Hipster economics?

Matthew Colwell

As the latter half of the ‘00s came about, the term hipster rose to be feared by all the culturally inclined. As 2010 ends, it seems the word has been beaten to smithereens, too. It’s a word that no one wants to be called, but takes great pride in labeling others with. All overly investigated ironic puns and subject matter aside, I find all economic classes hate the modern hipster because it actually has a place inside all of them. Hipsterdom is a world based in taste, and in turn, their fight for social capital. So I present the three tiers of hipster economics (in descending “monetary” value):

?1. Upper middle class suburban kids with parents who replace love with money. Their social capital is purchased, and their aesthetic is planned to the last drop. They show the perfection of marketing from stores like Urban Outfitters and American Apparel. They buy their culture like its manufactured out of a Chinese factory (which it very well may be). I’ve heard people refer to this tier as the “trust fund hipsters.”

?2. Kids who grew up with blue-collar parents. They’re probably bitter and cynical, but they work a little harder on things. These hipsters will spend their time criticizing the above tier in hopes of getting their chance at more social worth since they can’t buy it and find the purchased worth of the trust fund hipsters as inauthentic. This work value of “trying to get a leg up” reflects that blue-collar upbringing of working hard to get what they have. They sit in between the tiers, and as such are fighting to both to end up on top. I like to call these kids the “Blue Hipsters.”

?3. The lower class kids who end up the most aesthetically authentic in this entire affair tend to end up at the bottom of the barrel. These are people who live in their urban lofts working at a run-down restaurant or a cycling shop who probably know the most about the things that aren’t “cool” yet. They don’t have any social capital to begin with and they can’t buy it, so they are truly climbing the ladder of taste. This is what a true hipster represents to me. These kids are hipsters and it’s not a dirty word. They’re culturally inclined and grew up with an authentic view on it all.

?No matter your tastes or intelligence level, the modern hipster seems to strike a fear in everyone. We all either shuffle it off or embrace it in irony, which is simply cyclical for the hipster culture, so it just implodes on itself. At the end of the day, though, we’re just trying to show we’re superior in some arbitrary, societal game.

Contact Matthew Colwell at [email protected].