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Monthly Archives: September 2011

An old dog may not be taught new tricks, but the ailing European Union (EU) can be further economically and politically domesticated by enacting necessary reforms to address its sovereign debt crisis. Though many European governments and banks managed to emerge relatively unscathed after the 2008 financial crisis, largely by avoiding American credit markets[i], the EU does not lack its own domestically manufactured financial problems. The concern for the seventeen eurozone countries*(EZC) is managing their sovereign debt, and more importantly their ability to collectively respond to the realities of each member’s respective financial needs. There is serious uncertainty as to whether the eurozone members have the necessary political and economically integrated organizational capabilities to reconcile the euro currency’s current instability.

In 2010, Greece became the first eurozone member to shock the financial world as a result of it’s burdensome sovereign debt mixed with high levels of reckless government spending. The strongest of the eurozone members, Germany, France, and Italy, as well as the IMF responded quickly by creating a financial bail-out packages to avert a Greek default on its debt payments.[ii] As of today, Greece’s financial problems persist due to their failure to reasonably implement the terms agreed upon for the bailout, and the country is now asking for either another financial package or simply a means to ‘orderly default’. Disagreement on how to handle the Greek crisis has become so abundant within the EZC that the head of the German-based European Central Bank (ECB), Jürgen Stark, recently resigned due to “personal reasons.” After Greece, the Irish and Portuguese economies were near collapse and each country subsequently received billions of euros in bailout packages, while many fear Spain will be next in need of propping up. The major areas of concern are predominantly focused on the smaller periphery states, however this changed in July 2011 when Italy began to lose market confidence amid rumors that it would be forced to default in managing its sovereign debt, approximately 120% of its GDP. Great Britain, who has always championed its splendid isolation, warned Europe on September 22nd that it has six weeks to solve this crisis of confidence or risk another global recession.[iii]

These problems have continued to mount for the EZC largely as a result of two institutional weaknesses: First, eurozone leaders are unable to collectively agree as to what is the current next best step to address ailing markets, or where to even begin as EU suffers from ‘dispersed sovereign authority syndrome’. Arguably  somewhat like the early confederation of the American states, this ‘syndrome’ is the result of EU member states not committing to political or economic action that might be either, (a) unpopular with their voters at home, or; (b) diminish their respective domestic political and economic institutions’ influence within the EU framework. The euro currency (created and implemented as early as 1999) was introduced without the necessary institutions such as a centralized, coherent decision-making body, a treasury, and the ability to raise taxes.[iv] So even if the EZC members were in agreement as to a certain course of action, there are no formal mechanisms or procedures on which to follow and therefore would have to “make up the rules as they go along.” The development of a pre-established set of central policies and guidelines to address this and future crises would be an ideal framework for maintaining market confidence in a single currency used by various sovereign nations. EZC leaders continually fail to recognize key fundamental issues confronting the task of stabilizing the euro. For example, European leaders still have yet to admit that Greece’s financial situation is nothing other than insolvent, and; German officials are divided on how much they should use of their own money towards bailing out Greece for a second time.[v] Therefore measures must be implemented in order to salvage a unified Europe, stabilize the euro, and regain market confidence in European financial institutions.

There is No Third Way

Eurozone members must do five things without delay or potentially risk economic collapse. First, the philosophy of Jean Monnet, the ideological godfather of the EU and his improvised, incremental and technocratic approach to EU decision-makingmust be abandoned. Second, EZC members need to lose their pretenses and realistically assess the financial needs and realities of each eurozone member. Third, all relative European banks should be bolstered to deal with sovereign defaults of various EZC members. Fourth, serious macroeconomic integration within the member economies must be undertaken or risk future collapse; and fifth, EZC members should be concerned with the overall vision of Europe itself. In other words, Europe must establish protocols and enact various political reforms to ensure that a crisis like this will not happen again.

