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March 13, 2010

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The last point reminds me of Napster's dissolution years ago, and how entities like Morpheus and Kazaa emerged in its place. As soon as the mole was whacked, a new one would emerge, but it wouldn't have the central popularity of Napster, so that each new incarnation had less and less interesting content.

In a lot of ways, rural, agrarian life was better than what exists today. Status was relative to the town, where now its is relative to a large nation, if not the world. It's easier to be the best at something in a town of 300, than a nation of 300 million, and you feel the status more intimately than in a larger setting.

I agree that WoW will not really increase your status in the US. If anything, it will decrease your status.

Status ultimately boils down to sexual status.

Having a social status advantage is ultimately simply having a sexual selection advantage. High status means that more women and more attractive women will select you.

In parts of East Asia video gaming can increase your status. A commenter named "Rex" at the blog Planet Grok said this about video gaming as a sport in South Korea:

http://planetgrok.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/asian-internet-addiction-really-kills/#comment-572

Also, video gaming, especially Starcraft, is huge in Korea not just among lone gamers but as a “sport.” They have televised competitions between star gamers, with two TV channels devoted exclusively to video gaming competitions and Starcraft. The young pro gaming stars make good bank and they’re pretty famous, with tons of young girl fans and groupies. During the competitions on TV you’ll see rows of seats filled with young girl groupies cheering on two Starcraft “athletes” sitting in a stylized cubicle playing Starcraft against each other.

Here are some good links about it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P39gP4QnXxE&fmt=18

http://www.sc2blog.com/2008/01/16/starcraft-2-january-discussion-topic-esports/

http://rossignol.cream.org/?p=284


I'm guessing this might have something to do with South Korea and East Asia being relatively more beta societies than the US.

Can someone please explain the lure of video games like WoW? I just don't get it.

"The last point reminds me of Napster's dissolution years ago, and how entities like Morpheus and Kazaa emerged in its place. As soon as the mole was whacked, a new one would emerge, but it wouldn't have the central popularity of Napster, so that each new incarnation had less and less interesting content."

I'd argue that Kazaa was actually more successful than Napster.

I sometimes wonder if more traditional societies in which status accrues with age aren't on to something. Most people believe that these societies respect the aged because they are repositiories of wisdom, or something, but maybe this cultural dynamic evolved simply to deal with the fact that the vast majority of people wouldn't experience any other elevation in their status throughout their lives, but could at least count on gains in status simply by growing older.

In other words, this custom may be a social stabilizer.

What server are you on in FFXI? XD

[HS: You want to party with the Half Sigma? A party of HBD blog readers could be fun. Between killing monsters, we can discuss Arther Jensen and J Phillippe Rushton. Reminds me of a certain South Park episode.]

Murray,

Status eventually gets away from sexual status. Do you really believe that people work hard to become corporate CEO's because of sexual status. Do you really think that people go to U.S. Army Ranger School for the sexual status.

Looking like the most likely to succeed goes signal some sexual status but if you read things like Bobos in paradise, you realize that for the elite, sexual status is not the ultimate.

"all of the value produced by their labor is being transferred away to the elites. "

Not all of the value, just most of the economic surplus.

"companies naturally develop monopoly power because through random circumstances one brand just rises to the top and becomes the brand that everyone wants,"

Not necessarily, it depends on the nature of the good or service in question. Computer software is very monopoly-prone because of network effects. It's advantageous to use the same software that lots of other people are using so that success can easily snowball.

Network effects, economies of scale, rent seeking, economic surplus, -- these are all things you can and should learn about in a basic economics class or text.

Superdestroyer has a good point. Sexual status gets you the hot babes, but why do men want to be seen as surrounded by hot babes? To impress other men!

"there are a few thousand men in the world who have a BBW fetish"

Even fewer men share my fetish.
And you all know what that is.

Peter

The correlation between status and sexuial access exists, but it is more limited that you might imagine.

Half Sigma here blogged one year ago about a guy who earned minimum wage but had impregnated lots of women.

In the law school I teach, we serve poor people that can´t afford an attorney. Most lawsuits are about some poor working class guy who had children with multiple women. How can a janitor be sued by 6 women about child support if women dispised low status men?

How do Wal-Mart guys, janitors and cashiers have so many children with multiple women? Shouldn´t these women, acoording to the dominant ideology in this blog, dispise them?

