Given the power and influence of the super rich, it might seem as if social status and material possessions are the new symbols of personal worth, but in everyday life I do not think this is true.
It is apparent that most celebrities today are admired or envied solely for their material wealth or position in various social hierarchies. Many of these people are known to turn their backs on friends, cheat on their spouses or spend their evenings over-indulging in alcohol and /or drugs. Things like owning a mansion, driving an expensive car and getting into A-list parties are exalted above old-fashioned values. Ultimately, though, it is the many readers of gossip magazines and celebrity blogs who reinforce these ideas.
Nevertheless, I do believe that in their day-to-day lives most people still believe in values such as honour, kindness and trust. In some way most of us want to form loving families, raise our children to be good citizens, stand up for the downtrodden and protect our communities from harm. We still form friendships, romances and business partnerships based on old-fashioned criteria. When our trust is abused or we are unfairly treated, we see that as a major violation of our relationship and we judge the wrongdoer accordingly.
In conclusion, I believe there is some truth to the notion that status and possessions have superseded old-fashioned values as a measure of a person's worth. Looking beyond the tabloids, however, it is apparent that most ordinary people have still preserved an old-fashioned conscience.