that, firstly, they may also simply admit it or that, secondly, they can pull their enemies down to where they belong to by saying that the enemies are not very different. I have also argued that, putting our feelings aside, we can begin from the discussion of the elementary factors. Let us try some of these discussions here.

Criticisms hailed with such words as "jealousy," "envy" and "ressentiment," are not as simple as they may initially appear. The criticisms involve several distinct factors, but often times, the discussion will be further confused by the fact that even those who make the criticism are unaware of the distinctions. There is a distinction between "being capable" and "possessing." And there is another distinction between "being envious" and "being unable to admit that it matters." These alone can result in four combinations: "being envious of capable people;" "being unable to admit that it matters to be capable;" "being envious of those who possess more;" and "being unable to admit that it matters to possess more."

As for "being capable," in response to the claim that "it does not matter if one is capable or not," it will be criticized: "You must be envious in truth!" As for "possessing," on the other hand, there is no need of discussion if those who possess less can say that they don't want any more because "it does not matter:" but if instead they claim a larger share, they will be criticized as "claiming because they are envious of those who possess more." And it will be argued that a claim is not justifiable if it is caused by such a mental attitude. All these may come down to this: You need to be frank and admit that it is a good thing to be capable (there is nothing you can do about your envious feeling); and although you will not have a share because you are not capable, you should not claim a share if you are envious.

The criticism, as thus formulated, might not sound totally unreasonable. So how shall we think? We shall but have to think step by step. My argument in the next two sections will be roughly like the following.

Sometimes people cannot do things well and some people are not capable in general. Suppose that, perhaps because they are not capable, these people are suspicious of the value of "being capable." Thus they claim, firstly, that capable people do not owe their ability to their own effort alone. Secondly, they try to lower or relativize the value of "being capable" or the value of production itself. I shall argue, however, that neither of these claims is adequate for their purpose (Section 2:1). The real issue lies in the location of "my" being capable / incapable and in its meaning. I shall confirm that it is not always correct to say that it is good for a person to be herself capable, if we reconsider the value of "being capable / incapable" without taking certain arrangements of social relation for granted (2). But then, what is behind the alleged goodness of my being capable? There will be two things. First, there is a rule that whatever a person can produce will belong to her. Secondly, there is a value judgment that a person's value is represented by her accomplishments. These two factors are intertwined in this society (3). My first conclusion is that the connection between capability and a person's value ought to be rejected in principle. The claim that "it is unimportant to be capable" can then be said to be true and therefore justifiable, no matter what the "real motivation" one may have when making the claim (4). Secondly, I shall conclude that in principle we should deny (if in actuality we may not be able to do better than just weakening) the rule that connects a person's "being capable" and "possessing," separate these two things, and establish a different criteria of what each individual should possess (5). This would reduce, if not eradicate, the amount of envious feelings and "the sour grapes" (6).

The rest of the chapter will explore what more can be said on this topic. Jealousy and envy are criticized as they constitute hoping and finding a joy in other people's misfortune. I concede that these are not desirable feelings, but I shall also explain why this particular criticism is off target when it is suggested in connection with social distribution (Section 3:1). Next, I shall refute another argument which says that egalitarianism denies that individual persons are each a unique existence and existences of diverse values (2). Lastly, I shall argue that the claim for liberty (which admits of no others rules than the rule of private property) is not based on the value of liberty itself, but rather presupposes a certain style of life that leads people to envy others, the very psychological reaction that is criticized by the claim; and that, therefore, if liberty has to be respected and if envious feelings and "sour grapes" are considered unnecessary, this claim should be dismissed (3).

**2. Refutation of Criticisms 2:On Being Envious

*1.The Limit of Denying "My Being Capable"

It is true that when something is being performed, it may happen that we are unaware of the person who is performing: something is there, and we just see it without any understanding of what is being performed. Even in those cases where there is someone who is actually performing it, we may not be aware it. In other cases, we may understand only that someone is performing something. In still other cases, it may be understood that it is God that is working behind: even in that case, however, we can specify some person to whom the performance belongs to. This is how we know that a person performs well, say, on a horizontal bar. This is the way we know: this much we cannot deny so let us presuppose.

