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is our culture obsessed with money/prestige?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by azn_apocalypse, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. azn_apocalypse

    azn_apocalypse IncGamers Member

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    is our culture obsessed with money/prestige?

    I need some alternative viewpoints.

    I've been at two universities now (one for undergrad and one for grad), and it seems like a lot of students I come across want to be doctors, lawyers, or investment bankers. It's like there are no other career choices. Like, if someone comes into college wanting to be a doctor, but decides they don't like it, they'll apply to law school instead. I know a number of people who, when they graduated, sent out apps to both med schools AND law schools...talk about not knowing what you want to do in life!

    While I believe that some of them truly do love the profession they are pursuing, I can't help but think that most of them are just motivated by money and prestige. Sometimes it really frustrates me that people can't look past the $$$ and decide, hey, maybe there's something else in life for me.

    Have things always been like this, or have they gotten worse in the past few years?
     
  2. toader

    toader Banned

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    Perhaps it was because you were at a school that promoted and taught people for those professions?

    Amazingly enough at my school, I noticed mainly engineers and agriculture folks. But thats most likely because my school was very highly accredited in both of those area.

    But, regardless of this, to answer the title of your thread...yes. Money and Prestige are a high priority for many people around the world these days.
     
  3. Necrolestes

    Necrolestes IncGamers Member

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    Money for nothing

    It's a consumer culture. If we want to buy things, we need high paying jobs. Most high paying jobs carry with it a measure of prestige. Some of those jobs (lawyers, doctors) carry more prestige than stock brokers so people wish to have the former rather than the latter jobs. It is sad that people only want to become people who have money rather than people who help other people. But it is, after all, a consumer culture and he who has, gets.
     
  4. Lord_Shinnok

    Lord_Shinnok IncGamers Member

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    It's always been like this. Look at Rome in the pre-Augustus age. Money and power were all that really mattered to people then and it remains true today. Only with not as many togas.
     
  5. azn_apocalypse

    azn_apocalypse IncGamers Member

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    Your point about consumer culture is well-taken.

    But I don't know if lawyers are necessarily more prestigous than stockbrokers. To me, both professions are just means of redistributing wealth in our society...

    But why is the "getting" part so important? Lawyers and i-bankers both work tons of hours...doesn't having the free time to do something you love have a certain value to it as well?
     
  6. Necrolestes

    Necrolestes IncGamers Member

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    My son, the doctor

    I agree with you there, azn. But, to tell the truth, when was the last time a mother gloating about her son, the stockbroker? It's the culture that deems a position prestigious or not.
     
  7. Johnny

    Johnny Banned

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    I looked at all the options.
    Then I pressed a secret button that few people managed to see and opened the secret, crafts option and decided to become a painter.

    So now Im an undereducated overpaid underworked craftsman with an average pay of about $4000 a month from regular work and then an extra $4000 from "helping friends" ;)


    But dont look for the secret button. Do like everyone else and get an IT education because we still need those computer wizards with a 6 year education to work at McDonalds and to work as cashiers at the supermarket, not to mention cleaners for those dirty floors.
     
  8. Damnatorius

    Damnatorius IncGamers Member

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    I hope after I finish with my education I can stay a mailman :D
    you make crap money, but at least you get to work out in the beautiful weather my country has to offer...
     
  9. ozz109

    ozz109 IncGamers Member

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    Then look at many tribes in the Amazon in South America they have no money and work as a team for the community not for prestige or any self intrest.
     
  10. DrunkCajun

    DrunkCajun Banned

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    I have an interesting perspective on this. Growing up in the household of an employee of a multinational corporation who works, still, to this day, between 12 and 18 hours a day, and travels internationally 3+ days of the week, I vowed as a teenager never to work a job like that. I decided I wanted to work in a field where my work would either help people, or work as a writer, something I knew I would enjoy.

    Flash forward 5 years, I'm working at a 501 (c)(3) non-profit doing social and economic development in Latin America. Awesome. Except that I'm being paid peanuts. Like, my parents were mailing me subsidy checks every month so I could pay my bills peanuts. Oh, and I hated the job. Like shoot myself and everyone in the office hate. So I quit after a year and realizing that they had no intention of ever promoting me, giving me a real raise, or otherwise treating their employees like humans. Funny that we were working to help people in crappy situations while keeping our employees in crappy situations.

    At any rate, I've decided to go into business. I'm now working at a marketing firm, working longer hours, harder, and for a lot more money. I'm happier, less stressed out, and know that I can move up here. I also have decided that if I pursue higher education than my BA, I'm going to pursue an MBA so that I can really get into business.

    Why? Because I've come to realize that pretty much anywhere that is going to pay me enough to sustain my comfort is going to require me to work my arse off. So I can opt to work somewhere for just enough to get by, and work my tail to the bone, or I can whore myself out a little more, work a little harder, and get paid a lot more. For a little extra investment, I get a lot more return. To me, its worth it.
     
  11. Namyeknom

    Namyeknom IncGamers Member

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    All about animal behaviour.

    Before the human race could depend on steady food sources, our success as an individual could be measured by our survivability and state of health.

    Since we have developed a society arround us in which these measurements are no longer valid, we have moved to other factors in which to determine the success of individuals.

    Hence shiny coins and fancy cars.
     
  12. jmervyn

    jmervyn IncGamers Member

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    I agree, 'twas always thus. But I believe it has become more visible recently because people who have the money & power are less careful about their public conduct. "Good Breeding" and propriety doesn't count for much anymore.

    I've said something along these lines in the Medal of Honor thread and recieved laughably nasty replies, but the sad truth IMNSHO is that modern people (particularly Americans in my frame of reference) don't view traditional cultural mores as positive. I believe that instead the negative behaviours have recieved far more glamour and positive reinforcement than they possibly deserve. The anti-hero is taken as more positive than the real hero; Batman is cooler than Superman but a mentally disturbed murderer that is good on occasion is cooler still (I'm thinking The Punisher, though I'm not a fan, or Mad Max).

