Thursday, July 08, 2004

Qui Genus Jactat Suum, Aliena Laudat

On Compensation

People labor for different reasons. Chief among the remunerative qualities of one's career are its material rewards (salary, benefits, etc) and the status that job provides. Why would someone work for the State department rather than be a mortgage salesman? Status compensates him for his lower salary.

Strange isn't it, then, that the two are treated so differently by society. To openly strive for wealth marks you as ambitious, if a bit crass. To court status, on the other hand, brings accusations of insecurity, self-importance and elitism. Inheritance governs the transfer of wealth that one earns to one's progeny (or whomever one wants). Formal recognition of status (titles, etc) used to be able to be transmitted similarly. Feudalism conflated status with wealth, and law enforcement authority. Those few who have titles in this modern age have no automatic wealth or power.

So then why does the world hunger for the elimination of such? When titles only indicate status that one or one's predecessors had earned, what harm do they do?

Status may seem like a silly reason to do anything, and this discussion pointless for looking at formalized status, but truly what could be more noble, in this era, than to strive for status alone? Instead of focusing on material wealth, to work for the regard of one's peers, neighbors, or co-nationals seems positively saintly.


At 2:08 PM, [REDACTED] said...

I guess your point, or question since I couldn't tell, seems a little confused. I think there may have been a deeper point that you are interested in, but it is hard to answer your post without understanding what that is. It may have been a couple of things jumbled together too.

So, trying to answer you anyway…

Money, at least in the US, is a form of status. Money can buy a lot, but it is true that there are forms of status it can't buy. And there are many other forms of status the world over. The question is: what status symbols do you want? You can't be perfect, so chose what you want to optimize.

I think this essay’s questions are placing to high an emphasis on what other people think about one's ambitions. No matter who you are and what you want, someone can, will, and probably already does find fault with you. The question is, do you find fault with them or do you care about their opinion?

As far as receiving titles for your antecedents’ actions, well, do you really want a hollow title? Isn't that worse than no title at all?

Just some thoughts…


At 9:36 AM, [REDACTED] said...

As a random sidenote (and this may have passed by now but I'm too lazy to look it up) the British Parliament was considering getting rid of the title of sir since either A) The title once denoted family status which it no longer necessarily denotes and B) Since the queen has been handing out titles to rockstars and movie actors and the like thus making it a more or less meaningless title.

To my amusement, however, it would seem that the BP does not think that titles are completely without worth. They want to create some new titles that can be awarded to people that more accurately reflect what they got their title for (with great names like "The Queen's Protector" or some crap like that). Long story short the British think meaningless hollow titles are dumb... so they created several new titles in hopes that those will not be meaningless and dumb.

Rock on Britain... rock on.


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