A few weeks back, a recent acquaintance remarked that she felt absolutely no sympathy for those who lost their high paying jobs on the Street or in the City because well they already had some money and she’d rather feel sorry for the small guys who are losing their jobs. Well, one can’t help but empathize with one group more, but I got the feeling that she was smug about the well paid people losing their jobs. Like it was some sort of redemption. She’d rather that a banker lose his job than a construction worker.
Though, what shocks me is that she is a student of economics. How can she not see that one banker losing his or her job means an entire stack of cards going down. The hairdresser, the person who works the tills at the supermarket, the cleaning staff, the real estate agent, everyone. Sure, no one’s asking for compassion – but why the glee? Why the joy in seeing someone out of a job?
What is that fantastic term – Schadenfreude. That’s what this is.