Sunday, January 06, 2013

Why do we spend for status?

To much "me, me, me" in the worldIn a small town, we know your family, and we know what you've done for the community over the past 20 years or so. We can judge your status based on your contributions.

In a big city, you don't know all that. You have to make your judgment of people based on more shallow indicators of status. If you show the outer markers of wealth, then surely you have also made important contributions to the community.

I think that is where spending for status comes from: the lack of context about status based on your own worth, replacing it with status items.

Of course, it may have come from big cities, but spending for status is plenty prevalent in small towns, too. And I think that is because of our much better communication tools. Now rural people tend to judge themselves against not just locals but also urban friends.

What difference does this make? Probably none at all. Just thinking.


  1. I used to own a BMW 318i convertible, brand new. I was a young, dumb lieutenant in the Army, and I wanted that car for one reason: girls.

    It didn't take long to find out that a) the girls that I wanted didn't give a rat's tail what I drove, and b) the girls I didn't want did care what I drove.

    People want status symbols because they care what other people think about them. When they stop caring about external opinions and care about themselves instead, they'll live much richer lives.

    I wish more people shared the opinion that you and I have about status symbols. Ugh.

    1. Jason, you've shared an important perspective on why you were spending for your status: in the Army, outside your community context, focused on outside opinions. All very interesting to think about.