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I’ve always found it sloppy the way sociologists and evo-psych bloggers discuss income, status and class. Sometimes these three terms are used synonymously, other times income is considered a component of status/social class, and still other times, some or all of these variables are arbitrarily lumped together into a hybrid variable called socio-economic status (SES).

So allow me to offer my definitions:

MONEY: Economical capital; how much income and/or wealth you have.

STATUS: Social capital; how many admirers you have. For nearly seven decades, Gallup’s been asking Americans to name without prompting, what living man in the world they admire most & virtually every single year, the sitting president of the United States wins the poll. The president of the United States (whoever he is) is virtually always the most worshiped man in the world within the world’s sole super power; and as a corollary, the most powerful man on Earth. Status = social capital = power (conventionally defined).

SOCIAL CLASS: Genetic money and/or genetic status = social class. In other words, social class is not about how much money and status you have, but about how much your ancestors had. If you come from a long line of rich and powerful people, you have the genetic pedigree to be accepted by the cultural elites, regardless of how much you have achieved. Conversely, if you have the wrong ancestors, the cultural elite will almost never fully accept you no matter how rich and powerful you become.

This is why old money looks down on new money, even though the latter actually earned and the former just inherited. Because earning it could just be luck (including genetic luck) which will regress to the means in your descendants; while coming from a long line of wealth indicates something more genetically stable (see the book The Son also Rises which Bruce Charlton recently reviewed) though I personally believe IQ correlates better with self-made money than inherited money. But I’ve often wondered how much stronger the correlation between IQ and money would be if humans lived millenniums instead of decades, allowing far more time for good luck and bad luck to cancel each other out.

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