Warhammer Online FTW

Social status is only sexual status if sex is your primary (or sole) interest. Asexual status does indeed exist and is important to some people. This is even true in places like WoW. If you care about the opinions of WoW players, you can indeed achieve status by improving your levels. I achieved a sort of status on BBSes back in the day. Of course these sorts of statii are not transferrable outside the group, but transferrability is variable (being good at sports if more highly transferrable than WoW, but it, too, has its limits).

"How do Wal-Mart guys, janitors and cashiers have so many children with multiple women?"

These guys may be janitors in the real world, but in the world of Warcraft, they are 80th level and have legendary rods of power.

Halfsig,

Define status. Be specific.

Status does ultimately boil down to sexual status.

Status hierarchies where organisms expend energy and resources to compete within and ascend yet aren't conferred with reproductive success through sexual selection will dissipate over time.

Any who believes that people work hard to become a major university president, an NIH researcher, a general in military, or the CEO or a fortune 500 corporation due to sexaul status is a fool.

Maybe the janitors or the 30 somethings living alone in a small apartment believes that sexual status because they do not have any other kind of status. Those with professional success get status in other ways.

A doubt if the kid playing pick up basketball for hours everyday is not doing it for sexual status.

Since the kinds of mental processes supported by human nervous systems are the most complex in the universe (at least as far as we know right now, since we haven't discovered intellligent life elsewhere), human beings come up with all kinds of reasons, stories, narratives, myths, religions, justifications, rationalizations, etc. for their behavior, both for their own and for that of others.

But the ultimate reason for status, which is social by definition since it's a relational category indicating position relative to others, is sexual selection.

Social organisms that engage in intraspecific competition (like people) may organize themselves into status heirarchies where higher status doesn't confer a sexual selection advantage and thus reproductive success. But this will likely only be temporary, and disappear over the generations. They will tend to be replaced by status heirarchies where attaining higher status does translate to a sexual selection advantage and thus greater reproductive success.

I hadn't seen your prior post on WoW; I actually was thinking of Will Wilkinson's piece here.

Oh God, Mr. Crampton, is this that "every man atop his own ladder" bilge again? Not all ladders are equal and some actually suck. HS compared them to masturbation; I think that's unfair to masturbation and would use drug addiction as a better comparison.

That said, I also think Superdestroyer has a point. Men around here tend to overemphasize the importance of sex to everything else, even as their own behavior undercuts their words. Show of hands: Who'd rather complain about sex on the Internet than expend the energy required to get some?

"Even fewer men share my fetish.
And you all know what that is."

I don't. Care to say what it is?

"Any who believes that people work hard to become a major university president, an NIH researcher, a general in military, or the CEO or a fortune 500 corporation due to sexaul status is a fool."

True. In fact, in the case of generals, from the bios I remember reading, they typically marry early and once. Part of this is may be so they can focus on their career ambition, but part of this is because being married often helps with career advancement. Wives play an important role in networking, hosting and attending social events with colleagues and (in business) clients. Remember also Alec Baldwin's character's line about the benefits of being married to Matt Damon's character in The Departed.

"Men around here tend to overemphasize the importance of sex to everything else, even as their own behavior undercuts their words."

Note that in my comments above, I'm not trying to overemphasize the importance of sex compared to everything else.

My point is that over time evolutionary pressures will tend to weed out status hierarchies that don't reward high status with a sexual selection advantage and select for those that do.

Over shorter periods, you can find groups of men competing and organizing themselves into all kinds of status hierarchies that are completely unhinged from sexual selection.

"True. In fact, in the case of generals, from the bios I remember reading, they typically marry early and once."

I'm with you, Hackensack, but around here the fantasy is that powerful "alpha" men maintain harems of young, compliant female sex partners, thus siphoning off the available women from the loser betas who would make such great husbands and fathers if only given a chance. This gives HBD/techie guys a platform to discuss sex and women. Otherwise we'd hardly get a mention.

[Even fewer men share my fetish.
And you all know what that is.]

"I don't. Care to say what it is?"

Let's just say that the women's hair removal industry wouldn't like me too much.

Peter

From Plutarch:

"We are told that, as he was crossing the Alps and passing by a barbarian village which had very few inhabitants and was a sorry sight, his companions asked with mirth and laughter, "Can it be that here too there are ambitious strifes for office, struggles for primacy, and mutual jealousies of powerful men?" Whereupon Caesar said to them in all seriousness, "I would rather be first here than second at Rome."