Méthode Monnet: Jean Monnet once said that, “Europe will not be built all at once, or as a single whole: it will be built by concrete achievements which first create de facto solidarity.”[vi] Yet this improvised philosophy of European unification has met its breaking point. Either the EZC must create a more centralized structure or risk losing decades of accomplishments altogether. Monnet’s méthode has created two problems that EZC members are currently grappling with: first, it alienates voters of each member country from the affairs of the European Union; and second, it creates a ‘democratic deficit’ within the system. This term, coined by British LaborMP David Marquand, describes what some say is a gap between the powers of the EU and the power of its citizens to influence EU decision-making, thus squashing any attempts at establishing democratically-functioning European institutions.[vii] For problem one, the concern is that there is no accountability in the system or potential for European voters in each country to vote-out members who have invited or exacerbated this crisis. The second problem begs the question as to whether the maximization of sovereignty strategy employed by various EU countries is the proper course towards creating a strong and unified Europe. This maintenance of sovereignty works fine in times of relative calm, but in a crisis enables inaction in the system, and paralyzes essential leadership.

Realistic Assessment: Eurozone leaders, the most influential being Germany and France, need to buckle down and make the difficult assessment that certain countries are no longer solvent. Greece is aware it is unable to realistically pay off all its sovereign debt and therefore has started requesting a way to ‘orderly default’[viii], against the wishes of some eurozone members. Ultimately, eurozone members have to realistically determine which countries are solvent and which are not. By ignoring the realities of the situation, they are setting up the certain failure of their own response to fix this situation and others like it. To rely on temporary financial measures, such as bailouts to institutions that are insolvent, is only ensuring imminent failure at some later point in time.

Keep Banks Strong: The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) is a centralized fund that offers capital to banks that need shoring up. However, EZC members must further strengthen the capabilities of the fund in order to meet the financial needs of each country. Strengthening these institutions requires several measures, but the most important is a recapitalization effort for eurozone banks*, only after a more thorough stress test is conducted which should include the possibility of a Greek default and other related scenarios. This process is especially important in relation to French banks, which have lent substantial sums of money to periphery states such as Greece and Spain.[ix] Ensuring this process will enable a more responsive EFSF, and prevent European banks for experiencing the type of systematic failure that was seen in the U.S. in 2008. Doing so will also sufficiently prop up European banks so as to deal with any scenario that would otherwise deepen the crisis if left unattended.

Macroeconomic Integration: The ECB needs to play a stronger role than it already has in managing the sovereign debt crisis. The bank, based in Frankfurt, is unelectable and independent and many of its leaders fear that purchasing more Spanish and Italian bonds could damage the credibility of the young institution.[x] To further integrate the macroeconomic needs of the EZC members, as well as stave off deep concerns regarding financial instability in the region, what is needed is to have the ECB uniformly back all solvent countries. There is fear that Italy would be forced to default on its sovereign debt, not because the debt itself in insolvent, but rather due to loss of market confidence, primarily as a result of political turmoil at home.[xi] Italy, for example, has more capital on hand than Germany, easily relies on domestic lending to ensure market stability and confidence and has shown a willingness to raise taxes when necessary. Therefore when it comes to solvent countries like Italy and Spain, and given their relatively smooth capabilities to domestically reconcile market concerns,[xii] the ECB should publicly guarantee financial assistance to these countries.

The United States of Europe: the fundamental issue underlying the entire EZC crisis is a lack of confidence and strong political unity among member states. The vicious cycle witnessed thus far is the result of a non-unified approach to problem solving, and the pursuit of collective measures that do little to definitively solve the root causes. Italy’s sovereign debt arguably would have never come into question if there was a more cohesive, well-defined central body that instilled confidence in markets and investors. Nor would French banks have ever suffered as much as they have the last two months if the Greek and Spanish questions were initially solved. There are two visions that roughly emerge from this lack of a unified front between EZC members. The first is the concept of an economic government in which countries retain political sovereignty but are more economically interdependent on one another. This is especially popular with the French who wish to maintain a level of influence on par with Germany.[xiii] The second are so-called joint eurobonds that would pool together eurozone members’ resources to back up the issuing of bonds from a central European entity. This approach is not popular with the budget-efficient, and economic power-house Germany, who believes such an idea would “reduce borrowing costs to profligate”[xiv] an assessment not too wide of the mark given Europe’s financial track record.

