You’re probably like most people on the internet, in that you don’t read Eric Crampton’s Google feed*. If so, that’s a damn shame, because you nearly missed out on this comment regarding Xavier Marquez’s epic(ally long) post “Equality and Domination” (worth reading in its own right):
I also worry that eliminating status competition on the income margin pushes it to less productive margins. If we’re hard wired to be status seeking, isn’t it generally a good thing that that’s channeled towards producing economic value for others rather than towards military exploits, feats of warmaking valor, potlach, or other more destructive forms?
Now, “acquiring wealth to seek status” isn’t isomorphic to “producing economic value for others”, but it’s far more closely connected to beneficial social outcomes than, say, sending other people’s kids off to fight on behalf of Hamid Karzai’s merry band of thugs. In almost every non-fictional case, if someone would rather pay you to do <foo> than keep their money, <foo> is a pretty useful thing to do.
* According to Google Reader, the latter has twenty fewer subscribers than this blog, so at least twenty of you need to get with the programme.