Neil Crombie

Status Anxiety

"The past two hundred years in the West have seen staggering increases in wealth and economic opportunity, and yes, there have been no comparable increases in our level of happiness. Despite being so much richer than a few generations ago, we’re often more anxious about our importance and achievements than our grandparents were. I call this modern state of restlessness and dissatisfaction, ‘status anxiety’." We care about our status for a simple reason: because most people tend to be nice to us according to the amount of status we have (it is no coincidence that the first question we tend to be asked by new acquaintances is ‘ What do you do?’). With the help of philosophers, artists ...