    For those who disagree, let me throw out a couple of examples. Wearing your pants at half mast and telling assorted people to f-off makes you 'kewl' now, whereas in the distant past it might have just have taken socially silly clothing and a sneer. Having a child out of wedlock is lauded, particularly if the parent is in the public eye, where just having a child is no big deal. And cheating your way through life is regarded as the norm, where it used to be something shameful.

    Anyone want my soapbox? I'm through.
     
  13. Ash Housewares

    Ash Housewares IncGamers Member

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    whoops :eek:
     
  14. Garbad_the_Weak

    Garbad_the_Weak IncGamers Member

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    That's been my experience as well.

    The fact is, everyone works hard, everyone's job has sucky parts, etc. You may as well pay the price to be at the top. They earn way more than they deserve, get more credit, and get laid off less. Its really not that much more work to graduate in the top 10%, put in just enough more work to be noticed, etc. It pays off way more than being average.

    But on the status thing...

    Its all about the american dream. We all want to live better than our parents, which simply can't happen unless we import a self renewing underclass every generation. Every lawyer/doctor expects their children to be at least professionals, but the fact is the world doesn't need that many high status workers. Thats why a college degree is worthless and why a professional degree means less than it did - more people have it and not as many jobs are created as degrees given each year.

    At some point, people have to realize very, very few people will earn over 100k (something like 3% of the population) and work in a high status job. Every college grad thinks they will but most never will. To keep up with what they and their freinds/family think they should be doing, people go into debt, try to impress with cars/houses/boats, etc.

    And then I get to bail them out because they don't have health insurance, they never saved for retirement, etc. Its bad enough I have to subsidize their education and stinkyass brats as it is :mad:

    Garbad
     
  15. azn_apocalypse

    azn_apocalypse IncGamers Member

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    I don't think 52 K a year is crap money at all. There are people out there that manage to support entire families on that kind of income.

    Here's my opinion. There is a certain level of income where you can achieve a reasonable level of comfort, and can afford things like a house, a car or two, and maybe some nice things. You don't need to make six or seven figures to achieve this level of comfort; in fact, there are TONS of jobs out there that can provide it. Once you get past that level of income, any additional money is really only for bragging purposes only (ie my house is bigger than yours). That's why it saddens me that our culture (throughout history, it seems like) seems to be obsessed with 1) getting more money than the next guy and 2) worrying about what others think of them and whether they are holding a job they can brag about. In the long run, we are all going to leave this world, and then how much does your estate value or prestige matter?
     
  16. jimmyboy

    jimmyboy IncGamers Member

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    One alternative reasons that people pick choose to be professionals is stability. The last recession was 12 years ago, so most here may not remember what it was like. I'll try to describe the situation. It "sucked." Professionals are more insulated from recession shock than other employment.

    Another reason is that work is work. Work is stress. It sucks in general. So why would you want to be paid $15 an hour instead of $50+ an hour?

    And the last factor is the independence. Professionals can chose to open their own practice and work for themselves. Their services are generally in demand.
     
  17. LunarSolaris

    LunarSolaris IncGamers Member

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    I totally disagree with this sentiment. Work is work, yes... but work is not always stress. Some of us love doing what we do for a living - and IMVHO that is true freedom.

    As a social worker, I make very little money or prestige compared to other professions that require the same educational requirements. However, I make enough to have my needs met and have some extra, so I'm not complaining.

    Most importantly though, I love going to work... I love doing what I do. I chose this career for that reason. Yes, I could have made a LOT more money with an MBA instead of the MSW that I got, but I would have HATED my job in business and I don't feel that a fat paycheck would have compensanted for that in the end (I'm just talking about my own personal feeling here).

    ... and as much as I love my job and my career, it is definitely NOT my life. I resolved a long time ago that I would never allow my work to consume my life. Work to me is a means to and end. It's designed to help society function and for me to be a productive member in it, but there is WAY MORE to life than that... I live by a very simple philosophy when it comes to work:

    "work to live, but not live to work".

    At 45k per year I'm no where near 100k that some shoot for... but it's definitely sufficient for me.
     
  18. IDupedInMyPants

    IDupedInMyPants Banned

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    It's not really about animal instinct, nor is it about imagined old-fashioned family values that only exist if you look back over history with blinders and beer goggles on, loathing yourself and cursing fate for not being born in a time in which things were justifiably seen in black and white even while you fail to realize that things weren't at all seen in black and white.

    It's a very simple matter of economics. Capitalist economies cannot function without at least some degree of acquisitiveness among economic participants. The extension of that fact is the concept that higher degrees of acquisitiveness produce higher degrees of functionality, and therefore acquisitiveness is promoted as a virtue every chance we get. Acquisitiveness might be human or American or whatever nature to a certain extent, but it's pushed heavily in the interest of economic survivability.
     
  19. bigD72

    bigD72 IncGamers Member

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    I don't care what kind of money I make so long as its enough to sustain me and my potential family.

    If I have the ability to follow my plans I will probably end up doing alot of school for Aerospace Engineering. I want to go to Georgia Tech for UnderGrad and then make it out to Cal Tech for Grad.

    Recently though, I've been considering a Physics and Philosophy Double Major.
     
  20. ScanMan

    ScanMan IncGamers Member

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    :)

    Auto mechanic here...or should I say "Certified Master Automotive Technician".

    The pay is better than most would think, every day presents a new challenge, and the opportunities for "side work" are endless.

    Besides, there's just something truly satisfying about turning wrenches, working with electronic test equipment and fixing machines.
     

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