In liberal democracies, basically, people don't need to fear getting killed at any moment, being put arbitrary in prison, or dying in misery. They, basically, can follow their personal path as they wish.
Being fair (being committed to truth and justice) and seeking happiness for themselves and others is amply sufficient to having a good life and making a difference. See the research by Anderson and Keltner.
So they don't need to desperately achieve status as a means to get safety and resources.
But it seems people are still so much seeking status, as if it were a question of life and death, like in the jungle for instance, in a machiavellian manner (using charisma, inflating their achievements, buying goods they can't afford to appear more successful, perpetuating power struggles by gossiping, etc. See social media).
This prompts other people to act in the same way, creating a vicious circle.
Why is it so?