Thursday, March 3, 2011

How Far Would You Go? (Social Status)

By: Hilary McFillin

We have all heard of things people will do to achieve Social Status.  For some, they might give up anything just to be accepted by others in our society. 

Social Status is one of the five elements of social relationships.  It is what makes up social structure, along with  social roles, groups, social networks, and social institutions.  "Status" is the name given to define all the positions in a group or society.  There is a very large range of statuses.  A person can occupy the name of "The Queen of England" to a "daughter", or both.  There are two types of statuses, ascribed and achieved.  Ascribed status is "assigned" to a person by society.  An example is your racial background, age, or gender.  Achieved status comes through what we do to get to where we want to be in society.  Such as a high school graduate, gym teacher, or lawyer.  What I will be sharing with you is the achieved status and what some will do just to reach where they want to be or who they want to be accepted by.

Was this man willing to do anything to achieve high status?  What has recently been in the media is about a man named Bernard Madoff and his story of achieving status. Bernie Madoff was a former Amercian Stockbrocker, Investment advisor, Non-executive chairman of NASDAQ Stockmarket.  Many wealthy people in America invested their retirement money with him.  He was a very wealthy man with much respect and very powerful friends.  Many people started to investigate how he was living such an extravagent life, with a penthouse apartment in Manhattan, the shares in two private jets, the yacht moored off the French Riviera. The way he lived such a luxurious life was by the Ponzi Scheme, he stole $65 Billion from his investors. He was not a hard working well respected man, he now became a greedy manipulator, fraud.  This man did not care who he hurt to become successful, and to achieve a high status.

Bernie Madoff was charged with security fraud, investment advisor fraud, male fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, false statements, perjury, making false filings with the FEC, and theft from an employee benefit plan.  He is now incarcerated in federal custody at Butner Federal Correctional Institution, eating cornbeef for dinner, wearing orange prisoner pants and working as a janitor 35 hours a week.  He will be imprisoned for 150 years, the day of his release will be November 14th, 2139!

Bernie Madoff's son, Mark Madoff, committed suicide two years to the day after Bernie's arrest.  Bernie has incarcerated his whole family, his wife is now in hiding, her charges are pending.  Bernard Madoff's choice to get rich and achieve a high social status has cost his entire family. This is the largest financial fraud the world has ever seen.

Some people will go extreme measures just to achieve any type of status in this world.  As for Bernard Madoff, it is very sad to see that for his actions, many people were hurt, not only will his family, but also the people that trusted in him and now do not anything to fall back on.


  1. I keep hearing this guy's name but never knew exactly what he did, the blog was very informative and well stated, Im honestly surprised he didnt just get a slap on the wrist

  2. You gave a clear, informative insight to how social statuses play a role in everyday life. Bernie Madoff was a great example. The example showed how one person's status can effect the statuses of people in the same social group or network.

  3. The story is excellent. Many people think that to achieve status or recognition one has to go on the extreme, either by corruption and devilish activities. I personally believed that, no matter who you are or where you are from, a status has already been placed on you. So going extra mile committing crimes and defrauding others is terrifying. It is better you do the right thing and acquire a good status than do wrong things, forgetting to know that “No sin goes unpunished.”

  4. I agree with Jusu U. Dunor that no matter who you are or where you are from, a status has already been placed on you. This story makes a good point, that there are people who would do anything to be part of a certain social status. But I think there are limits to how far you should go in achieving a high status. You shouldn’t let it run your life.

  5. I have never thought of achieving a social status that did not involve bettering yourself to society, until now. I always thought of becoming a teacher, or fire fighter for social status. something that others in the world would see as heroic. It just dawned on me because of this article that others are drawn to social status because of many things including, greed, power and selfishness