I really liked this article when I frist saw it and I still like it six weeks later. It's about this: rich people often criticize poor people for making extravagent purchases, like an expensive purse. But what poor people understand is that such purchases are often the price of admission to a better life. I've commented in the past that venture capitalists don't fund ideas, they fund people. This is another version of the same idea. "Gatekeeping is a complex job of managing boundaries that do not just define others but that also define ourselves. Status symbols — silk shells, designer shoes, luxury handbags — become keys to unlock these gates." See also some commentary from Joanne Jacobs and an expansion on the same idea from Melonie Fullick. Jacobs isn't very sympathetic, of course - if acquiring status symboles (like a purse or a PhD) only 'feels like' corecion, people can always walk away. In just that way, we can say that they have chosen to be poor. But we know that to be a lie.