• access, savings
  • car, house
  • career, materialism, consumerism
  • corrupt, power, material
  • currency, income
  • green
  • green, goods, wealth
  • green, wealthy
  • Important, hard-work, necessary
  • Pink Floyd, power
  • Power, Influence, Greed, Wall Street
  • power, status, stuff
  • Rich, Hard-earned, 1-percent
  • Rich, Means
  • rich, paper, wealth
  • rich, unequal
  • Security, Freedom
  • success, job, happiness
  • time, overemphasized
  • Useful, Inequality, Wall Street
  • wealth, security, satisfaction
  • Work, Sweat, Pride
  • Avare, besoin
  • Bill Gates,mal réparti, conflit
  • Démon
  • dépenses, riches
  • Euro, Capacité, nécessité
  • Facile, Futile, Sans Valeur
  • Finance, banques, pouvoir
  • Gain, Économie
  • matériel, cadeaux
  • Nécessaire, Corruption
  • Nécessaire, Manipulateur, Aveuglant
  • Pourri, confort
  • pouvoir, banque, prêt
  • pouvoir, responsabilité, banque
  • Réussite, obligatoire, dépense
  • travail, bonheur, aisance
  • travail, or
  • vie, achats
  • voyage, voiture


I think for a lot of Americans, the existence of Wall Street causes them to subconsciously think of money relative to Wall Street and similar institutions. For the French, I am not sure if there is a similar institution in France, though the responses on both sides are pretty similar.

It seems like money has more symbolic meaning to Americans, whereas to the French money is just what it is: a means for getting what you need in life. In America, the idea of mobility in career is connected to success, and this success can only be measured by the pay raises you’re getting. In France, there’s less income inequality so people are less likely to quantify success in terms of money.

Question: Is there an etiquette for discussing money in France? Is it a taboo topic?

The French students seem to think of money in a much more negative fashion than the American students. They use words like “avare,” “aveuglant,” and even “démon.” The Americans don’t necessarily seem to think that money is “evil” in itself, but they do make many more references to inequality and Wall Street (the “1 percent”).

We learned in class that in France, there isn’t nearly as much salary disparity as there is in the US. Unlike in the US, French people can’t really earn astronomically high salaries. This fact may explain the American focus on inequality.

We also learned that people in France have a much more complicated relationship with money - they think that people focus too much on it, and that family and relationships should really be the central point of life.

My question for the French students would be: Truly, why do you think money is so corrupting/evil? Do you think that money really isn’t that important, that people should just aim for having enough money to have a comfortable life?

I feel both sides have a similar foundation when it comes to money but have different execution. In the sense that both countries see it as a necessary evil. Where the Americans still see it as something to strive for wealth and happiness, the French see it more as an unnecessary evil that they unfortunately must deal with. Even though both sides see money as evil, Americans see it as an aspect to attain happiness where the french just see it as a factor of getting through life.

What is the culture with regards to money? America is a very consumer based lifestyle that everything emphasizes spending, is french culture/media similar?

In general, the American students view money with a far more positive attitude than the French. There are more positive words like “success” and “wealth” used on the America aisle. On the French aisle, negative words about money occur more frequently.

Many of the American responses to the word are things that can be acquired with money such as “cars” “houses” and “material” whereas French responses to the word “argent” include many negative associations - “avare”, “mal reparti”, “conflit”, “corruption” etc. Word association exercises elicit responses which are enriched for things we are commonly told are related. Are people in France cautioned from a young age about the dangers of money? In America, young children are often told myths or fables that have morals such as “slow and steady wins the race” or “don’t play with fire or you’ll get burnt.” Are French children told similar children’s stories that have morals that caution against the dangers or problems with money?

Une réponse Américaine, a attiré mon attention concernant “Argent”.
Comment peut-on lier l’argent à la sécurité ?

Contrairement au Américain, les Français semblent en effet avoir une vision plus négative de l’argent mais je ne pense pas que notre vision soit très éloignée de la vôtre.
En effet, tout le monde accorde une certaine importance à l’argent, mais en parler semble être un jugé tabou en France. Par exemple, les Français ne parlent pas trop de leur salaire.
Mon avis personnel sur le sujet, est qu’il existe une certaine jalousie quant aux personnes qui gagnent beaucoup d’argent. De se fait, chacun cherche à ne pas attirer l’attention des autres sur le salaire qu’il touche.
Questions : Existe-t-il un comportement similaire aux États-Unis vis-à-vis de l’argent ?
Étant donné que les étudiants américains semblent avoir une vision totalement positive de l’argent et que certains, on même utiliser les mots “happiness”, “Security” et “Freedom”, je me demandais donc si vous considérez l’argent, comme étant indispensable ? Quelles importances l’argent a-t-il pour vous ?

chaf.madkour: I think that was intended when linking money to security it’s due to financial stability that having money encompasses. Like, if one’s is pretty well off financially, one will be safe since one will be able to afford a house, food, support a family, etc. So, I think that’s why I think one could have thought that security is tied to money.

I also think it’s interesting how much we Americans associate money with power. Interestingly enough, the French seem to associate the elite with power, whereas for American society, anyone with money, whether part of an elite class/society, can have access to power.

