We constantly compare are own social and economic situation with that of the people close to us. Not with people that are significantly better off, like a rich popstar or a famous athlete. These are examples of several steps to far, instead we keep it close to home. Like our family members, friends, colleagues or neighbours, we want to have the same products, use the same tools and experience the same events. So we can show how good we are, how succesful we are, that we are just doing fine. This desire, which is fed through greed and personal acknowledgement, is called the mimetic desire, or as it is better know as the 'Keeping up with the Jones' effect. The downside of this effect is that we constantly have to keep up with the latest trend or that we 'need' the latest gadget, otherwise we lose out to our neighbour. This side of the coin is known as status anxiety. Alain de Botton discusses in his book -with the similar title- the consequences this effect has on society and people in particular. View part 1 of the accompanying documentary below. View all other parts on YouTube.
copyright: Alain de Botton
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