The best detector of someone’s observable worth is an insecure person. An insecure person gauges their and others’ worth based on their connection to worth-making sources such as strong brands, prestigious institutions, high-status people, etc… A couple things can be gleaned from this. First of all, there is an insecurity virtuous cycle where insecurity begets insecurity. More insecure people out there means more people gauging your worth by external sources and that makes you more insecure and more likely to partake in said behavior. Secondly, the less worth-making entities in the system, the more insecure people there will be. This recession has cut off jobs (worth-making entities, especially for men), cut leisure spending and made the country’s mood negative all around.