This is Glenn’s idea, I’m just explaining it.
Value stratification is related to time preference in economics, R/k selection in evopsych, and conscientiousness in psychology, but it’s not precisely the same as any of these things. I’ll explain it, then tie it back into these other things to clarify the similarities and differences.
Value stratification is a personality trait where a person takes immediate pleasure in activities that defer gratification. The ur-example is healthy eating, where a person with high value stratification focuses on how eating their salad makes them a healthy person, and this supplies them with some dopamine in the present moment. The same person will have difficulty relaxing and enjoying unhealthy food for the same reason- the personality trait causes them to feel anxiety about the immediate gratification. Germany is the country that best exemplifies this trait.
There are many more abstract things—other than obvious things like healthy eating or exercise or hard work—that a person of this sort may prefer to the point of economic irrationality:
1. Choosing to spend time organizing one’s workspace for greater efficiency rather than spending that time on production (because organization is relaxing or energizes the person).
2. Choosing capital rather than a sum of cash equal to what the capital will produce over time.
3. Choosing to pursue virtue rather than the material rewards that such virtue will produce over time (Aristotle’s definition).
4. Choosing to work hard and pursue greater career success on evenings and weekends rather than recreation and relaxation.
5. Choosing idealistic pro-social altruism over self-defense, procreation and the survival of one’s race (*cough*).
If it is expressed in pathological excess, this trait becomes obsessive-compulsive disorder and manifests as an anxiety-downregulating addiction which disorders the person’s life, causing greater anxiety and therefore a downward spiral.
In contrast, a person with low value stratification may also have low time preference, and defer gratification for that reason (as typically seen in Scandinavia). But they might also have high time preference, in which case they will default to immediate gratification (Africa). A person with high time preference can’t also have high value stratification because it requires some ability to imagine the future. It’s kinda like how you need some intelligence to have low time preference.
Having both low time preference and high value stratification produces the highest level of delayed gratification in a population. Often this is good, but sometimes it is very bad.
I speculate that this is related to Glenn’s other observation about two sorts of societies: those where people tend to make war amongst themselves (their close genetic kin), and those who tend to make war against other nations. The first sort tends to be isolated from other nations by natural barriers, so they’re often found on islands (thus they have to make war more often with themselves). The second sort tends to be landlocked and therefore surrounded by other nations with whom they tend to make war.
When the first sort of society is relatively at peace, they produce literature. They are more individualistic and care less about designing abstract systems for getting along, preferring to rely on individual character and spontaneous judgment. This produces cultures that prefer sensibility to rationality, induction over deduction, and broad-but-shallow holistic reasoning over narrow-but-deep explicit reasoning. When the second sort of culture is relatively at peace, they produce philosophy. They are more collectivistic and prefer to design and adhere to abstract systems of civic and social morality in order to get along. This produces cultures with opposite preferences to the ones above: rationality > sensibility, deduction > induction, narrow + deep > broad + shallow, explicit > holistic.
Obviously there’s going to be some overlap.