We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It seems reasonable to think that the downtrodden might be most interested in obtaining status and money. But this is not the case. Inhabitants of prestigious institutions are even more interested than others in prestige and wealth. For many of them, that drive is how they reached their lofty positions in the first place. Fueling this interest, they’re surrounded by people just like them—their peers and competitors are also intelligent status-seekers. They persistently look for new ways to move upward and avoid moving downward. The French sociologist Émile Durkheim understood this when he wrote, “The more one has, the more one wants, since satisfactions received only stimulate instead of filling needs.” And indeed, a recent piece of research supports this: it is the upper class who are the most preoccupied with gaining wealth and status. In their paper, the researchers conclude, “relative to lower-class individuals, upper-class individuals have a greater desire for wealth and status…it is those who have more to start with (i.e., upper-class individuals) who also strive to acquire more wealth and status.” Plainly, high-status people desire status more than anyone else.
I'll admit it would be nice to be filthy rich, but I think true happiness is working hard to provide for you family and having enough money for all the necessities and some of lives pleasures. I don't look like I have money, I don't dress like I have money and I don't act like it either. I can walk any street in almost any city peacefully because of this. A rich or famous man cannot.
It makes sense that luxury goods, wealth and status are like knowledge - the more you gain the more you're aware of how much you lack. A hungry man desires only a meal, a well-fed man desires a multitude of things. At some point a wise man accepts his limitations and makes peace with the knowledge of his insignificance in the greater scheme of things.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 For he who loves money, money is not enough.
Poverty can make you miserable, certainly. But the threshhold you have to reach after which people don't respond as happier is not that wealthy.
Notice The Democratic politicians who had modest incomes, but once they tasted money, couldn't get enough. The Clintons, Gore, Kerry, Obama.
Assistant Village Idiot
The yang to his yin is that high status is hard to achieve but easy to lose. Those who have it but don't care for it will lose it in a flash, leaving only those who, as Veblen says, "desire status more than anyone else."
Hearing students at a place like Harvard- very elite in terms of endowment, admission selectivity and parental income of its students- talk about "social justice" or "equality," but get no sense of guilt about their elite status- it is apparent that there is something going on.
Because true, basic needs are met easily in the West, social status is divorced from real virtue/character/achievement, which are no longer necessary for survival. This has led to a culture of narcissism and false victimhood that was intolerable throughout most if history.
Remember that every time you see "designer" jeans that look like rags, and "sustainable" eating habits that are anything but.