Lifted from the Comments
By Arnold Kling
John Nye writes on this post,
precisely because the West is much richer, positional or status goods are consequently more important. The struggle over status goods can be masked when you have rapid growth and a lot of mobility. But ultimately, middle and upper middle class people DO care more about health care, location of housing, and elite schooling than poorer people.
…So yes, objectively speaking, people are a LOT better off on many dimensions, but people’s utilities are such that status goods and positional goods will make conflicts in periods of stagnation really vicious.