When people engage in discussions such as those at the link (‘who’s the smarter professor?’/’who get’s to say who’s the smarter professor?’/’how do we decide who’s the (highest status) professor’), I like to imagine in my head a small group of male monkeys posturing, trying to figure out who’s the stronger one; the one that gets to mate with the females in the tribe. I find it quite cute when very smart and hardworking people engage in status games with the people they consider their peers. They behave like children but don’t realize it. (I would have said …we, but I don’t belong to that group. Though it’s probably cute too to some other people when I do similar stuff..)
Also, academics in countries like Denmark like to point out that they’re not in it for the money. That’s probably true. They’re in it for the status. The kind of status that money can’t easily buy. Even if they like to think so, their motives are not somehow fundamentally different, somehow more ‘pure’, than the motives of people who are ‘in it for the money’. Everybody like to think that the kind of status they have relatively much of is the most important kind of status there is, or maybe even ‘…the only kind of status that matters’.