Next, consider the value with regards "being capable" and the question of where this value belongs. People perform something or produce something; and we are sometimes impressed by that. Again, however, it is not always the case that we are aware of the person who is doing it or that we are impressed by this person. It is possible that we are impressed by the skill or talent, or the product itself. However, it is also possible we are sometimes impressed by the person. But if we are not capable of doing the same thing, we get envious. These things should also happen in any society to some degree.

Yet, there are certain things that some people cannot do well no matter how hard they try. Some people are not capable no matter what. Isn't this unfair to people who are not capable? When, due perhaps to these considerations, it is attempted to refuse to give value to a person's being capable, they question, in the first place, the causal relationship between "a person" and "the person's being capable," while accepting the value of "being capable." It will be pointed out that a capable person does not owe her ability to her effort alone and that she also owes it to the good environment in many ways. Well, this is probably true. It is not difficult to see that when a person achieves something, it is not the individual's power alone that contributes to it; and as for the power of the individual, there are things that made it possible for her to use this power effectively. If we trace back what are behind this person's being capable, surely we will find fewer and fewer contributions made by the person. If this fact is taken notice of and shared by people, the capable individual would become less arrogant, which is probably a good thing in itself. For example, when our favorite baseball player tells us that she owes her success to our support, it makes us happy, too. As long as we accept the connection that the individual is given a high evaluation because she has made an effort and contribution, it is meaningful to relativize the matter by pointing out the fact that the individual's contribution is not everything.

I have argued in Chapter 1: Section 4:3 ("Contribution"), however, that if the issue of right is considered in this manner, it is impossible to determine who should have the right, based on a narrow construal of the causal relation. Given a wider construal, on the other hand, it has to be concluded that whoever makes a larger contribution will be given the right, but this conclusion is not acceptable. Certainly there must be someone who makes relatively larger contributions. But do we have to pursue the logic that there is also something different behind this someone and that she also owes to it? Besides, those who trace the causal chain of "being capable" often, if not always, will be led to the direction of promoting a more effective method and effort. They will then move toward the direction where the effort of the individual who is at the end of the chain or the cooperative effort is promoted and encouraged ---- but is this what we want to do? Also, no matter what the real cause is, the fact still remains that some people are not capable. What can be said about this?

Partly because they have been faced with these difficulties, in the second place, some people attempt to deny the value of "being capable" itself.

First, they may hold a negative view against anything human beings do. It is claimed that many, if not all, of the things humans do are meaningless or useless. Or an anti-materialistic, anti-monetary, or anti-market worldview is advocated, and it is contended that there are more important things than what can be found on the market. While it is not so difficult to understand these claims either, and I do not believe that these claims should simply be dismissed merely as some unrealistic or nonsense talk, and yet, in the present context, I shall choose not to take sides with those who have these pessimistic or transcendental views. For we have a real life, and as such, we cannot always stand aloof from the real world. It is undeniable that there are things that are important to our lives. Also, what we call production has a wider meaning than is believed by those who have an ill feeling toward the word, and although certainly the world is flooded with things that are not indispensable for our lives, at least it is not necessarily bad to have these things.

Secondly, then, they may deny that values, or the order of values, have real existence, and point to the relativity of values. This may also be true. What counts as indispensable to what degree, or what we are impressed by or we praise, depends on which time and society we live in. What counts as capable / incapable is defined by humans (including us) and the society. What counts as useful is what is useful to humans and the society. And some part of it is defined by the given time and society, while there are other parts that are not. Accordingly, values do not have an absolute standing.

First, however, this is not to deny that usefulness exists and continues to exist. There must be some things that will not change very much: for example, something to eat is indispensable for us no matter what. Secondly, given our society, it determines what things are needed by and large. It will not make us happy to hear that we are not useful only because we live in this society or that things were different in the old days, for we are living in this society here and now.

Therefore, let us not deny that consumption is a good thing, and production is a good thing, and therefore it is a good thing to be capable of producing. The question is what we could argue on this basis.

*2.However, It is Not Self-Evident that It is Good for Me to be Capable

As a matter of fact, there is a difference between "being capable" and "being incapable." To assert that there is no such difference, therefore, is to make a false statement. There is no harm in admitting that some people are more capable compared to others, thereby making more contributions. It is a good thing to do something useful or to become able to do so. Further, when people do something useful, they may be admired. We may be impressed by them, too. And we may never completely cease to feel embarrassed when we cannot do something well. While we have been criticized as not being frank to admit that it is good to be capable or that capable people are good people, I am not denying these things. I shall argue, nonetheless, that the manner in which these good things are normally associated with people needs to be partly rejected. And I shall contend that even if what "motivates" this rejection comes from an envious attitude, my claim itself is a reasonable one. This much will be argued in the subsequent sections.