What needs to be seen in the coming months is the conceptualization and operationalization of a framework that draws Europe closer together economicallyand politically. Maintaining each eurozone members’ sovereignty sounds comfortable and even feasible in times of economic prosperity, but this crisis has been prolonged to an extent that threatens the very existence of the European Union and the euro altogether. Eurozone members need to strengthen and increase the influence of central European mechanisms such as the EFSF, the ECB and institute new powers and organs such as a reasonable tax-raising power and a treasury to prevent future crises. There should be less emphasis placed on national sovereignty and more on a cohesive and central response; especially when the issue at hand involves a single currency. Even with a more economically interdependent Europe, which arguably, already exists, there needs to be further political integration that enables and thus guarantees that if a problem of this magnitude occurs again, eurozone members can and will act in a single front to tackle the problem. If the eurozone and its currency are to be taken seriously, and ultimately strengthened within the global economy, the old dog known as Europe must reform itself or be lost forever.


* The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. Some of these countries use the euro as their national currency; others retain their traditional money but peg it to the value of the euro to lessen confusion among traders.

* Recapitalization occurs when a company changes its capital structure by exchanging preferred stock for bonds to reduce taxes or to avoid or emerge from a bankruptcy. Often, new debt (e.g., reorganization bonds) is issued to replace existing debt


[i] “Fears over French Banks: Panic in Paris” The Economist. Sept. 2011.

[ii] “Europe’s Economies: Strong Core, Pain on the Periphery” The Economist. Sept. 2011.

[iii] Giles, Christ, and Alan Beattie. “Global Economy Pushed to the Brink.” Financial Times. Sept. 2011.

[iv] “Charlemagne: The End of Monnet” The Economist. Sept. 2011.

[v] “Europe’s Currency Crisis: How to save the Euro” The Economist. Sept. 2011.

[vi] “Charlemagne: The End of Monnet” The Economist. Sept. 2011.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] “Europe’s Currency Crisis: How to save the Euro” The Economist. Sept. 2011.

[ix] “Fears over French Banks: Panic in Paris” The Economist. Aug. 2011.

[x] “Europe’s Currency Crisis: How to save the Euro” The Economist. Sept. 2011.

[xi] “Italy: Trashing the Lifeboat” The Economist. Sept. 2011.

[xii] Ibid.

[xiii] “Charlemagne: The End of Monnet” The Economist. Sept. 2011.

[xiv] Ibid.

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The Euro: Not Short on Friends, Yet Homeless

An old dog may not be taught new tricks, but the European Union [EU] can be further economically and politically domesticated by enacting necessary reforms. Economists have identified the EU as the second largest economy to that of the United States, yet if the global economy needed to collaborate with Europe, whom do they call? Many European governments and banks managed to emerge unscathed after the 2008 financial crisis largely from avoiding the American credit markets[i], however the euro zone is not short of its own domestically manufactured financial concerns. The problem for the seventeen “euro zone” countries is managing their sovereign debt; and more importantly, the group’s ability to collectively respond to the realities of each euro zone member’s respective financial needs. There is serious concern as to whether the euro zone members have the necessary political as well as economically integrated and unified organizational capabilities to reconcile the Euro’s current instability.

