This set of desires provides an orientation that can lead to the accumulation of wealth and ‘happiness’ - or it can lead to frustrations and unhappiness caused by not satisfying these desires. This Attribute is accepted as laudable mostly by men and the under 35s. It decreases with age and is not class discriminatory - it doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor. This is about values not achievements.
This orientation to life drives behaviours that are highly visible. Being seen to be successful/wealthy is as important as wealth itself. ‘Bling’ is a manifestation of this orientation. Material Wealth espousers want to let others know how successful they are and therefore display their wealth. This ‘wealth’ can be relatively modest but more than their peers - or the huge displays of the super-rich. A fake Rolex might do the job in a relatively poor area. The need is the same but the behaviour different among the super rich. The latest fad is to have the super yacht (pretty average) but with two helicopter decks and two submarines as part of the facilities.
These people are not content with just generating wealth and buying things. They want the thrill of getting money – of winning on the speculative gambles they take. The ‘game’ is important. The thrill that brings the money is as important as the money.
To get the ‘win’ that gets the money to buy the things, they are not above bending the rules of the game. Cheating isn’t really cheating if you don’t get caught might be a motto shared among these people. Remember this isn’t correlated with higher or lower socio-economic groups. The low level con-man or scam merchant has the same orientation to life as the person gaining their riches through ‘insider trading’. The method doesn’t matter to them – the display of their wealth does.
One of their prime goals is to gain the esteem of others, either the people around them or the people they aspire to hold them in esteem. With this esteem they want to establish control over them. This is not about being liked; this is about controlling the lives and thoughts of others. Material Wealth espousers want to feel superior to and impress others with their success.
This values orientation has driven the behaviours of cultural actors like the kings, maharajahs, and emperors in multiple courts in the past - from Europe to India and China to the Incas and Aztecs of South America. It drives the displays of people like Berlusconi in Italy or the more affluent families in India - and the conspicuous consumption and displays of wealth among hip hop and rapper musicians in the USA.
The dark side of this drive for wealth, display and control is the tendency to be attracted to events that have an adrenalin edge but can turn anti-social on a mass scale – like riots and mass civil disobedience. The undercurrent of uncertainty of not knowing when ‘enough is enough’ can lead to a latent resentment, a dissatisfaction with all their accomplishments that can lead to outbreaks of illogical behaviour.
The Material Wealth Attribute has been a significant factor in the rise and rise of conspicuous consumption in the UK, even by people who cannot afford to maintain their new lifestyle. They are very visible in newly emerging economies worldwide. They are the social peacocks that want to be admired and will spend, spend, spend to become the most visible in their cultures. Hollywood or Bollywood, it doesn’t matter.
Using Material Wealth
1) Over-indexed: Male, under 35.
2) Under-indexed: Female, over 45.
Material Wealth espousers also espouse other Attributes. The top five most highly correlated Attributes of Material Wealth espousers are, in order of the strength of relationship:
1) Visible Success
In total those who espouse Material Wealth also over-index significantly on 36 other Attributes.
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