Insufficient Funds: The Culture of Money in Low-Wage by Hung Cam Thai

By Hung Cam Thai

Every 12 months migrants around the globe ship greater than $500 billion to kinfolk of their domestic international locations, and this circulate of cash has vital own, cultural, and emotional implications for the immigrants and their kinfolk alike. Insufficient Funds tells the tale of ways low-wage Vietnamese immigrants within the usa and their terrible, non-migrant relations provide, obtain, and spend money.

Drawing on interviews and fieldwork with a couple of hundred individuals of transnational households, Hung Cam Thai examines how and why immigrants, who mostly earn low wages as hairdressers, cleaners, and different "invisible" employees, ship domestic a considerable part of their profits, in addition to spend lavishly on family members in the course of go back journeys. Extending past mere altruism, this spending is inspired through advanced social responsibilities and the need to achieve self esteem regardless of their constrained fiscal possibilities within the usa. whilst, such remittances increase expectancies for criteria of residing, generating a cascade influence that monetizes relations relationships. Insufficient Funds powerfully illuminates those and different contradictions linked to cash and its new meanings in an more and more transnational world.

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He does have responsibilities with his family in New York, but he has done his duty as a son and an older brother for his family in Vietnam. Even after he got married eight years ago, he continued to help us, to send us money regularly. It has never been a question or a problem for him to help us. Although non-migrant communities differ with respect to the intricate ways individuals interpret how their migrant relatives express care and affection for one another, the expectation that migrant relatives will financially support family in the homeland is not specific to Vietnamese transnational families.

When Linh describes how her Orange County–based cousin Gloria “takes good care” of those left behind, her comments are typical of those given by non-migrant respondents. “She sends us money whenever we need it and she always makes sure to ask if we need money for anything. With her, I do not ever need to ask for money,” Linh explains. “She knows that I do not make a lot of money as a teacher here. I make in a month what she makes in a day as a nail salon worker in Orange County. ” In elaborating on the importance of maintaining tacit codes of familial obligations, Linh says: You know, it is not easy for us to ask for money.

Respondents were generally up-front about the circulation of money in family life. This is reflected in their everyday public and private discussions of money, which show no evidence of problems with disclosing money matters, such as how much one makes, how much one owes, and how much one gives to or receives from family members. The novelty of the relatively large flows of capital and commodities engenders a certain kind of curiosity that frequently makes discussions about money a matter of leisure and entertainment.

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