Greece was the first euro zone member to shock the euro financial world as a result of their burdensome sovereign debt mixed with reckless levels of government spending. The economically biggest and strongest of the euro zone members, Germany, France, Italy, as well as the IMF responded quickly by creating a financial “bail-out” package to avert a Greek default on its debt payments.[ii] As of today, the “Greece problem” persists due to its failure to implement the terms agreed upon for the bailout, and is now asking for either another bailout or simply a means to “orderly default”. Disagreement on how to handle the “Greek question” has become so apparent within the euro zone that the head of the [German-based] European Central Bank [ECB] has resigned due to “personal reasons” [and yet the ECB is the most responsive actor in this crisis thus far, which is not very reassuring at this point]. After Greece came Ireland’s troubles, Spain and Portugal were also feared to be next in line and in need of some form of propping up. The major areas of concern is mostly centered on the smaller periphery states, however this changed in July 2011 when Italy began to lose market confidence [rumors circulated that Italy would be forced to default] in managing its sovereign debt [120% of its GDP], seeing bond yields rise by almost 1% in two trading days.[iii] Great Britain, who has always championed the cause of splendid isolation, warned Europe that is has six weeks to solve this crisis of confidence or risk another global recession[iv]; a sound piece of advice to a squabbling Europe, and music to our ears on this side of the pond.

The problems have continued to mount for the euro zone members largely as a result of two weaknesses: first, the euro zone leaders are unable to collectively agree as to what is the current next best step, or where to even begin [the EU suffers from “dispersed sovereign authority syndrome”, or “prideful decentralized name-calling”]. The euro currency was created without the necessary institutions such as a treasury, the ability to raise taxes, and a centralized, coherent decision-making body.[v] So even if the euro zone members were in agreement there is no formal mechanism or procedure on which to follow and therefore would have to “make up the rules as they go along,” not exactly the ideal framework to instill market confidence. Secondly, euro zone leaders continue to fail to recognize key fundamental issues confronting their task of stabilizing the Euro currency. Now is the time to “get serious”, even if it costs euro zone leaders an election at home. For example, the various euro leaders still have yet to admit that Greece’s financial situation is nothing other than insolvent. German officials are divided on how much they should use of their own money [or the ‘taxpayers money’] to put towards bailing out Greece for a second time who is singing a song, or rather kicking and screaming the cries of “orderly default”.[vi] Therefore various measures must be implemented in order to salvage a unified Europe, to stabilize the euro, and regain market confidence in the European financial institutions.

There is No Third Way

The euro zone members must do five things without delay. First, the philosophy of Jean Monnet, the “godfather of the EU” and his improvised, technocratic approach to establishing the EU framework must be abandoned. It is not a responsible approach to the more concrete issues Europe faces today. Second, euro zone members need to lose the pretense and realistically assess the financial realities of each euro zone member. Third, all relative European banks should be bolstered in dealing with sovereign defaults of various euro zone members. Fourth, there needs to be serious macroeconomic integration within the member economies or risk future collapse. Lastly, the fifth concern should be the overall vision of Europe itself. In other words, Europe must establish protocol and enact various reforms to ensure that a crisis like this will not happen ever again. I would go so far as to suggest entertaining Joschka Fischer’s call for a United States of Europe, something France would not support in its constant efforts to seek parity with Germany.

Méthode Monnet No More: Jean Monnet once said that, “Europe will not be built all at once, or as a single whole: it will be built by concrete achievements which first create de facto solidarity.”[vii] Yet this improvised philosophy of European unification has met its breaking point: either Europe must seek a more centralized structure or risk losing everything altogether. This méthode has created two problems that the euro members are currently grappling with at the moment: (1) it alienates voters of each member country in the affairs of the central European government, and; (2) it creates a “democratic deficit” within the system, derived from member countries ensuring their “sovereign rights” are not trampled on.[viii] For problem one, the concern is that there is no accountability or potential for European voters in each country to “vote out” the members who have invited this crisis in the first place. The second problem, begs the question as to whether this “maximization of sovereignty” is the proper course to pursue toward creating a strong and unified Europe. This maintenance of sovereignty works fine in times of relative calm, but in a crisis that same quality enables inaction to run rampant through the system, thus paralyzing any essential leadership.

