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

By Hung Cam Thai

Every yr migrants around the globe ship greater than $500 billion to relations of their domestic nations, and this stream of cash has vital own, cultural, and emotional implications for the immigrants and their kin alike. Insufficient Funds tells the tale of ways low-wage Vietnamese immigrants within the usa and their bad, non-migrant kin provide, obtain, and spend money.

Drawing on interviews and fieldwork with multiple hundred contributors of transnational households, Hung Cam Thai examines how and why immigrants, who principally earn low wages as hairdressers, cleaners, and different "invisible" staff, ship domestic a considerable component to their profits, in addition to spend lavishly on family in the course of go back journeys. Extending past mere altruism, this spending is prompted through complicated social duties and the need to achieve self worth regardless of their constrained monetary possibilities within the usa. while, such remittances bring up expectancies for criteria of dwelling, generating a cascade impact that monetizes family members relationships. Insufficient Funds powerfully illuminates those and different contradictions linked to funds and its new meanings in an more and more transnational world.

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Extra info for Insufficient Funds: The Culture of Money in Low-Wage Transnational Families

Sample text

We are healthy and we can work. We have never been dependent on anyone, and not on anyone living abroad. The only time my wife and I have been dependent on family was when we borrowed some money from her parents to buy the shop that we now own. 12 chapter 1 Unlike Lan, Son does not feel pressured to tell his neighbors and friends that he has family living abroad. This is because Son himself is economically selfsufficient. If anything, Son sometimes feels burdened when his nephew returns to Vietnam, because even if Dinh spends lavish amounts of money on them at frivolous places, Son says he has to return those favors by spending more than he wants on his nephew.

My wife and I have become very careful about how we plan to spend money when they are in town. Son is a frugal man who believes he has a good life in Vietnam as a small shop owner. He and his wife have tremendous freedom in their work lives. They live in urban Saigon, with plenty of attractive amenities around them; they have no debt, take regular vacations, live near relatives, and are able to afford to send their children to relatively good schools. By most local and global measures of quality of life, they have peaceful and privileged lifestyles.

M. At our first meeting, Truc is conspicuously curious about life in America. She shoots a barrage of questions: “You know Quang lives in Atlanta. Are you far from him? Will you visit him in Atlanta? Do you know where he works? Is it a good job? ” Truc is also direct, like many local Vietnamese, about the topic of money: “How much money do you make it America? Is it easy to get a job there? ” It does not take long to figure out that Truc has limited knowledge of her brother’s economic life in Atlanta, or of life in the United States generally.

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