Adonis Diaries

Archive for January 5th, 2010

Smell of your money; (Jan. 5, 2010)

            I explained in a previous post “Color of your money” that liquid money (currencies and banknotes) are not neutral and that it has lost its mythical concept of a “lubricating” medium to facilitate exchange of merchandize.  This post is investigating the other attributes of money on family and close relative relationships and how it might have contributed to change in value systems.

            Money has acquired an “intrinsic” value independent of the barter value that most economy thinkers tried to perpetuate the concept for over a century; that is since money is mainly an oiling mechanism to encourage and expand commerce then money should be dissociated from the economic factors of national worth. The fact is the lubricating notion of money was tampered with since after US independence when Britain regained its monopoly over issuing US money supply. When the authority refrains from accommodating economic expansion by infusing more money in the market then money overvalues: particular merchandizes gets practically more expensive, internal market shrink, export is slowed down, and commerce suffers because of lack of liquidities.  For example, when a person is in need of liquid money then he is at disadvantage when bargaining for the right price of goods that he is trying to sell as liquid money is overvalued.

            The dollar is still powerful though it is not worth a dime if accounted on factors such as national debt, gold reserves, or even manufactured goods.  The liquidity of the dollar as being accepted a global currency for global exchange is its fundamental power; the dollar is steadily being challenged to be replaced by a basket of valuable reserves indexes.

            This article “Smell of your money” examines the effects of money in the affective sphere among family members and close relatives. Sociologist started with the hypothesis that money will enhance rational “cold” interactions among family members and thus, money will eventually tarnish the traditional family value standards.  Currently, sociologists came to the realization that it was changes in the value systems that affected monetary exchanges among family members. For example, working wives decide on either a proportional (equity) division of incoming salaries or stubbornly insist on equal shares in the household expenses even though women might be earning less than men. Why this irrational decision for equal shares? In this struggle for acquiring autonomy and equality between genders in society then, a wife might react as if “equitability” is promoting the perception of older generation values of man economic dominance and power in the household.

            Money has different smell and is not neutral relative to its sources.  For example, single mothers smell money differently: money received from State welfare systems is accounted differently than money acquired by other means; thus, money is spent and viewed differently.  Money gained from prostitution is lavishly spent on luxury items.  At first, we might attribute this lavish behavior as “re-investing” in the business: to catch high scale clients you have got to look it!  Then, the luxury trend makes room to a different smell of money: luxury generates luxurious behaviors that are not easily broken.  Money from prostitution is set aside for personal class statue appearances and reactions to society perception for this oldest of businesses.

            Another example is related to divorce cases. Adultery is always and originally an affective hurt that might lead to divorce.  Adultery behavior is mainly mentioned and then takes the fore front in monetary negotiation in a divorce deal when one party does not feel that the division is fair. Then, the issue is “how much was spent to entertaining the lover?” Adultery thus becomes an important economic factor for dilapidating family “confidence” and traditional value systems.  Adultery remuneration is thus comparable to winning the lotto: we feel free to spend lavishly this extra windfall that was not earned from our sweat.

            Another example of smell of money is the gifts to family members.  Gifts are transformed from gifts in kinds into liquid money, though verbal “contracts” are usually attached on how money should be spent. In the 1920’s, US social assistance to the poorer classes attached clauses on how money aid should be spent: social workers acquired vast supervisory leverage to controlling the recipients of money aid. Maybe one day, verbal contracts will be accepted by courts as information and communication technologies become standard tools in most family applications.

            Change in value systems is the upper order factor that easily explains social transformations but they are the consequences of intermediate direct factors.  The intermediate factor is expansion and development of economic base that generate various wants and needs. The immediate factor is the transformation, due to economic expansion, to the creation of various forms of liquidity in money such as checks, credit cards, and technical facilities to withdrawing cash money.  Forms of liquid money are not neutral: they qualitatively contribute of value transformations within family relations.




January 2010

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