The essence of our subject can also be formulated in terms of such questions as: What are the important things concerning a person?; or What is essential to a person, and what is not? A person normally cannot leave her body, or there are things that a person cannot disconnect from herself if she wants to, and there are also things that she has to disconnect if she does not want to. On the other hand, there are also those things that are connected to a person by the society despite that these are originally separate from the person. With regard to matters like these, there are many important and complicated issues. These issues require a careful discussion. Even if we confine ourselves to the issue of "capable / incapable," there are still many things to be considered. Here I shall set aside most of the work for other occasions but only discuss a couple of points.

The fact that a person is capable / incapable itself cannot leave the person, if we understand the word "fact" in a usual way. Thus if a person is unable to perform, say, on a horizontal bar, it is she who is unable. In addition, while a person may be able to alter capable / incapable through her own effort, this is not always the case. In this sense also, it will not leave the person.

When we look at the matter from the perspective of those who desire what a capable person produces, however, what is desired really is the product, not the fact that they become capable themselves. If it is produced anyway, it does not matter who produces it. True, when there is nobody else to rely on, a particular person's presence will be required. However, in this case also, if there is someone else, we can rely on this someone else. There probably are things that only certain people can do in this world. But again, if there are other people who can also do it, it does not matter who among these people do it. As for those things we normally do ourselves, some of these things we can ask other people to do for us, too. In our life, some of the things are such that, even if there is nothing wrong in doing it ourselves, it is not necessary that we do it by ourselves as long as there are other ways to do it or there are someone else who could do it for us.

On the other hand, there are also things that we could not ask other people to do for us or would lose their significance if they are done by someone else. One example is a sense experience, such as a visual experience. If you ask someone to see something for you, you will not have a direct experience of the vision. Another example is traveling: if you ask someone to travel for you, you will not experience the fun part.

Yet, the line between those things that you need to do by yourself or that will lose their meanings if you ask someone to do for you, on the one hand, and those things that are better done by other people or that you do not need to do yourself, on the other hand, is sometimes subtle and changeable. Consider for instance a physical move from one place to another. If the only purpose is to arrive at the destination, one may easily get as good a result, or even a better result, by using a means of transportation or by asking someone to give a ride. For the purpose of arrival, while going on foot is a way to do, there are other ways as well. Although doing on one's own instead of asking someone can certainly be more convenient (e.g., you may feel more carefree), this is also changeable. And in general, it is easier to ask other people than to do for yourself as long as you ask the right people. Further, the meaning of "doing oneself" may not itself be fixed. For example, for the strange activity of mountain climbing, although the point usually resides in the very act of climbing yourself, yet, depending on the circumstance and on what kind of person you are, ascending the mountain on someone's back may give you a satisfaction.

These are the things to be kept in mind when we consider what it means to be capable / incapable for a person. I shall not deny that it is sometimes better if you can do things for yourself. We shall never overcome the pain of being incapable. And "being incapable" is not all. Those pains we feel over our appearance and body shape, which cannot be altered also, may not be completely dispelled, either. Therefore, I am not claiming that my subsequent argument will resolve all the problems regarding our status in this world ---- and if someone derides me for being na?ve enough to claim such, that person, unfortunately, is not correct. Still, it is better understood that, when "being capable / incapable" is what is concerned, things are not so simple as to allow us to say that it is always better if one can do things for oneself.

*3.What Connects Me and My "Being Capable"

I have argued that it is not self-evident that it is good for a person to be capable. What makes it appear self-evident are, first, people's interests or the rules on property which is backed by their interests; and, secondly, a way of giving meaning and value to "being capable."

