People who have rejected all external measurements of status often accomplish things I admire.
Very engaging subject. I have to admit, one observation on my own behavior immediately was observable to me: by my perception, Mr Doctorow has a very high status in regards to thoughts on reputational economy, because his late 90s work was highly forward thinking in these regards and his technology presaged much of what we, today, see as the “internet”.
So, when he stated “I disagree” near the first of the article, I noticed this had more then normal impact with my own self upon reading, and very well may have influenced how I took in the rest of the article.
Does this mean that Mr Doctorow has status in every avenue of life by my perception? Surely not. I can easily look about and find any number of individuals who have varying degrees of status in my own life, on varying spheres of influence. But, then again, I do not tend to live amongst dysfunctional primates.
One of the more interesting points here, I think the author too readily disengaged from. Which is the consideration of the “space age” social system, or more rightly (much so): ‘what would the more idealized society appear as in terms of status, eg, a society from the very far past and very far future?’
On this, I have more thinking and working out to do, but from no less then three high status individuals in my own spheres, they term a coming status apocalypse as coming in the analogue of a currency collapse. That is, specifically, not meaning literal currency, but a shaking of the way people view others - one could say ‘status wise’ - across the ‘global economy’… not at all unlike how a complete devaluing of the dollar might bring.
But any real-world evidence is not functioning here in terms of only reality, but also those of symbology. Auditing of the relationship between the real versus symbolic aspects tends to be where the discrepancies lie.
This all hinges upon a rather radical form of subjectivism. The notion that things obviously matter more because they are about you. Since people are basically programmed to assume this, there tends to be no real thought involved.
Rewards and punishments are still rather crass and primitive motivators, regardless of what form they may take.
Stability might be over-rated. But, either way, this demonstrates the difficulties of a social ecology of ignorance and bias. People do have quite strong inter-dependencies with each other. So the realization might eventually be that bullshitting one’s way through society to its detriment results in a best-case scenario of being a sane person surrounded by ignorant and hapless masses, or worst-case scenario that you and/or your descendants will also become ignorant and hapless yourselves. Is it really worth people’s while to delude themselves into being convinced that they aren’t fouling their own nests?
On deeper consideration: I think the most meaningful intangible commodity in terms of reputational economics is actually simply confidence, and the corollary word, “trust”.
“Domination”, “submission”, and these sorts of things I believe can be very counter-conducive to these commodities. Though, perhaps, these sorts of things are what, today, pass as commodities, their value is sure to plummet.
Along these lines, of course, there is a much more exact ‘one to one’ corollary with economics. After all, the modern economic system is much built on principles of trust and confidence.
In terms of people, for instance, many things here may be observed: if someone is well liked on an opinion, that is a sort of investment which is made. How well it is paid out over time depends on how accurate they were.
Sometimes we make questionable, even risky investments in terms of trust. Other times, we are able to capitalize on knowledge which is well placed but kept a closely guarded secret.
For others, then may wonder about the extensive spending on what they see as an extremely risky venture, while those doing the spending of their trust may have strong grounding for it. Or, not.
Many examples can be derived if one considers this as if a seed of thought, which can be followed into many other matters, as it grows:
For instance, “expert opinion”. An “expert” on some subjects might have exceeding status within an organization, but not be an administrator. Their expertise might be sold on credit by seemingly good ideas, which is much more shaky of an investment. Or, it might be sold on the “buyers” past experience with fine material exactly of this manner. Connoisseurs of sorts, but ones well experienced in productive pay out.
A major question here, to begin with, however… might be: does it have some measurable “good” feeling associated with it. That is, is it rewarding to be considered deeply in trust? That many place high confidence in you? I think so, if, one is very confident that trust is well placed. If not, perhaps, then, it is as the feeling of someone with a credit card whose limit is much higher then they believe they will ever pay. But, if it is “cash money”, well then. That is surely a most very well paid good feeling.
Apologies for the obscurity in making these arguments, they could be made much more clearly, but then the fun of it all would be removed for me.
Ummm… aren’t you a philosopher?
It’s a very serious piece of academic writing and goes into great ethnographic / historical detail…He looks into exchange systems among pacific islanders / the impact of enclosure in England and Wales and and…
Sorry but on this one I have to pass. There should be opportunity for dilettantism but academic debate on the virtues (or lack there of) of capitalism is not one of them.
That is one term I use for a description.
Yeah, that doesn’t sound right to me either. the great transformation is indeed a major change in what is central in human society, and he really argues that the decentering of human life to the market was dangerous. I also think when he’s writing and how he is thinking is very interesting historically speaking. If you read lots of the scholarship in various fields at the time, there are lots of really dark works, from about the late 30s into the early 50s, at least for lots of the people who are writing big, sweeping works like Polyani (some of the Frankfurt school stuff from that era is similarly dark, so it Hannah Arendt’s work). It’s interesting to see how the events he was experiencing as a European really plays into his work and his thinking about the relationship of human beings to the economy. He’s totally right that anything that decenters people is bad for people.
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