Thursday, March 29, 2007

Class breakdown

One of my friends once told me a brilliant way of conceptualizing class and gift giving. She said her aunt came up with it, but I partially forgot it. I attempted to explain it to an adult class of mine, and while they didn't really understand it, I think, they did help me remember the missing piece.

Poor people- poor people often give gifts to family and friends. Since they lack financial security, the opportunity to give gifts is fairly rare. Furthermore, giving gifts is a statement of financial security and empowerment. You feel rich, giving gifts to people when you are poor.

Middle class people- middle class people will sometimes give gifts. Christmas, birthdays, or out of politeness. However, they often confine other more altruistic giving to more indirect means, such as charities. Giving spontaneously is perhaps seen as slightly odd in a middle class setting, and possibly it would make people uncomfortable.

Rich people rarely give to their friends and families, except of course Christmas, birthdays etc. After all, most of your social circle isn't really hurting, so the opportunity to give doesn't really arise. If your friend wants it they probably have already bought it.

I think I've still forgotten most parts of this, it's not nearly as good as when she told it to me. If they

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