Resilience And The High End

from Seth’s Blog

The high end is brittle, unstable and thus, expensive.

The car that wins a race, the wine that costs $300, the stereo that sounds like the real thing… The restaurant that serves perfect fruit, the artisan who uses rare tools and years of training…

If there was a reliable, easy, repeatable way to produce these outputs, we’d all do it and the high end would be normal.

More here.

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5 Responses to Resilience And The High End

  1. Erik Peterson September 14, 2017 at 10:52 pm #

    High-end goods and services are referred to as “high-end” for a reason. Items of this caliber are rare, perfect, and often expensive (but for good reason). That being said, it is obvious that people will always be willing to pay big money for the most high quality items. Take professional sports teams as an example. Pick a great player from any team, and sport. Let’s examine Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors. There is no other player in the NBA quite like Steph. He has single handedly transformed the way that professional basketball is played in just a few short years. Because of his great effort, work ethic, and performance during games, Steph makes about $40 million per season. One might ask themselves: “why don’t the other players practice hard enough to become just like Steph Curry?” this is because “the high end is magic.” No one on the face of this Earth can put in enough effort to become like Steph Curry. He is just a special player. The same goes for any other professional athlete who is able to rise to the next level. If anyone was able to produce high end products or services, then high end would become a normal for society. However, high end takes grit, hard work, and most importantly in my eyes, natural skill. The article states that “what makes something pure enough, optimized enough, and fast enough to defeat the other 99.9% is that it doesn’t always work.” I agree with this statement. Let’s again examine a professional athlete. How about LeBron James this time? LeBron is considered to be the second (or first) greatest athlete ever to grace the basketball courts of the NBA. However, a whole lot of people also consider LeBron to be terrible when it comes time to be clutch. The fact of the matter is, LeBron does seem to “pass up the last shot” as Skip Bayless said, quite often. The same goes for all “high end” items. They are the most fantastic, amazing, awesome things in the world, but sometimes, they just don’t work out. Sometimes, that “stereo that sounds like the real thing” has one of its speakers blow out, or that “car that wins a race” crashes during the 15th lap on the next race. Perfection is obtainable, but it certainly is not able to be replicated over a long period of time. High end items have to be perfected over several years. It takes a lot of time to make something perfect. The same thing can be said for relationships, whether with a best friend, or a significant other. It takes an extremely long amount of time and dedication to make a relationship go great, however, they can be very “sensitive to inputs,” as the article says. It is possible to make something go really well, and achieve that “high end” status for a long time, but things can quickly sour overnight. The human race will always be willing to pay top dollar for the high end, because of its “magic” qualities.

  2. Lucas Nieves-Violet September 21, 2017 at 7:05 pm #

    The article posted by Seth Golden is quite interesting and in fact, makes me think of another similar article I read recently. In Tracie McMillan’s “The Logic of Poor Stupid People” the topic is the same and revolves around the same questions why do people from the lower class try to make purchases out of their means, to make themselves look like they fit in the wealthy class or as Golden states the “High Class.” If you are poor “presentability” does not mean shopping at Kmart for your clothing. It’s the simple urge of being presentable, dressed, and clean, in other words, those are the basics of social civility McMillan encourages. She fights and shines a light and the typical items like cars, or purses people who want to make statements tend to get. McMillan verifies that only once you know what poverty is can you then understand how questionable the concepts of “status symbols” or “High End” as mentioned by Golden are.
    McMillan & Golden, both in a deeper meaning explore the idea of communities mismanaging their money to possess status symbol accessories with the hope of being treated as an equal in their community. This pressure to own extravagant things is resulting in communities not prioritizing their income correctly. What American people need to realize is that their possessions do not define them as a person.
    In real life and in the two the articles, being presented there are two types of umbrella wealth falls in. The two are known as External and Internal richness. External is everything a person can see, buy, and acquire for themselves: a car, a house, or jewelry. Internal wealth is what classifies a person. Specifically, it is the number on one’s monthly check and in their bank account. Internal richness is what makes individuals feel rich or poor; it defines where they fit in: Lower, Middle, or Upper class of society. People are buying into external richness because it makes them feel internal wealth. This makes people feel snobbish and wealthy when they are not. They then tend distance themselves from others since they can afford all the good stuff they believe they belong to the wealthy class. The material luxury they can buy makes them feel empowered it alleviates them. The truth, however, is that, that money becomes an object to them. Their nice car, jacket becomes more than just something they own; it becomes something they vent about. On the contrary, if they had internal wealth they would not care, about those objects as they would just become things.
    The issue comes when people buy an excessive amount of lavish objects that do not represent the level of wealth or lifestyle they live. It is then that the objects start to not benefit them. For example, someone may want to buy a Roll-Royce with their $50,000 yearly salary to make themselves feel rich. However, that probably is not a good idea, and settling for a Prius or as Golden state’s “Maybe you merely need a reliable way to get from here to there at a reasonable price”. “Why do poor people make stupid, illogical decisions to buy status symbols? For the same reason all but only the most wealthy buy status symbols, I suppose. We want to belong.” (McMillan). People want to fit in they want to look favorable to the eyes of others, because no matter what, society has a definition of success. That definition is a lavish lifestyle, and everyone wants crumbs of that way of life. That is why we buy into the external richness and expensive accessories we all want to belong; we want to be part of that “High-End Society” mentioned in “Resilience and the high-end.” However most of us can’t buy the whole pie so we steal crumbs, we all do in fact, and luxurious items and cars are the response to how we feel. It is magical because we can never truly be kept out of it acting like such.