I have long maintained that it is only the illusory status and feeling of winning provided by playing video games plus free online porn that have stopped the many sexless men from revolting. Video games and porn trick men's minds into believing that they are winners. This is why I advocate that the quickest way to overthrow the feminist oppressors is to ban video games and porn.

"being good at sports is more highly transferrable than WoW, but it, too, has its limits"

For sure. Team sports provide more transferable status than do individual sports. Especially the Most Important Sport in the World, which happens to be the ultimate team sport with its extreme degree of position-by-position specialization.

Heck, it wouldn't surprise me if passively watching an NFL game on television gives a man more status (and Alpha points) than competing in a triathalon.

Peter

OT

Da Vinci predicted the Singularity will occur in the year 4006 AD:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article7061704.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093

A date for your diary: Leonardo da Vinci predicted that the Singularity would occur on November 1, 4006, according to a Vatican researcher.

snip

Da Vinci had seen the story of humanity as leading to “the Singularity, the final reckoning” described not only in the Book of Revelations but also by ancient writers such as Plato and Aristotle, she told La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper.

"I have long maintained that it is only the illusory status and feeling of winning provided by playing video games plus free online porn that have stopped the many sexless men from revolting. Video games and porn trick men's minds into believing that they are winners."

There is something to this. Far more than most people may realize. Porn consumption does affect or "trick" a male's limbic system, which operates subconsciously and is where a whole host of important functions operate such as emotion, behavior, memory, sexual arousal, orgasm, etc. As far as the limbic system is concerned, the regular male porn consumer is "reproducing" regularly, and "reproducing" quite well with a variety of attractive, high quality females. Without porn, the limbic system would not be getting these regular signals, and the male would likely be spurred to seek out sex by various biological and chemical processes in his brain. This would manifest itself in behaviors like greater aggression.

Also, diet and lack of exercise is likely at work as well. High starch and high carb diets will lower testosterone. Low fat and protein in a diet will lower testosterone. Lower levels of physical activity will lower testosterone.

It is not random circumstances, WoW is the best MMO product on the market when you take ALL aspects into consideration. The thing is, when judging a game most people only think about a few aspects, not everything. Especially with an MMO there are a vast number of things to consider, such as the end-game boss encounters, something you probably had little experience with. Only the free market can summarize ALL aspects of quality into a final judgement, which is why it is so awesome! It is impossible for non-market mechanisms to aggregate information like that.

"Da Vinci predicted the Singularity will occur in the year 4006 AD:"

No mention of Singularity in the article. It says he predicted the world would end on that date. Was it a joke on your part?

I'd like to have a new thread that discusses status.

It seems to me that the status you feel you have is determined by the peer group that you hang around with.

So let's say I am an investment banker making $500 thousand a year. I have two kids. If I choose to live in Greenwich I will feel like I have very low status since I will be surrounded by hedge fund guys making millions and millions of dollars each year. My wife will interact with their wives and my wife will pester me about the things that they can afford that we can not afford.

But if I am the same exact investment banker making $500 thousand a year and my family lives in Westport, I will be surrounded by doctors and accountants and other people making less than me. So I will feel higher status. My wife will interact with their wives and my wife will be closer to the top of the food chain, socially.

So it just seems obvious to me that the utility you as a person will get will always be higher if you select a community to live in where you are making more money than nearly everyone else, not a community where you are average or below average.

I am not sure why more people don't realize this and choose a community accordingly.

Status is all relative, rather than trying to elevate your alpha status by changing yourself I think it makes more sense to change your peer group.

While personally I can't stand MMORPG's (I don't have the patience) I would argue that there are a couple factors as to why WoW beat out FFXI so badly.

The first is that WoW was much more accessible - it is a MUCH dumber/easier game. By and large the masses don't appreciate the challenge... they appreciate the reward and WoW hands out the reward much more quickly and easily.

The second is that SquareEnix fucked the big one with respect to policing bots on FFXI. My brother played that game for a long time and he was continually frustrated by asian bot camping rare spawns.

Finally I Blizzard has a very strong internet gaming reputation from Starcraft/Diablo/WC3. People just didn't associate Final Fantasy with online gaming like they do with Blizzard games.

"So it just seems obvious to me that the utility you as a person will get will always be higher if you select a community to live in where you are making more money than nearly everyone else, not a community where you are average or below average.

I am not sure why more people don't realize this and choose a community accordingly.

Status is all relative, rather than trying to elevate your alpha status by changing yourself I think it makes more sense to change your peer group."

Yes. The basic point is that status is zero-sum. You can create more value and thus more wealth. But you can't create more status.

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