Sophieg: Les français pensent aussi que l’argent et le pouvoir sont intimements liés. Toutefois je pense que l’élite Française n’est peut être pas aussi riche que l’élite Américaine. Il y a beaucoup plus de lobbying aux USA qu’en France, parce exemple.

En France, il existe certaines lois pour réduire le lien entre l’argent et la politique. Je pense plus particulièrement aux loi sur le budget des candidats lors de l’élection présidentielle française. En France chaque candidat a droit à en moyenne 22 millions d’euros maximum. On est très loin des centaines de millions dépensés lors des élections américaines.

Yes, indeed that is a very different political system from the American one, where those who can finance their campaigns the most generally are rewarded proportionally.

This relationship between money and campaigning power is definitely an issue in the US. I do hope that one day legislation will change how much money influences the campaign.

There is also a culture in the US of expecting philanthropic donations from the wealth, which usually comes with strings attached. For example, a family that donates to a university expects to have some influential say in what directions the university goes. I’ve been told this expectation of philanthropy does not exist in Europe as much as the US. Would you guys agree?

acheknoun: You said that there is sometimes jealousy that arises when one person earns a lot more money than another. In class, we learned that one of the reasons that there is much less of an economic divide in France is because of the value that the French place on equality. Do you think that people are more opposed to inequity in earnings because of an inherent belief in the value of equality, or because people don’t think it’s fair for if other people are earning significantly more money than they themselves are?

How much do you think “liberty, equality, fraternity” actually affects people’s actions and beliefs in France? In my opinion, in the US people like to think that they believe in the ideals our country was founded on such as “we hold it to be self evident that all men are created equal” (declaration of independence) but in practice people don’t actually believe these things. There is still pervasive sexism and racism in the country, not to mention fear and hatred towards Muslims. Women didn’t earn the right to vote until over a hundred years after the declaration of independence, and racial segregation existed here up through the 1960’s. Even though America likes to think of itself as “the melting pot” and we have a Statue of Liberty and the famous lines “Give me your tired, your poor,/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” every time a new group of immigrants tries to arrive they experience extreme xenophobia. To what extent do you think France lives up to the values it claims to promote?

@Jessica, en ce qui concerne “fear and hatred towards Muslims”, est ce que tu peux me donner les causes de ça? Et est ce que vous pensez vraiment que les terroristes sont des vrais musulmans et représentent l’Islam ??

Jessica: interesting question alright

@hanine: There are many, many ignorant Americans (and people around the world, this isn’t just a purely-American problem/situation) who are Islamophobic and believe that Muslims are all terrorists because of some extremist groups that exist in the world. This is something that happens when the only types of Muslims you hear about in the news are terrorists and you’re not exposed to Muslims in your real life.

Stereotypes such as these are pervasive in society, and harmful, and causes ridiculous amounts of racial profiling. It’s important to note that similar situations also happen to basically anyone who is not white (for example, harmful stereotypes against Mexicans/Latinos/Hispanics, which Donald Trump has recently and unfortunately been quite vocal about). The problem with harmful stereotypes is that they can’t really be defeated unless the person with the stereotypes (let’s call this person A) is exposed to other kinds of people that they have stereotypes against (let’s call this person B), and if B exhibits traits that fall into the stereotypes that A have, the stereotypes are reinforced. When A has stereotypes about Muslims (“they’re all terrorists”) and then continuously sees things in the news reinforcing that idea (9/11, ISIS) without meeting real Muslims in real life… you can see where I’m going.

It’s quite ironic because there are also extremist groups that are white / Christian (such as the KKK, the Westboro Baptist Church, and more) but to many, they are considered “abnormal”, claiming that “not all white people / Christians are like that” (because, of course, in America and lots of western countries, you see lots of nice, normal white people).

@herao13, ce que tu viens de dire est tout à fait logique. Cependant, je considère que ceux qui se contentent de ce qu’ils voient à l’écran, ne veulent pas connaître la vérité. Car, personnellement je pense que quand il s’agit d’une grande religion comme l’Islam, la théorie des “stereotypes” n’est pas suffisante, il faut creuser le plus profondément possible pour pouvoir distinguer le mensonge de la vérité.

Only the American place importance on money and material objects in terms of success. The French place importance on the personal aspects of success and personal growth. But everyone accepts that education is important.
We associate success with our careers. When we are happy, we are in a good professional situation and are financially stable.
Are material objects important in France? Are people who are poor in France still happy?

It appears that both cultures have similar ideas as to what constitutes success: they both place emphasis on working hard to achieve a goal, particularly one of an academic nature, and the resultant happiness. However, American culture also seems to connect success to money.

The French do not find money to be as important as Americans do. This is likely due to the difference in economic and public welfare systems. For example, with regards to healthcare, Americans must pay private companies for health insurance whereas in France (and most of Europe), healthcare is paid for in large part by the government and taxes. This leads to an increased accessibility to healthcare in France, even for the poor, while the system in the U. S. can be a great burden on America’s poor. Such a difference could explain why money seems more vital to Americans than it does to the French.

What is the public welfare system like in France? Does it allow for a more equal standard of living amongst the people regardless of economic status?