- Posted December 19, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
My income makes me feel …
My Income Makes Me feel wise...
Forum Question: In your opinion, what issue(s) deserve the immediate attention of anthropologists?
Issues in anthropology that need to be addressed immediately involve economic anthropology. It is a topic of interest that has never lost any momentum with me since the tender age of eight, in light of my view of exchange; and utilizing it as a mean of fueling both market and non-market systems; and it relates to the opinions and views of the masses; and how such systems supporting exchange practices affect directly; assumptions of the ideology of markets in the eyes of the masses. Africans in Egypt had systems of currency, understood the stars, had a solid monetary system as well as multi-geniuses but now people of African Descent are now seemingly unaware that their purchases in mass numbers of retail and other items build for others empires upon empires in modern day. This brings up entirely new questions as to who's money smart and who's not - post slavery. Were these people held back on purpose so that others could have a head start? I surely hope not.
In short, I believe there should be a critique of sorts if you will; of anthropological views via a thorough and widespread ethnographic test of our current views of money, markets, and exchange concepts. That's not to mention exchange technologies that are alternates when the mainstream is out of the picture.
Give some examples from your own work or experience.
An example from my own work experience... it isn't a recent happening yet definitely memorable. It was my first sales job, and I was a telemarketer when I was told I could set my own income. I was excited and I spent the first five days working in the day, and learning my products by night until I fell asleep; otherwise I'd have felt as if I were slacking. I mean after all, I was told I could set my own income so I set my goals realistically high!
My second week at work, I sold, and sold, and sold, and sold... Within a few days I was called into the small bosses office and asked if I'd be willing to teach/coach others. I declined and stated I was there to make $3000 a day and wouldn't be able to do so if I taught. I made it to $1,500 a day and was rising when I was visited by the big boss, then district and regional began to sit with me and jacked a 'Y' onto my headset jack so they could observe and hear. I never lied, was sincere but I listened to identify customer need. Then the referrals were not counted as mine. This is where the trouble began and I saw immediately it was a scam for me to make them more money than I made for myself; even after I was gone. But why could I possibly get fired? because I was worth more gone with all the customers I gained for them. Why pay me when all my clients were sending five people and plus to the company. Sounds crazy? It truly happened. And with the commissions people would never earn in bonuses because they spread out the money so thin among so many other sales reps, they made tons on those workers. So I told my clients in after hours call sessions while cleaning crew was in the building; to "Never give them the final order unless they agree to pay me my due commission." After I was fired, I asked if I had any commission due as they gave me a weeks leave to see if orders were still coming due to my strategic selling techniques they had trained the entire floor with. Yes, they stole my techniques, and taught everyone and I was out! This is possibly why most get so complacent, doing well may not seem to be encouraged unless you're willing to offer an unfair split with the boss. Why? Just because he's the boss. This is wrong. It's all in the numbers but I saw it coming and took every contract they had one by one and worked with a competitor- after I was officially gone.
The systems are simple to learn, but one must be realistic about their own goals, as well as that of the goals of others when money is involved; i use Facebook as an example- or the making thereof. I use a friend as an example who hired contractors but didn't listen to me on the hours of the front desk guy and is now in audit with the US Dept. of Labour and owes $24K to a worker in back wages (now considered an employee) after 4 years of his supposed loyalty.
My point is, my view of the processes were different from that of others and I'd always known even as a young girl how to make lots of money and fast. But the markets, this was like a playground for me- as well as for others and if in a better position than me with more leverage - then I was their prey in the market. There is only enough money to be transferred from one group, individual, or party at a time, and this is done by using the power of illusion and persuasion. I understood this yet the moment I was told that money doesn't grow on trees my good luck streak came to a screeching halt - because I stopped believing that money grew on trees. Everything from counting cards at a casino to understanding weather well enough to forecast such things as where oil is or will be at any given time; the markets are easy to figure out; if you have the right tools. So why are some cultures money stupid and others money wise?
My point is that markets are perceived as a way to generate more money and it is known by persons like myself that there never really is more money within circulation (not for common folk like me anyway). I knew instinctively that money and currency were two different things. Yet the markets and different concepts of them are perceived very differently as we cross from culture to culture.But without being money wise, they are still poor -in mind. So why the differences across cultures once figuring out how to get money?
What I believe is important to having the masses become more successful in obtaining currency, is to study why certain cultures see the markets, systems of exchange, money, and currency differently and how their thinking may be updated by mean of hands on. Learning is not only in theory and thus, I have always believed much like in the movie 'Trading Places'; that we are all born equally and no one man really has a better chance at becoming filthy rich than the next, outside of inheriting at birth or otherwise without having worked for it.
We might first need to assess what different cultures think and why? The reasons are the answers to how some can master economics, and others become victims of it; most often unknowingly as in the WalMart concept- capitalizing on the poor all across America and making millions and billions in investments and life insurance policies. Fee life insurance? There's no such thing.
Then, to test to see who knows what - honestly.
Then to flip the script and borne children of all different races and socio-economic backgrounds and expose them all to the same lifestyle, schools, foods, extracurricular activities and see what happens. There is a reason that one scientist wasn't allowed to conduct this experiment with babies because it would have proven my point; that there is too much politics in anthropology. This is why I like the hands off approach - too much bias and personal beliefs that may result in a people thinking they are in need of help by outsiders, when in the end they end up worse off.
Understanding the markets, exchange concepts, currency, money, and wealth are keys to truly understanding people economically. Such an anthropological feat would explain much on poverty, greed, and power. We might better understand ourselves, as humans. As well as why some gamblers may choose to simply give (with no sure system for winning) all they've earned right back- amazing.
There are many ethical issues anthropologists face and likely always will; bias and their own views of that of civilizations of old, religious beliefs, expectations, and more.
And to judge the future predicament of the human species, if we do not learn to get along we will likely begin to s