If one person is not capable, the amount of what can be done in the world will be decreased by that. It has to be borne with, or otherwise someone, either you or someone else, needs to substitute. That this person is not capable affects our interests in this way. Therefore, in this sense, it is good that the person is capable and it will be inconvenient if the person is not capable. Now, suppose that if you want what other people have produced, you should also give them something or they will not give it to you. For this purpose, you need to have something or need to be capable of doing something. You will be troubled if you are not capable because then you will not receive what you desire. The same thing applies to the others as well. Those who do not have something to give will thus be put out of people's concern. Modern right to private property is what approves this just as it stands and turns it into a rule. It will be approved and made into a rule that you do not have to give to those who will not benefit you. Then, you can earn if you are talented, but you will not earn if you are not talented; and so if you are not capable, that will become a problem for you. In this way, a person will be connected to her capability; and one's being capable and other people's being capable will be given a real meaning.

Further, it will be told that a person's capability / incapability now define this person's value. If it is a good thing that a person's value will no longer be determined by her birth, this does not mean that it is good that it be determined by something else. However, modern societies have adopted this value as the society's doctrine and, either with or without intending to do so, have come to be equipped with several mechanisms that inform people of it and make people to believe in it.

That there is this value is logically independent from there being the rule of private property which says that a capable person should produce and can take the product. In the actual world, however, modern societies could function on the basis of the combination of this rule and this value. The connection between capability and a person's value has a practical utility. If people simply work only in order to earn their livings, they will work only as much as is sufficient for them to live. But when it is told that it represents a person's value, production and the effort for production will go beyond what is sufficient, because it is never worse for a person to have more values. It expands production and consumption.

I have argued, however, that in principle this connection must be rejected.

*4.It Must be Disconnected and There are Things that Can be Done for Me

It is important that a person is capable, but that is not as important as the person's existence itself. If this sounds somewhat moralistic, it is not an extravagant claim. Rather, it is quite a reasonable claim.

"Doing" and "being capable of doing" are indispensable. First, they are indispensable because they are indispensable for our existence, and in this sense they are good things. Because we consume a variety of things in our life, production of what is thus consumed is indispensable as a means for us to live: in this sense production is a good thing and it is a good thing to be capable of producing. Therefore, it is better to have someone capable. Secondly, doing something, being capable of doing something, or becoming capable of doing something, may itself be a fun for a person. This is also a good thing. Production is a means for our lives. And / or it can be enjoyable. There should be nothing other than these and we should not consider production to be something more than these. This is the basic standpoint for us. There is a means for our existence, and not the other way round. "Being capable / incapable" must be disconnected from "possessing / not-possessing," and each person should be allowed to take a decent amount without regard to whether one is capable or not; and only what is indispensable for this purpose needs to be produced.

In modern societies, however, it is alleged that production is something more than this. If life is approved as it is, however, production as they understand is both a surplus and trifle as compared to life itself. Such understanding has to be refused. What they are doing is to teach falsely and is to deny our lives. Although production and capability for production have been given a special status, the truth is that it is nothing more or less than what I have just stated. If a person is represented by her capability, "being capable" will be a requirement for one to be recognized as a person and will be placed in the position to define and control a person. Here we see things getting upside down. What they are doing is unnecessary and excessive. Their way of understanding gives each person a burden. The consequence may be that some people are not allowed to take enough goods to live. Besides, the burden of being incapable and for becoming capable will be increased. Furthermore, their way of understanding invites envy and "sour grapes" with regards capability. This can give an extra burden to people and lead them to harm others.

If this is true, we can refuse this value. There is no need of such mechanisms because it is unnecessary to understand in the way they do. From my perspective, it is rather this connection that is perverse. If there is something to learn from the term "ressentiment," isn't it because the term suggests to us that there is no need to be griped by or to be particular about something and thereby embrace an unhealthy emotion? If this is true, then it is rather this perversion that should be criticized, for such connection between act and existence is just another way of denying our existence.

*5."Being Capable" and "Possessing" will be Approved, and Distribution will be Approved

Next consider "receiving" or "possessing." When a person desires something for her life, although it is necessary that she can take it or produce it, this "can" does not mean that the person can do these things through her own ability. She is allowed to take if she cannot take it by her own ability. I have argued that "producing" and "possessing" must in principle be disconnected and that a different principle should govern distribution. This is what equality of liberty means, though the details of how it works needs to be considered later. This is directly derivable from the relation between existence and means, from the premise of "means for existence."