    Additional Source
    “The Logic of Stupid Poor People.” Tressiemc. N.p., 2016. Web. 21 Sep. 2017.

  3. Juliana Martinez September 22, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

    The human population as a whole likes and wants nice things. No matter how essential the product may or may not be to life, the more exclusive and costly it is the more people will want it. The more developed a country is, the more resources the people will have to afforded these high end products. This is because once all basic life necessities are met people can start thinking about fulfilling their wants. Living within a first world country, where people are born into families with most, if not all, of their needs fulfilled, lies the opportunity for needs and wants to be confused. This in turn allows for a great opportunity for all kinds of businesses to open and for high end businesses to prosper.

    It is also within the human nature to want things others cannot have. Meaning humans like to show things off. So, again, living within a first world country, where there is the opportunity to buy expensive and exclusive things, people will be more inclined to pay the extra cash for a product. Despite the durable and inexpensive option, people that have the resources to pay extra for the high end version, will pay extra simply for the fact that it is more expensive and not as generic. Due to these reasons, the high end market has the luxury of being “brittle, unstable, and thus, expensive”, as Seth Godlin states in his article. These businesses know that their one of a kind product will be continuously purchased purely because of the cost of their product and the “magical” experience it will give to its consumers.

  4. Cristina O September 29, 2017 at 11:37 pm #

    If we’re talking about high end vs. low end products, then we definitely have to get into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The idea is that once a person is taken care of physiologically (air, food, shelter, etc.) and they are safe (personal, financial security, etc.) they then begin to seek belonging, esteem (respect), and finally self-actualization (achieving one’s full potential).

    In today’s society, the high end is healthy as is the low end. Take cell phones, for example. Why do so many people walk around with the latest iPhone instead of an old flip phone that makes calls just as well? Why do we spend money we don’t have buying things we think will make us happy? Why do we think they’ll make us happy? Because we are satisfying two of Maslow’s needs: belonging and esteem.

    Anyone with a smartphone will tell you which “team” they’re on: Apple, Android, Windows, or Google. Many times these people won’t switch teams regardless of a better product being produced by one of the others. Companies release a new version of the same item every year with minor changes – similar to the auto industry – and introduce major changes once every few years. Why then are phone companies now throwing the traditional 2-year contracts out the window? Because people are constantly wanting the latest and greatest. Rather than wait two years (which is an eternity in tech time), they want to be able to upgrade their phones in 18 months, 12 months, even 6 months! This is where esteem is satisfied.

    Being part of a consumer society has emphasized the importance of having expensive things, whether we can afford them or not. People have come to believe that this pursuit of the material will bring them to Maslow’s final stage of self-actualization. Whether that’s true or not, only time will tell.

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