Harry and Meghan and the perils of superstar culture

By Allison Schrager

12 Dec 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

A Bloomberg columnist deep dives into the history of "superstar culture" and how Harry and Meghan represent an "important economic trend" that resonates well beyond royal life.

One of the reasons the public is obsessed with Harry and Meghan is that they represent an important economic trend that resonates well beyond the British royal family: the rising tension between individual branding and the power and prestige of being part of an institution. And it's not just the royals; it's an issue for all industries.

In the past, if money and security and status were what you craved, your path was clear: You got a job at the most prestigious institution you could and became a valuable team player. This meant giving up some part of your identity. You wouldn't be well-known to people outside your field, or probably even within the company. To a large extent, this was the relic of the last stage of industrialization - The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit era. Back then, stars were for the movies, and office work involved keeping your head down and dedicating yourself to the advancement of the institution. In exchange for your fealty, you received a small share of the institution's success and prestige.

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