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FrogSaga comments on Intellectual Hipsters and Meta-Contrarianism - Less Wrong

149 Post author: Yvain 13 September 2010 09:36PM

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Comment author: FrogSaga 05 March 2013 04:53:47PM 1 point [-]

The account of the nouveau riche's ostentatious behavior and appearance compared to the relatively subtle expressions exhibited by the old-money generation has causes and explanations far beyond "counter-signaling". I do not mean to say that counter-signaling doesn't play a part; however it's a small facet and not nearly as important as other factors.

(I realize that this may come off as overly nit-picky or outright derailing. However, as the bit I am critiquing is one of your foundational points to your article; I feel there is value in calling attention to it.)

You did not account for the nouveau riche generation's updated social conditioning factors such as the increase in the volume and effectiveness of mass-marketing. It's important to know what sort of films, books, advertising trends, etc were prevalent and popular during the nouveau riche's formative years. What sort of values became most important in society? So much changed in people psychologically with the rise of consumer culture, such that it is impossible to track human behavior unless we take that rather sudden cultural evolution into account.

A person does not need to be counter-signaling when she or he identifies with a particular demographic. A very simple example: The child with enormous wealth watches the same cartoons as the middle class child and learns a similar set of social standards and values; and both children remain in a similar marketing demographic as they age. When the wealthy child becomes an adolescent, she or he will still attribute value to certain types of behaviors and appearances.