As noted here recently, capitalism absolutely does destroy what it relies on for existence, like an unchecked fire.  But what capitalism destroys, capitalism can also provide partial measures to correct.  That we don’t usually see those correctives is evidence of enemy action.  It is moot that your enemy is not the arsonist if they stop you from putting out the blaze.

For example, capitalism relies on some sense of merit and accomplishment apart from just money, because otherwise in an analogy to Gresham’s Law the best entrepeneurs would be driven out by the best cheaters and thieves.  In other words, capitalism needs some way of measuring earned status.  In a village or a traditional urban neighborhood, this was done in the old-fashioned way through community reputation. But capitalism has destroyed those environments.

What is needed is some kind of recognized way for men (women too, but especially men) to show their verified achievements.  There isn’t one, and there should be.  Sure, people can buy status markers with money.   Nice cars, all that.  But those are (1) unnecessarily expensive and (2) only show money, not merit.  We see signs of the need for earned reliable status markers with verified identity initiatives on web systems like Twitter or earned badges on gaming platforms.   There is credit ratings, but those aren’t visible to most people, and social credit ratings in China, but those measure docility to the regime, not merit. The old fraternal organizations had a rough and incomplete version of merit rankings, but they were effectively destroyed.  All of these point to what we need, but none of them provide it. We need merit badges for men.

The idea sounds crazy to you because you have been taught that way.  It isn’t.  Militaries do it with great success.  Men proudly wear the ribbons they’ve earned, if they trust the system or organization that awards them.  That trust is key.  A Medal of Honor is much more impressive than  North Korean general’s chest fully of big shineys.  To the extent members of the military feel like ribbons are often given out for political reasons to placemen and uniformed bureaucrats it devalues the award.  But real awards have real value.

A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.

-thus Napoleon.

Why? Because when the ribbon is reliable badge of merit, earning it and wearing it is worth a lot. Once money has enough to meet their needs, money is often just a middleman to buy status.

There is a market need for an organization that reliably verifies accomplishments in a visible and easy to understand way for a small fee.  It could even do the same to verify money itself. It should be a lot cheaper to pay someone to verify one’s earnings and net worth while buying an ordinary car and house than having to spring for the Rolls and the mansion.


There is a market need.  But there is no market.

(The Church handles this problem and handles it well mostly by recreating the village environment. My ward knows what I do well and what I don’t. But even in the Church women often wear their young women’s medallion into adulthood–power to them–and men will often identify each other by their “celestial smile,” and priesthood is visibly ranked.)

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