Commenter JS wrote:

American proles define status with lifestyle only, the more money = the more hedonism = hence the more status. Ivy League Investment bankers party with state college-frat boys. It’s all about the money. Lion is wrong about Proles vs SWPLs.

And about the Ivy League, its graduates don’t care for learning, they want money, no questions asked!

Americans are class unaware. People marry up or marry down, because they want money.

I’ve never found the concept of social class as traditionally defined, particularly useful for describing America, mostly because social class is all about inherited status, old money and sophistication, and America’s greatest heroes are rags to riches success stories and plain spoken people who can relate to the common man.  And although America has less economic mobility than other developed countries, Americans like to see themselves as the land of opportunity, and actively reject the idea of a caste system or monarchy.

One of the reasons Hillary lost the election is people don’t want the Clintons or anyone else to become a political dynasty because that goes against everything America likes to think it stands for.  One of the reasons Trump won is that despite his wealth, he reflected the populism and vulgarity of the common man.

Also, if you look at America’s most successful demographic (Ashkenazi Jews), they came to the United States with very little wealth, and only achieved their current status within the last several decades.

Thus instead of the idea of social class, I’ve repeatedly argued that what best explains the American hierarchy are three types of power: popularity, intellectual influence, and money.  Whoever has the highest Z score on a composite of all three are the “winners” in America. These three types of capital are not mutually exclusive and one type can be exchanged for another type: Giving billions of dollars to charity, as Bill Gates did, decreases his economic capital (money) but increased his political capital (popularity).  Giving speeches to Wall Street, as Hillary did, cost her political capital, but increased her wealth.

Popularity: The ability to win hearts

This type of power is exemplified by sitting U.S. presidents who are virtually always the most worshipped man in America, other high profile politicians, and First Ladies.  Surprisingly, with the exception of Oprah, and sometimes Ellen and Angelina Jolie, celebrities generally don’t show up that much when Americans are asked (without prompting) to name who they most admire.  Also interesting is the fact that blacks are dramatically overrepresented in this type of power, especially after controlling for IQ.  This might be because blacks are genetically better at more charismatic occupations like politics, entertainment and sports, as part of an evolved strategy for getting numerous mates (J.P. Rushton argued blacks evolved to have higher birth rates at the expense of survival rates), or it could be because they carry a certain moral authority because of slavery, or perhaps blacks are promoted to more visible positions as a form of tokenism.  Likely all three factors play a role.

Interestingly, Jews tend to be quite unexceptional on this type of power after controlling for IQ (Bernie Sanders being a notable exception) either because they lack charisma, anti-Semitism, or because the don’t want to be the public face of power, preferring instead a behind the scenes role.

People who are considered proles also can also do extremely well at this type of power (Sarah Palin and perhaps even Trump, being the most obvious examples).

Intellectual influence: The ability to win minds

This type of power is exemplified by columnists for The New York Times, members of Thinktanks who shape government policy, and professors who write policy books that are read by Senators and Presidents.  Ashkenazi Jews are DRAMATICALLY overrepresented in this type of power, even after controlling for IQ.  Despite being 2% of America they are 50% of the most influential pundits.  By contrast blacks are 13% of America, but only 2% of the most influential pundits.  Proles virtually never achieve this type of power.

Money: the ability to win wallets

This type of power is self-explanatory.  The richest people wield incredible power because they can buy politicians, media outlets, and Think Tanks.  Once again, Ashkenazi Jews are dramatically overrepresented , (36% of the 400 richest Americans despite being 2% of America) and blacks have probably never been more than 0.5% of the Forbes 400, despite being 13% of America.  This might be because prehistorically, economic success was all about having the adaptability to acquire enough resources to survive, but according to Rushton’s theory, blacks evolved a strategy where survival rates were sacrificed to increase birth rates. By contrast nerdy guys like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckergberg, who prehistorically would not have got the most mates, evolved because they were so good at surviving that they were the only ones left to mate with.

Of course IQ alone can’t explain the extreme disparity we see in racial wealth; differences in ethnic networking likely also play a part.  It could be that blacks, being the World’s oldest phenotype and lineage, are the most genetically diverse, and thus have the least in-group favouritism (look at all the black on black crime).  By contrast, Ashkenazi Jews, being an extremely new race, are much more genetically homogenous, allowing more in-group altruism.  See ethnic genetic interests.