What’s the price of status?

There is a law called Parkinsons Law. It states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion”, and that a sufficiently large bureaucracy will generate enough internal work to keep itself ‘busy’ and so justify its continued existence without commensurate output.

This Law can also be extrapolated to include the notion that the more you earn the more you spend, work always expands or contracts to fit the time allocated to it, same thing with money etc.

If you want something done quickly, give it to a very busy person

I wouldn’t know about the veracity / mendacity of the other statements, but it does appear to me from careful observation that, the richer you get, the more you tend to spend. That is, of course, unless you consciously make the effort not to conform.

Take the case of someone who would spend $800 to purchase an iPhone 6s, while another would spend less than $250 on a Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. Examine the specifications of the two devices, and you find very very little difference.

The only difference between the two individuals spending this disparate sums could be their level of intellect, ignorance, a vain sense of pride, yearning to belong (Lemming propensity), or more likely,too much disposable income.


Observe the yawning gap in price (the iPhone costs thrice as much as the Xiaomi)

The situation is akin to spending twice to thrice the price of a Kia Rio to purchase a Toyota Corolla. Clearly, the value differentiation is not up to thrice in both scenarios, if any.

Of course, depending on your station in life, how easily you make your money, and the color of your mustache, you could argue for, or against frivolously spending on well known upscale brands if you have the financial wherewithal.


Here is a short conversation, with one defending spending lavishly on the good things of life (if you can afford it) and the other preaching asceticism.

+++What’s the.price of status?

—Status? People can crave and pay for that, just like you have in every material acquisition.

+++ I am in close contact with someone who owns all the latest Apple toys. This same guy with the Apple toys uses a $5,000 dollar watch. We had a lengthy, healthy discourse and a passionate argument on this “crazy” spending. The conclusion was that, to be rich, you have to act like the rich to be able to mix with the rich.

I am not convinced.

I put the Infinix Note 2 (costing N35k beside the $200k iPhone 6s, and I shake my small head at the wanton wastefulness..

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I use the Infinix Note 2, the guy uses the iPhone 6s, I get far better functionality, apart from status symbol. Clearly, it is not about the direct functions, but the class differentiation.

—I look at some houses years back, and wonder why people waste money on stylish homes. You hear the cost and it’s crazy. I say to myself, isn’t it to just live in that house?
But I eventually overcame that kind.of thinking.

+++The truth is, in most places, the spending has little to do with the utilitarian value. Let’s not deceive ourselves. You spend N60k in one night entertaining friends at a posh Hotel like Protea. Can you truly say that what you were served and the airconditioning is directly worth what you spend there? Is it not simply about “class”? A $100k Land Rover HSE Sports would get you serious attention, wherever you go, but in reality, how much better is that compared to a late model Ford Edge,which costs just a fraction?

—Well, you have a good point.But then, you already said it. The Range Rover would give you a foot in lots of places that a less upscale car never would. That’s utility too, my friend.

+++Forgeeeet! I think most people just have a deep psychological yearning to belong, and be seen as different / exclusive. Our ability to resist that defines us. As for me, I wouldn’t waste money just to show class. NEVER.

My firmly held opinion is that, if you allow Parkinson’s Law to control how you spend, you are afflicted with Parkinson’s disease.

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