Chapter 7: Contentment, politics and the philosophy of superiority
The operation of status markets involves directly or indirectly an individual attitude towards certain forms of social discrimination. This raises the issue of possible political implications that are relevant for the formulation of appropriate public policies. For example, if status markets generate social costs and the contented resist to acknowledge them and do nothing about these problems, then appropriate policy remedies should be imposed in a decisive manner. One way to discuss political repercussions is to apply principles that are drawn from the literature of political economy with respect to the behaviour of the upper and middle classes. A question to address is whether in the presence of a widening gap in income distribution, there are visible political interventions by the privileged to contain the complaints of the less comfortable. More specifically, it is useful to examine whether status markets enhance the perceived differences between the comfortable and the less privileged and whether they interfere in any form with the political debate between advocates of those groups. In terms of a philosophical discussion, a point of departure is the inquiry about philosophical principles that may facilitate our understanding of the rise of status markets and of possible solutions. In particular, it is important to reflect on what kind of solutions will be more appropriate and how they relate to philosophical dialectics.
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