You're all idiots. Unless I am
23 Agosto Ago 2011 1314 23 agosto 2011

Rich people are destroying the value of money

They can still buy things, they’re just not worth anything anymore.
To explain. In the past, conspicuous consumption was one of the best indicators available that a man was successful, held in high esteem by his peers, socially useful and therefore a good mate and a person worth being around. And aspirational goods functioned in exactly this way, you aspired to them because the people who had them already were seen to be worth copying and emulating. One day, if you work hard enough and make sacrifices, you too can own a Rolls Royce and a nice house in the country. These are signs of success and peer respect meaning your health will be better, your wife will be prettier, more intelligent than average and your children will have a better start in life.
But the actual reality in the modern world seems to be very different from what we were led to believe and aspire to. The image now of a wealthy person seems increasingly to be that of a sociopath: ruthless, opportunistic, cold, selfish and generally not very agreeable to be around. They may have made their money in a way which damaged society and they and their families do not seem to be any happier than the average man. Wealth and material consumption alone is not indicative of being a well-rounded, healthy person and a path to breeding success.
If anything, the reverse is increasingly true, the personality that aims to become wealthy and use conspicuous consumption as a indicator of their breeding health does so to permit the signals of wealth to cover up massive deficiencies in the personality. But people are becoming increasingly wise to, and disgusted by, these signals of conspicuous consumption, thereby thwarting their purpose. The expensive clothing shows you have no intelligence as it’s made for a fraction of the cost and you’re just paying for the advertising. The expensive, new car likewise, especially when it loses 20% of its value the moment you put the key in the ignition plus you’re destroying the environment. The man who slaves away at his desk for the whole week and then takes a woman out for an expensive meal, or buys her a handbag, because he never sees her and they do not have a warm, grounded relationship is not enjoying life as much as the couple who actually make time to talk to each other. Conspicuous consumption is becoming indicative of people who have no faith in their own personality and character, little or no creativity, but just buy what they’re told to. Or even who have particularly nasty personalities and need to try to cover them with a veneer in order to be liked.
As people are starting to realise that wealth and conspicuous consumption is not actually a very good indicator of the owner being someone we should admire and respect I would suggest that the obsession on wealth to the detriment of all other indicators of good breeding, i.e. generosity, agreeableness, intelligence, is likely to diminish in the coming years. If you have a particularly uninspiring personality, no amount of money will make you interesting, or even interested in life. And material goods are inherently limiting. After the initial wow factor, a yacht is only as exciting as its owner, it needs imagination and people to bring it to life. An artist with a blank piece of paper and a pencil can potentially have far more fun as there are no limits to where creativity can take you.
If Western European society continues to bifurcate, with the rich getting richer and the poor and middle class getting relatively poorer, completely unable ever to make the jump to being rich, I believe this could lead to some very unexpected dynamics, especially when we all have access to the same, high quality information via the internet. And when a well-governed community could ensure that its members live much better than is the case within the current, consumerist model. More integrated, more open and friendly, less pressured. It seems like the incentives to create a society focused on non-material indicators of our good breeding and to drop out of the consumerist model we are living under are currently very high for anyone but the very wealthy and/or very stupid. Economics teaches that people respond very well to incentives, economists just may not have realised that monetary incentives are not the only incentives.

 Iscriviti alla newsletter

Vuoi essere sempre aggiornato? Iscriviti alla newsletter de Linkiesta.it .

Quando invii il modulo, controlla la tua inbox per confermare l'iscrizione

 Seguici su Facebook