In this current global economic crisis and financially challenging time, you’d think it was crazy to literally throw big wads of cash away, wouldn’t you? I know I would.
This morning on the news a rap music video clip was shown as they discussed the impact of certain music genres on youth subcultures… Which is a discussion for another day… it was this video by Fat Joe featuring Lil Wayne called Make It Rain that you can watch in relation to what I am talking about today.
If you have watched lots of various hip hop or rap videos or not, you’ll get the recurring themes… including beautiful women not wearing much, expensive cars, large manor houses (although I might be more cool calling them cribs) and a variety of other social status cues… There is another one which is my focus for today… Throwing away wads of cash… Like in the video I mentioned earlier, there are lots of others that do this… Blokes that are chucking handfuls of cash out of windows, out of their cars, onto dance floors, inside of bars… I feel like shouting “over here sunshine, I’ll have it…” Though naturally, I’d prefer them to just wire it into my account for physical ease… 😉
What is that all about then? have they not watched their televisions… Or their huge mini-cinemas in their cribs? Do they not know their is a global recession going on for goodness sakes!
Some might propose that the answer lies in the mechanism of costly signaling… Something that was raised in a book I recently read about evolutionary psychology… Costly signaling, put in simpler terms, is a biological-based form of communication rooted in the Darwinian process of sexual selection, referred to by many evolutionary theorists and believers…
To use a rather worn-out example, let us look at the peacock’s tail. It is long, heavy and a burden, I mean it has got to be a pain to be carrying that huge thing around all the time, right? So it could not really have evolved via natural selection, as it actually reduces the likelihood of survival…
However, once we see the tail for what it really is… An aphrodisiac to admiring hens – we then can start understanding its evolution, and how it has survived through the generations. In a bit more detail, the colours, size, and symmetrical patterns of the peacock’s tail are sexual signals, they are like wearing a brightly coloured t-shirt with diamotes encrusted in it saying “I’m the best. Choose me to mate with. I am made of better genetic stock than all those others!”
I have been looking at the work of an Israeli ornithologist named Amotz Zahavi, who suggests something that links in here… Handicap Principle. It explains the evolution of such costly traits as the peacock’s tail. he suggested that in order for the tail to be an honest indicator of how suitable the peacock is as a potential mate, it must be very costly otherwise countless “cheaters” (i.e., lesser quality males) could fake the signal…. Sooooo….
This is why the rappers are chucking their cash away all the time… In order for a signal to be an honest one, it has to be costly…. This is the evolutionary theory… In the case of the peacock’s tail, cost is measured in terms of the physiological burden of carrying such a tail and the increased likelihood of them getting hunted and caught as a result… In the context of the male rappers, the cost is literally a monetary and financial cost involved with throwing away massive handfuls of cash notes… Either that or they need to take some seriously sound financial advice?
In both instances, there is an extravagant waste that is implicit to the signal and this is precisely what makes it an honest signal. The bottom line is that the male rappers in these videos are saying: “If I weren’t so amazingly well-off, I could not afford to throw away such extravagant amounts of cash. My obviously carefree attitude toward cash signals that I am incredibly rich!”
What an interesting way to end the week, eh? I am running my self-hypnosis seminar this weekend, I’ll be back on Monday… 🙂
Is it the same for people who are spendaholics? (The ones that keep spending even though they are in debt just to avoid the drudgery of normal life?)
Very interesting point Steve… I think there are many other things going on also with spendaholics, but there are sure to be elements of this in there for some of them… Could I be any more vague? 🙂
Good hearing from you Steve. A.