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--Since I keep railing against materialism this thread might be a good jumping off point for a discussion of how people will validate their existence if they can't do it via "stuff". What will be the important values that they should adopt instead? This is important because we are running out of the raw materials to make the "stuff" out of so we need to find other goals in life.

I think people validate their existance through status, and "stuff" is one of the ways to acquire status.

So, the question is how to have a competition for status that isn't resource-heavy. And, of course, since status is a psychosocial phenomenon there's no reason why status should cost the earth.

In fact, as less and less stuff becomes available people will be forced off "stuff" as a status market, and access to "stuff" (concentrated natural resources) will be the mark of the superwealthy.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 10:08:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
In fact, as less and less stuff becomes available people will be forced off "stuff" as a status market, and access to "stuff" (concentrated natural resources) will be the mark of the superwealthy.

The problem is that the efficacy of "stuff" as a status differentiator is correlated with its scarcity.  If everyone can have it, it is no good for denoting relative status.  If it is exclusive to a few - whether the super wealthy, ruthless, talented, or lucky - then it has value as a status differentiator.

The fact that elephant tusks are getting scarcer just makes them more valuable.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 10:36:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stuff, especially exotic pseudo-magical stuff, is a useful differentiator. But it's still some way down the totem pole.

There's more about that in Pt 2, as and when.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 11:27:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well there is always this:



Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 11:59:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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