means, work, education

banking, corporations, google

buy, power, work

consumerism, America, capitalism,

dollars, bank, bills

elite, powerful, successful

food, travel, worries

green, bills, wealth

green, currency, exchange

important, influential, can cause bad character

luxury, important, salary

materialism, inflation, economy

necessary, work, greed

necessity, power, balance

power, greed, means

power, rich vs poor, shopping

Power, Utility, Potential

power, wealth, rich

scarce, necessary, desirable

sustenance, transactions, luxury

Useful, Goal, Work

work, things, superficiality

capitalisme, travail, précarité

Cher, Salaire, Riche, Matérialiste

en liquide, métal

Envie, bonheur, malheur,

euro, or, billet

gloire, richesse, solitude, oportunité

important, avoir, attention, égalité

matériel, aide, investissement

monnaie, billet, or

or, bijoux, billets, euros

or, euro, billets

pouvoir, billet, couleur

Pouvoir, difficulté, opportunité

pouvoir, niveau de vie, vice

pouvoir, pouvoir d'achat, problèmes, injustice

riche, or, la banque

sécurité, plaisir, salaire

solitudes, superficiel, malheur, manque de liberté

travail, échange,bourse

vie, dépense, gain


It seems that there are many mixed feelings about money. While both American and French responses talk about currency, work, and dollars/euros, the French have more positive responses than the Americans. There seems to be a kind of glamour to money and it is viewed as a path of opportunity and even equality (which I thought was an interesting word to put). The Americans wrote more negative connotations, perhaps because in America I think in this economy the wealthy people and corporations are seen as greedy and evil. But why has the economy not had the same effect in France?

In the general American society, money and the wealth it brings is a goal and sign of prestige.  It is the main signifier of success.  People of both countries seemed to associate money with power, which I found very interesting.  I always assumed that not all countries had a large attachment to money, so I would be interested to see if the French have a similar obsession with money that much of America exhibits.

Je trouve justement que les réponses françaises posent un vrai paradoxe sur l'argent. A chaque fois qu'il y a un mot positif, son contraire le suit. Je pense que cela est du au contexte de crise que nous subissons actuellement, dans lequel l'argent est controversé puisqu'il y a tout de même beaucoup d'injustices. L'economie favorise les plus riches tandis que ceux qui gagnent moins d'argent ne peuvent même pas en profiter puisqu'ils doivent en donner une bonne partie aux impôts et ont de plus en plus de mal à assumer un train de vie auquel ils avaient l'habitude. La vie est de plus en plus chère et il faut de plus en plus faire des concessions quand on dépense de l'argent.

D'un autre côté, on peut lire que l'argent fait penser au pouvoir, au luxe, au matérialisme. et qu'il provoque l'avarice. L'argent mène-t-il au bonheur dans ces conditions?


Anne-Gaëlle, you're right - money does not always bring happiness along with wealth, power, and material things. If it does, then the happiness often does not last. It's interesting to note that nobody on the American side listed happiness as an answer! "The Great Gatsby" is a really nice book that illustrates this. There is also a movie adaptation coming out soon!

Like Amanda, I agree that there are more positive connotations to the words used by the students at Lyon, whereas we as Americans tended to have more of a negative association with money ("materialism", "superficiality").  At the same time, I will disagree with Amanda's opinion that "there seems to be a kind of glamour to money" from the French side.  I believe that by using the words "égalité", "niveau de vie", and "oportunité" the French are suggesting that the acquisition of money by those who need it can lead to social equality and can serve as an opportunity to a better life.

I find Anne-Gaëlle's response with respect to how the economy favors the richest closely parallels many Americans' perception that the "top 1% hold 40% of the wealth".  I like how many of the American responses highlight the reality of the economy ("necessity","sustenance", "worries","rich vs poor"). 

As everyone has listed, the American side seems to closely associate money with happiness, success, and opportunity. I wonder what was the origin of this notion and why it developed particularly in the United States.  


In response to Anne-Gaëlle's question, I think that people are convinced that money will bring them happiness, but once they achieve it, they find that it is actually an empty and unfulfilling feeling.  


Also I am very excited about the upcoming Great Gatsby movie!

I find Anne-Gaëlle's observations interesting - the contrast evident in the French associations. And Tayo points out that no Americans listed 'happiness' - all the answers seemed to put money in light of a necessary thing that is maybe good for your success but not personally. So I definitely think that people are convinced that money does not bring happiness, or that power and success in relation to money necessarily equate to happiness. 

I agree with Zac- people often think that money will make them happy, and it never does. However, there are some benefits to being wealthy- such as comfort and more freedom to do as you please.


I think I associate money with negative things because of all of the unjust and unfair things that I see rich and powerful people doing in America on a daily basis. This is why I registered to vote on my way to class today! :)

I agree with many things that were said here. I do agree that money along cannot make you happy. However, I would like to add that I see no reason why having money and being happy can't coexist. It's not money that's evil, it's the lust for money. I agree that money is associated with negative things, because many of the rich people show a real lust for money and forget about the other things in live (though there are naturally exceptions).

Is the reason for the somewhat more positive french view on money that in France people don't see this kind of abuse and lust for wealth?

I find it interesting that in the french side the word color came up. The Euro does come in multiple colors. Whereas in the US, dollars are all green. I think this is why the word green is in multiple occassions associated with money, power, and sometimes even envy ("green with envy"). 

I think when we read the word "money," we're imagining mega-rich people with private jets and multiple homes. I agree that the image of the super-wealthy brings to mind the ideas of greed, corruption, materialism, etc. But depending on who you ask, their answer could have been "opportunity," "security," "paying for college," etc. I think this is another word that depends highly on context and on whom you ask. As college students, we're all poised for wonderful lives of good job prospects, stable careers, and high starting salaries, but we should remember that this is definitely not true for everyone in the US, or in France for that matter!