marx

CULTURAL CAPITAL.

Reaction paper sa video ni Leloy Claudio.,

Capital, a Frenchman once observed, is not just about money. The intangible too can be a subject of accumulation. It shows in the accolades we earn, the languages and accents that we speak as well as our conduct and habits. Those who grew up wealthy have a set of behaviors and outlooks markedly distinct from those who grew up poor. Culture is not so different from the clothes we wear, the phones we use and the vehicles we ride. They are both by-products of personal hard-work, hereditary wealth or social connections. Social symbols of the good life.

As human beings we have a tendency to correlate marks of high cultural capital, that is, good breeding with material wealth. Often this is true though not always so. An exception would be the noveaux riche who did not inherit riches but rose above their stations. Regardless of how one earns wealth, what cannot be denied is that the rich, well-connected and well-educated are better treated than those who are not. The Philippines after all is an unequal and elitist society.The treatment a person receives corresponds to his standing in life: the driver is often starved waiting for the amo; the maid is served the yaya meal with matching outfit; and the haciendero is served hand and foot by his tenants. These inequities pervade in everyday life, withour peers, our justice system, the police, and everywhere where men are supposed to be treated equally before the Law and God. This treatment based upon rank is so ingrained into our psyche that it operates without second though – not at all different from India’s feudal caste. Is it any wonder the accumulation of cultural capital is as much a pursuit of social climbers as the pursuit of beautiful white skin?

Which explains painfully the Filipino obsession with titles. Our titles and badges of honor are as much a matter of practicality as they are also about feeding the ego. Success favors the prepared ika nga.The better titles you have the better chances of not getting screwed over and making people do what you need.Which is why we Filipinos love to attach all sort of suffixes to our last names. Every Juan, Dick and Harry who manages to pass a board exam is entitled to add LLB, CPA, COL., MBA, MNSA, MBE, MPA, LPT (Licensed Physical Therapist?) or whatever suffix the PRC manages to come up next.

It’s not just about pride or honors. It’s a signal to the rest of the world that you are a man of position, sufficient wealth and rank. Neither to be trifled with nor dismissed out of hand.

Sure, waving money (or a gun) around could have the same effect but those with high cultural capital know that is a poor man’s way of doing business.

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