Realistic Assessment: euro zone leaders, the most influential being Germany and France, need to buckle down and make the difficult assessment that Greece is no longer solvent. Greece is aware it is unable to actually pay off all its sovereign debt and therefore the country has started the request of finding a way to “orderly default”[ix], against the wishes of some euro zone members. Ultimately, the euro members have to realistically determine which countries are solvent and which are not. By ignoring the reality of the situation, they are setting up the certain failure of their own response to “fix” the situation. Like any effective problem-solving venture, one must outline the problem to be tackled; to paint a prettier picture is only ensuring imminent failure.

Keep Banks Strong: The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) is a centralized fund that offers capital to banks that need shoring up. Euro zone members must strengthen the capabilities of the fund in order to meet the financial needs of each country’s financial institutions. To further strengthen these institutions there needs to be a recapitalization effort for banks, only after a more thorough stress test is conducted which should include the possibility of a Greek default, among other related scenarios. This process is especially important in relation to French banks, which have lent substantial sums of capital to periphery states such as Greece and Spain.[x] Ensuring this process will enable a more responsive EFSF to European financial institutions, as well as sufficiently prop up European banks to deal with any potentialities that would otherwise deepen the crisis if left unattended.

Macroeconomic Integration: The ECB needs to play a stronger role that it has already been playing within this crisis. The German-based bank is unelectable and independent and many of its leaders fear that purchasing more of Spanish and Italian bonds could damage the credibility of the still young institution.[xi] What should be done to further integrate the macroeconomic functions of the euro zone members, as well as stave off deep concerns of financial instability within the region, is to have the ECB back all solvent countries. There is fear that Italy would be forced to default on its sovereign debt, not because the debt itself in insolvent, but rather due to loss of confidence, primarily as a result from political turmoil at home.[xii] Italy, for example, has more capital on hand than Germany, and easily relies on domestic lending to gain market stability and confidence; and the country has been known to raise taxes when necessary. Therefore when it comes to solvent countries such as Italy and Spain, and given their relatively “smooth” capabilities to domestically reconcile market concerns,[xiii] the ECB should publicly guarantee any financial assistance to these countries; for example, purchasing their government bonds, thus ensuring a boost in market confidence.

The United States of Europe: the fundamental issue concerning the entire euro crisis is, confidence. The vicious cycle witnessed thus far in the euro zone is the result of a non-unified approach to solving this crisis, as well as pursuing collective measures that do little to solve the problem, just prolong it to a later date [Europe has refined the art of claiming grandiose achievements only to pay the more burdensome price at a later date]. Italy’s sovereign debt would have never come into question if there was a more cohesive, well-defined central body that instilled confidence in markets and investors; and French banks would never have suffered as much as they have the last two months if the Greek and Spanish questions were initially solved. There are two visions that roughly emerge from this lack of a unified front between euro zone members: first, the concept of an “economic government” where countries retain political sovereignty but are more economically interdependent of one another. This is especially popular with the French who wish to maintain a level of influence on par with Germany.[xiv] The second is “Joint Eurobonds” that would pool together euro zone members’ resources to back up the issuing of bonds from a central European entity. This is not too popular with the budget-efficient, and economic power-house of Germany who believes such an idea would “reduce borrowing costs to profligate;”[xv] an assessment not too wide of the mark given Europe’s financial track record.

