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One thing Americans find hard to talk about One thing Americans ameircan hard to talk about no Close An American psychologist who specialises in conflict resolution around the world is now turning her attention to race in the US.

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We went along to one of Dr Paula Green's sessions in Massachusetts to find out what this means. Read: Ask your tto colleagues what they earn Other societies provide examples of how financial value need not be equated with personal value. Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, a development-sociology professor at Cornell University, told me that when income or wealth is invoked as a status symbol, it can spark a competition with others that will be unpleasant for all involved.

Read: Rich people rarely tell their kids how much money they make Among middle-class Americans, the ban on talking about money is instead often brought on by financial precarity. Money also becomes more openly discussed under particular household circumstances, as Viviana Zelizer, a sociologist at Princeton, pointed out to me.

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Before this period of industrialization, Cook said, workers had less of an expectation that their pay would reflect their talents and abilities, because they were well aware of the leverage their employers had in setting wages; but in the 20th century, as those economic ideas took hold, wages became something that workers might deduce their own worth from. Other countries might have high levels of inequality too, she noted, but perhaps weaker democratic ideals and less faith in meritocracy.

She told me that to the families she spoke with, being middle class meant not being financially reliant on family, friends, or the government. The time-related taboos that Jones described have likely been around for a while, but the particular taboos around talking about money in present-day America are probably about a century and a half old, according to Eli Cook, a history professor at the University of Haifa and the author of The Pricing of Progress: Economic Indicators and the Capitalization of American Life.

For more stories go to bbc. The idea is that the have-nots fight to claim some resources for themselves while the haves fight to defend what they own, whether violently or more subtly. Because I think that is hod.

She cited Vietnam as an example of one such society where people tend to talk more directly about money. In fact, money taboos vary a lot based on class. Other researchers I consulted americab different, but no less compelling, theories as to why direct discussions of money can produce social tension in any society.

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They do this with everything—why not salaries? It also has to do with the fact that some people depend on remittances from relatives abroad, ameeican discussions of financial specifics naturally feature in family life. Cook told me that in Israel, some people openly discuss salary information.

But if the time tqlk of that small purchase were extended—if that friend were trying to save aggressively to buy a house in five years, and wanted to avoid expensive lunches—the money spent would become more loaded with meaning, and possibly shame. Thus, taboos around money—among haves and have-nots alike—exert a sort of stabilizing force, blurring how much people actually have and giving them one fewer reason to be upset with their place in society.

But worldwide, a sensitivity to money, and to the ificance of having ameridan lot of it, is on some level inescapable—monitoring and modulating the financial als one sends seem to be nearly universal impulses. The outcome is similar for public workers, whose pay is often standardized, and determined by clearly defined criteria.

But I also think we are kind of constantly talking about money. One thing Americans find hard to talk about One thing Americans find hard to talk about no Close An American psychologist who specialises in conflict resolution around america world is now turning her attention to race in the US.