On Quantifying Quality
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Taken together, minimalism, perversity, and deferred gratification offer a serious challenge to the positivist idea of quantifying the quality of life. But even altruistic sacrifice depends on two elements that border on the measurable—"solidarity" and "hope." If one gives up a good without reward—whether present or future, in this world or any other—one does so because the beneficiary of the sacrifice in some sense remains oneself. Such solidarity with family members, friends, or benefactors seems so common that sociobiologists have sought Darwinian explanation for it. The quality of one's life depends not merely on the quantity of goods and services one uses, but also on what others have and do. Envy is the displeasure that one derives from the prosperity of another; solidarity produces the pleasure that one derives from the prosperity of a person not completely apart from oneself.