Re: Salary taboo

Eugenia M. Moreno (gmoreno@NOVA.UMUC.EDU)
Mon, 4 Dec 1995 22:13:51 -0500

On Mon, 4 Dec 1995, C. Sawin-Wilson wrote:

> the part of Americans...especially for parents not even to tell their own
> children how much they make! The sad thing about *that* is that many of
> us (I include myself here) grow up without a real understanding of how
> much money it takes to live at a certain level, or how to manage the
> money we have (and to truly appreciate the kind of sacrifices our parents

Carolyn, I agree with this statement. However, even without knowing
exact amounts of salary that my mother earned, she managed to communicate
to me the sacrifices involved by her example of thriftiness and her
day-to-day, year-to-year spending choices. My children have all learned
to be "defensive" shoppers- that has been a real *need* in our family and
has made efficient use of the resources we have available. They are much
more knowledgable and confident in spending choices than most of their peers.

> make for us--or at least that mine did). I think a lot of people my age
> would be better off if it wasn't such a big deal to keep things like that
> secret (it's not so much who cares who's making what, as why should it be
> a big deal in the first place?).

This last point, I suggest, *is* important because it speaks of choices-
individual, familial and communal. Our market economy sells "choices".
The amount of income one earns determines the kind and number of choices
that one can make. Greater income provides more opportunities for
physical comfort and investment in self-improvement (via education, etc.)>
possible. These benefits can be passed on to offspring. This thread,
and your remarks, point out the usefulness of familiarity with other
social sciences- in this case, economics and sociology. What pleases me
about anthro is that all of these different topics can be studied and the
inter-connectedness revealed for useful application. The independence of
personal choice is a high societal value in the US and in much of the
western world. The personal choice(s) afforded by high income translate
into high socio-economic status. Another way to say it is that: An
individual is as important/valuable to a society as the choices that an
individual has available to him/her based on income.