Thursday, October 04, 2007

Why Money Alone Does Not Make You Rich

The reason why we distinguish the nouveau riche from the rich is because it is not just money that makes the rich rich. Being rich is an entire manner of being that money cannot buy. Such a manner of being can only be acquired through upbringing, “good breeding”, so to speak which only comes with constant exposure from a very young age.

The nouveau riche give away their being nouveau in many ways. In their manner of speaking and degree of (dis)comfort with the language of the rich. In their degree of (dis)comfort (and the discomfort they generate) in the presence of “good” company. In their clothes which cannot replicate the understated wealth of the truly rich. In their manner of spending with their tendency to display their happiness at their newly acquired wealth. The truly rich tend to be frugal.

The children of the nouveau rich have a better chance of truly assimilating the culture of the rich as their parents invest their newly acquired economic capital into access for their children to “good” schools and “good” company.

A corollary to all of the above is that it is possible not to be financially wealthy and yet still acquire the manner of being of the rich. A child who enters a “good school” (especially in the early years) through a scholarship for example (or because their parents invest almost everything they have in a child's education), may develop a taste for “the finer things in life”: poetry, travel (abroad), “good” books, classical music, theater, art and all the other things that are signs of cultural distinction.

Next Post: Friday, 12 October 2007. Practical Mastery
I am running out of things to post! :-)


Omi said...

I still don't get Bourdieu's general framework.

Leland said...

abangan ang practicum. Or read Jenkin's book, Pierre Bourdieu, is a good start. Or Pilario's Back to the Rough Grounds of Praxis. Read the section on the conceptual triad.