Gloriometer

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Discussion

via Adam Arvidsson:

“In a later passage form his Psychologie économique, Tarde defines the substance of public value: truth, beauty and utility as determined by : ' le plus ou moins grand nombre: le plus ou moins poids social (ce qui veut dire ici considération, compétence reconnue) des personnes qui s’accordent à l’admettre, et le plus ou moins d’intensité de leur croyance en elle' (Tarde, 1902:62). This definition is further operationalized in his call for a hypothetical gloriometer- technically impossible at the time of his writing- whereby the value creating potential of members of a public, their worth, could be calculated.

- A man’s glory, like his credibility and wealth [….] is therefore a kind of social quantity. It would be interesting if, by means of some ingenious statistics, we could get an approximate measure of this singular quantity for each species of celebrity. The need for a gloriometer is felt with particular sharpness given how fame of every color has multiplied, how suddenly it comes and how fleeting it is, and how, despite its usual transience, it always goes together with formidable power, being a good for the person who possesses it while for the society it is an illumination and source of faith. [...] Fame is one component of glory; it can readily be measured by number of individuals who have heard of a man or one of his acts. But admiration, a no less essential component, is a more complex matter to measure. We would have to count the number of admirers, to calculate the intensity of their admiration and also –here’s the rub– take into account [the admirers’] sharply unequal social value. (source of quote: Tarde, 1902, I, pp. 70-71 via P2PValue mailing list, June 2014)