What we need to see in the coming months is the conceptualization and operationalization of a framework that draws Europe closer together economically, if not politically. Maintaining each euro zone members’ sovereignty sounds comfortable and even feasible in times of economic prosperity, but this crisis has been prolonged to an extent that threatens the very existence of the European Union and the euro currency altogether. Euro zone members need to strengthen and increase the influence of central European mechanism such as the EFSF, the ECB as well as institute new powers and organs such as a reasonable tax-raising power and a treasury for starters. There needs to be less emphasis on national sovereignty and more on a cohesive and central response; especially when the issue at hand involves a single currency. Even with a more economically interdependent Europe, [which already arguably exists], there needs to be further political integration that enables and thus guarantees that when a problem of this magnitude occurs, euro zone members can and will act in a single front to tackle the problem, and reduce the potentialities of losing market confidence. This will take the longest of all to realize, and would involve countless new treaties and agreements between the euro zone nations. If the euro zone and its single currency are to be taken seriously, and ultimately strengthened within the global economy, this old dog known as Europe must reform itself or be lost forever.


[i] “Fears over French Banks: Panic in Paris | The Economist.” The Economist – World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. 20 Aug. 2011. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. <http://www.economist.com/node/21526382&gt;.

[ii] “Europe’s Economies: Strong Core, Pain on the Periphery | The Economist.” The Economist – World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. 25 July 2011. Web. 18 Sept. 2011. <http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/05/europes_economies&gt;.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Giles, Christ, and Alan Beattie. “Global Economy Pushed to the Brink.” Www.ft.com. Pearson PLC, 23 Sept. 2011. Web. 23 Sept. 2011. <http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/9bedaa82-e603-11e0-960c-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1Yt78CfRG&gt;.

[v] “Charlemagne: The End of Monnet | The Economist.” The Economist – World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. 3 Sept. 2011. Web. 19 Sept. 2011. <http://www.economist.com/node/21528269&gt;.

[vi] “Europe’s Currency Crisis: How to save the Euro | The Economist.” The Economist – World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. 17 Sept. 2011. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <http://www.economist.com/node/21529049&gt;.

[vii] “Charlemagne: The End of Monnet | The Economist.” The Economist – World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. 3 Sept. 2011. Web. 19 Sept. 2011. <http://www.economist.com/node/21528269&gt;.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] “Europe’s Currency Crisis: How to save the Euro | The Economist.” The Economist – World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. 17 Sept. 2011. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <http://www.economist.com/node/21529049&gt;.

[x] “Fears over French Banks: Panic in Paris | The Economist.” The Economist – World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. 20 Aug. 2011. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. <http://www.economist.com/node/21526382&gt;.

[xi] “Europe’s Currency Crisis: How to save the Euro | The Economist.” The Economist – World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. 17 Sept. 2011. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <http://www.economist.com/node/21529049&gt;.

[xii] “Italy: Trashing the Lifeboat | The Economist.” The Economist – World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. 3 Sept. 2011. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <http://www.economist.com/node/21528316&gt;.

[xiii] Ibid.

[xiv] “Charlemagne: The End of Monnet | The Economist.” The Economist – World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. 3 Sept. 2011. Web. 19 Sept. 2011. <http://www.economist.com/node/21528269&gt;.

[xv] Ibid.

 The Tool of Conceit

            To say that conceit is man’s greatest folly would only be partially correct. The expression only paints half the picture, in that, conceit is proper and just if the individual merits it, yet clearly not all do. If conceit is only a mental or philosophical construction, then how can we say that it is abundantly prevalent in reality (or the physical world)? What is the driving force or application that allows the mental conceptualization of ‘conceit’ to become manifested in physical reality? Slavoj Žižek discusses that violence, or the fundamental act of violation, is partially the result of ‘envy’. The author discusses the concepts of ‘envy’ based on amour-de-soi and amour-propre, or in layman’s terms, “that love of self which is natural” and the “perverted preferring of oneself to others in which a person focuses not on achieving a goal, but on destroying the obstacle to it.” Therefore it is ‘envy’ that is the actual tool in which human conceit is allowed to make its grand and at times destructive appearance to all cultures, nations, and people of the Earth.