This is not to say that what cannot possibly be distributed should be distributed anyway. As has been seen in Section 2 of this chapter, there are things that will be tagged to a person even if she wants to cut them off, and those things will not disappear. Here, however, I am only claiming that we should consider separately what are originally separated, i.e., people who produce, and things that are produced which these people are ready to give away. Accordingly, distributionist's claim is simple in terms of its logic and theoretically it is easily realizable. Certainly, it is not so easily realizable in actuality, but it will not be as exceedingly difficult as it initially appears either, as I shall discuss in Chapter 3. I urge that we should remain in this simple place and that anything more than this should be considered unnecessary. Probably this claim is originated partly from the side of "the weak" who think they are presently left in a difficult and awkward situation. It is also a part of their strife for "the proof of existence." However, putting aside such motivation --- which I also argued is not as blameworthy as it may seem ---, the claim is justifiable as long as it is reasonable.

I do not deny the fact that others are capable and admit that it is itself a good thing to be capable. If we may feel jealous or envious about someone else being more capable than we are, there would be nothing we can do about it, for capability belongs to whomever it belongs and will not belong to us anyway. We may be concerned about this, or we may be not. And there may be all sorts of these feelings, and yet, I am claiming that distribution is a different matter and that the result of production has to be distributed without regard to these feelings. Further, here is no "sour grapes" of trying to lower the value of possession. I do not lower the value of possession. It is good to possess, and this is why we are claiming it. Those who are claiming a share are neither excusing themselves for not possessing, nor deciding not to possess with a jaundiced view about the fact that they do not possess. They simply desire to possess more.

Is it because we envy those people who receive more under the relation of the correspondence between "being capable" and "possessing," that we do not accept the correspondence? That may or may not be so. However, suppose a different relation replaces it; then, those who would receive a larger benefit under the relation of private property may now start to complain. They would then do the same as what we are doing. There are many different rules that may govern what each person should take: we are refusing one of these rules, the rule of property, as inappropriate for the purpose of keeping each individual's life decent and free, but approving a different relation. That is all that I am claiming. While "being capable to do" is clearly indispensable, "doing" itself requires a labor, and it also requires an effort to become capable. Further, some people need to make a greater effort to become capable while others need less. Given these, what would be appropriate? This is where we can start to consider the proper locations of "becoming to be capable" and "fixing" and to consider the manner in which capable people will be produced.

*6.It will Become a Good Thing that Other People are Capable

A next question is whether or not distribution would encourage and instigate envy, jealousy and hostility.

First consider "being capable." With distribution, envy and "sour grapes" with regards capability would be decreased, if not become extinct. It is because one's being capable is connected to one's being allowed to possess and because people feel envious of it, that people try to deny that others are capable; but I am now basically refusing this connection. Accordingly, distributionists' claim or the system they advocate would work toward the direction of cooling down the envy and ressentiment regarding "being capable."

Further, the difference in talents, and the difference in the amount of talents, would in fact acquire a different meaning. The result of work and the talent for work are indispensable for us. And even if we feel envious for the fact that the talent belongs to other people instead of us, basically we would welcome that they are capable because their capability will benefit us. This can happen in real life, too. Good players are welcomed in a team because the team will have better chance of winning with these players.

Therefore, carrying out a separation of "being capable" and "receiving" and then a distribution would rather reduce the "emotional entanglements" over talent. A warped psychology would be straightened. Because it is better for us to have someone capable, we would not actually feel jealous. Rather, since it is even better to have someone work for us than we are capable of working for ourselves, we would have the opposite feelings.

Secondly, consider "possessing." Thus far I have been arguing on the supposition that we have a desire to possess more. It is not possible to negate a somewhat tautological statement that people desire what is good for them: basically, it is good to possess things. However, people desire something not just because they desire the thing or because they are envious. There is a connection with the value of a person's existence. Under the connection that capability, or the earned goods, represents (the value of) a person, envy and "sour grapes" feelings will be amplified. If this is true, our desire to possess more would decrease in degree once this connection is removed. At least, the amount of envy and "sour grapes" that are caused by the connection that capable people are valuable and therefore rich people are valuable, or, more plainly put, the connection that people who possess more are valuable, would be reduced. Therefore, if envy and "sour grapes" are the issue, it is better to remove, if possible, the incentive of "production as a proof of a person's value." This means that my argument thus far is consistent. Just to add a word, the criticism that this constitutes a manipulation of people's private and mental domain, is not correct. For I am only claiming that we should subtract those things that have been unnecessarily added.




Social Policy  ◇TATEIWA Shin'ya
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