The Economics of Social Status

Status as currency. The whole thing is worth a read. I liked this aside on public speaking, which also connects with live music and standup comedy and other types of performance, and why they’re scary:

“Bidding for status” is another activity with economic characteristics. The nature of a bid is that it sets a particular ‘price’ that can be accepted or rejected. Robin Hanson suspects that speaking in public is a way of bidding for status. The very act of standing in front of a group and speaking authoritatively represents a claim to relatively high status. If you speak on behalf of the group – i.e., making statements that summarize the group’s position or commit the group to a course of action — then you’re claiming even higher status. These bids can either be accepted by the group (if they show approval or rapt attention, and let you continue to speak) or rejected (if they show disapproval, interrupt you, ignore you, or boo you off stage).

The dance floor never lies.

The Economics of Social Status

Right on Cue – Ta-Nehisi Coates – The Atlantic

Age, like all power constructs, (race, gender, class) encourages it’s own ignorance. To not know is a luxury of power. You don’t have to know Their Eyes Were Watching God. But I damn sure better know The Scarlet Letter. (It’s bad enough I’m slipping on Twain.) Age turns ignorance into a luxury, and worse, if you don’t recognize it as a luxury you start to think everyone is as clueless as you. And of course you’re clueless that any of this is even going on. It’s just a bad look all around.


Right on Cue – Ta-Nehisi Coates – The Atlantic

Why Elite Shoppers Eschew Logos

It’s signaling, folks. Really interesting stuff. Geoffrey Miller talks about this in Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior, which I recommend highly. In my review I summarized Miller on the three basic ways we signal through our purchases: conspicuous waste (in this context, perhaps fine fabrics, oversized garments, layering, duplicated accessories), conspicuous precision (luxury watches, perfect cut & fit, subtle hand-stitched details), or conspicuous reputation (recognizable logos, patterns, etc.). Few books have affected my everyday thinking so much. (via putthison)

Why Elite Shoppers Eschew Logos