However if ‘envy’ is the tool of human conceit, then how is it that there is great disparity between the phenomenal consequences of envious individuals? In his book, Slavoj claims the fundamental reason there is ‘envy’ is derived from the St. Augustinian example of one brother being quite jealous of the other who is suckling his mother’s breast, he furthers the explanation, saying;

“Let’s return to the Augustinian scene of a sibling envying his brother who is suckling at the mother’s breast. The subject does not envy the Other’s possession of the prized object as such, but rather the way the Other is able to enjoy this object, which is why it is not enough for him simply to steal and thus gain possession of the object. His true aim is to destroy the Other’s ability/capacity to enjoy the object.”

Here comes to light some fundamental echoes of Hobbesian philosophy: the ultimate desire of every human is to maximize their pleasure and minimize their pain. The fact that “the Other is able to enjoy the object” has created a view in the first brother’s mind that his pleasure is being negated by his brother’s action, therefore he must rid of his brother to gain access to his coveted desire. This is assuming that the coveted desire of the brother is obtainable in the first place. If the envious brother is conscious of ‘envy’ and aware of his “negated pleasure” and decides to act on it from his own free will, then most likely or not he has passed the very stage of needing to “suckle the mother’s breast”. Away from this example and to put it bluntly, is the coveted desire only that or is it actually obtainable for the individual based upon their ability to acquire various “things”?

Why Pity is a Difficult Emotion

Here in lies a potential dilemma, and the reason as to why two types of envious individuals could exist. Slavoj, on page 76 of the book, offers what “Nietzsche and Freud share is the idea that justice as equality is founded on envy” –

“on the envy of the Other who has what we do not have, and who enjoys it. The demand for justice is thus ultimately the demand that the excessive enjoyment of the Other should be curtailed so that everyone’s access to jouissance is equal.”

Here we have a disturbing philosophy of the envious who seek to rid of an obstacle, to gain “access” to a coveted desire that states, “since it is not possible to impose equal jouissance, what is imposed instead, to be equally shared, is prohibition.” Therefore let us attempt to define a relevant quality of envious individuals who attempt to remove obstacles instead of acquire pleasures: talent. By definition, talent means both, “general intelligence or mental power; ability,” and, most strikingly, “the natural endowments of a person.” If one person has talent, as previously defined; then a person might feel the natural inclinations of ‘envy’ respective to more “successful” others, but ultimately will acquire that which is to their profit or pleasure. Here is the root cause that creates the distinction between malicious envy (amour-propre) and benign envy (amour-de-soi).

An individual who constantly is seeking to rid the Other of their enjoyment is suffering from their vivid vision of coveted desires, and thus construct mental justifications to remove those who enjoy acquired pleasures.  This is done, in order to create a malicious and false sense of equality to their own talentless efforts to acquire pleasure on their own merits. A person, who has benign envy, can look at another successful person and be jealous, but then seek through their own talent and ability to acquire the same success as the Other. It is the person that is endlessly suffering from malicious envy that finds no other reasonable course of action than to destroy and take away the other’s acquired talents because the envious person never had the means to do the same themselves. It is from the brother’s consciousness that he is not “capable and well endowed” to commit to and enjoy the suckling of the mother’s breast, which forces him to rid of the brother rather than to become capable of the acquiring the pleasure. Amour-propre or malicious envy, stems from a philosophy not only of hatred for the Other and their talents, but also the hatred of their talentless self.

Altruism, but more distinctly, altruism based on selfless devotion and compassion to others is the camouflage of this malicious envy and all the destruction, stagnation and evil suffering it piles upon the human race. Having compassion for the talentless gives the means of malicious envy an almost free reign upon the talents of man and all the achievements that it sets out to create for the betterment of the species. Pity would almost be acceptable to give to the talentless man, yet upon looking at the current state of affairs of Earth, how can you pity those who are the root cause of so much destruction and violence against innocent people? We are not a people of deserving cases and should not be treated as such; yet the collective compassion of man unknowingly justifies and rewards the philosophy of those who have chained Prometheus to the mountains, forever tortured for giving fire to man.