So, in the first part of the article, we ended up saying that people are grateful to those who bring order into their lives. That is why we respect doctors so much: they are present alongside us at some key moments of our life cycle. They are with us at a time when we are closest to some existential basics.
And lawyers create a legal order and allow people not to kill each other, and it is characteristic that prestige of a judge is much higher than the one of a lawyer. A lawyer does not create order, but a judge is always surrounded by a sacred halo. A scientist reveals the divine order as it exists in nature. Compare this to an office worker who just shifts notes. An office worker does not interact with these cosmic fundamentals as all the others do. Therefore, the hierarchy of prestige is directly derived from our cosmology, and only then differences in economic well-being and incomes follow from it.
These two theories continue to compete with each other, becoming more and more sophisticated. There is, for example, a theory of prestige of the subspecialties that claims that it flows directly from ritual purity: the purer the profession is in the sense that its representatives interact only with other professionals, the purer, more ideal and exemplary it seems to the professionals themselves. Therefore, the most prestigious subspecialty within the physicians themselves is not a therapist, in no way a therapist, but, for example, a radiologist who does not see patients at all, but only sees X-rays. But he or she really interacts with other doctors, and no dirt of the outside world affect him or her in any way. Think about pure science.
And quite another line of research is not related to why someone has a lot of prestige, and someone does not have it, but how it functions in general: how people understand who has a lot of prestige, and who does not have it; how we understand, who is at the top of this hierarchy, and who is below. It is simple with money: where property rights are more or less defined, you can accurately find out how much money someone has. But what about prestige? It does not exist by itself. It exists as a representation of other people of how much people respect this or another person.
Prestige in a certain form is also present during studying at the university. However, everything is much more complicated here. It is not enough for you to be an excellent student for being a prestigious person in the eyes of your groupmates. However, even if your parents have a lot of money and you are ready to waste it, this is not a guarantee that it will be perceived as a sign of prestige.
In this case, we are talking about balancing on the verge of several qualities, abilities and, of course, the possession of certain material goods. Much depends on so-called charisma, which is difficult to define and even more so to describe. However, if you find a successful combination of these qualities and besides always help your friends with homework, then it is quite possible that you will fall into the required category. Remember that this status is very unsustainable. Idols of yesterday fall from the pedestals as soon as more attractive ones appear. It is cruel and unfair, but that is reality.
It is very simple to show that aristocrats were not oriented to the economic stimulus at all: they were ruined, almost inevitably ruined, their land rents were reduced, they had nowhere to take on additional incomes, because they could not engage in business, and they could not keep within means either. There is nothing more terrible for the Duke than leading a life unsuitable for the Duke, than not be able to organize the amusements, which the prince of the blood will visit. If my ancestors organized these entertainments and everyone is waiting for amusement from me, I'd rather die than give up another party.
And you do not need to give up a party or a walk with friends even if you have a lot of tasks. After all, there is papercheap.co.uk, the advantages of which you can enjoy, unlike our ancestors.
Remember the Rostov family from War and Peace, which very well embodies this model of behavior? And they inevitably go bankrupt, they are dependent on the absolute monarch, but, although this awaits them in the end, they cannot rationalize their behavior economically, because this incentive is not the main or decisive one. The main occupation of these people is entertainment, which, in fact, represents hard work.
Read about the life of aristocrats – almost nothing has changed since the XVII century. People continue to follow each other, discuss each other's shortcomings, stab in the back, discover who did not received the invitation, and most importantly, who invited whom.
In this system, people constantly award each other with some marks of distinction. The most typical and most sustainable element for the prestige community is an invitation to visit: who received the invitation from someone, who accepted the invitation from someone – this is an unequivocal marker of the position in the hierarchy. In the 17th century, a register is maintained, and the modern press and a modern newspaper largely come from the letters in the provinces in which the courtiers inform the provincials about who visited someone at breakfast, and who dressed the king.
And by and large, although such groups exist, they are not as important as they were during the previous centuries, but we can trace the same features in many other systems, including possible professions and, above all, a science in which the concern for those who has quoted whom and who has neglected or ignored someone is an excuse for exactly the same gossip, exactly the same mortal affronts and exactly the same patterns of a completely economically irrational behavior that we find in our contemporaries.