Has rising status for commercial middle and upper classes made academics feel slighted and lower in status? Have some of them responded by generating more arguments about looming disasters as a way to boost their own importance and status in the eyes of government leaders and general public?Gee, and here I thought all the doomsaying was on account of academic due diligence and responsible foresight. Oh, and all those nasty apocalyptic technologies we're about to unleash....
I find the argument plausible because the desire to raise one's status seems an obvious basic human instinct. The desire for higher status can be seen as a motivation for everything from the drive for wealth, political power, and fame, The desire for higher status may well be the biggest driver of large scale philanthropy by the famous and wealthy.
March 21, 2007
Doomsaying: It's a 'status' thing
According to Freeman Dyson, the prevalence of doom-and-gloom prognosticators at Cambridge University (a group that would include Sir Martin Rees) is a consequence of the English class system. He says,