Lukas Püttmann    About    Blog

"Status Cocaine"

Good post by Ben Casnocha on why many very rich people work so hard:

Status. I believe the quest for status drives the behavior of the “post-economic” population to an extreme degree—people for whom there is there no economic imperative to work—and, for that matter, most of the rest of us, too.

And that horse race is a zero-sum attention game.

Tyler Cowen argues that status isn’t all zero-sum, but instead talking about one’s achievements is

“a way of processing the self.”

Casnocha then goes on and says,

But the hit doesn’t last. Like a drug, status is insatiable.

I would add that it also has a high depreciation rate.

Wall Street titans, Hollywood moguls, and tech billionaires do not physically duel. And they’ve often made so much money that they all have nice watches and cars and houses. But they do continue to race each other for prestige and power and other non-monetary status markers.

So instead, should we all relax and become baristas instead?

Casnocha says “No”, we should learn how to balance ambition and happiness and gives some recommendations of how to do that. Most of the recommendations evolve around ways of not getting lost in the rat race. But Ryan Avent (who Casnocha cites) might respond that, really, it’s a package deal and you cannot just move away without stopping what you do.