Squaring Accounts with our Parents

Nature Writer Ernest Thompson Seton had an odd bill presented to him on his twenty-first birthday. It was a record kept by his father of all the expenses connected with young Ernest's childhood and youth, including the fee charged by the doctor for delivering him. Even more oddly, Ernest is said to have paid it. I used to think that Mr. Seton Senior was a jerk, but now I'm wondering. Margaret Atwood, 'Payback'
Most of us wouldn't wonder much. Such behaviour seems monstrous, inhuman. Certainly Seton found it so: he paid the bill, but never spoke to his father again afterward. And in a way, this is precisely why the presentation of such a bill seems so outrageous. Squaring accounts means that the two parties have the ability to walk away from each other. By presenting it, his father suggested he'd just as soon have nothing further to do with him. David Graeber, Debt, p.92

討論逐字稿 Do friendship and money mix?

On friday we discussed, "Do Friendship and Money Mix?"

To start off the discussion we used the following situation: A friend drives you to Taoyuan Airport from Taipei. Is it cool or not cool to pay her or him 500NT for helping you out?

Reasons for paying 500 to a friend to take you to the airport:
Because you're not taking the friend for granted (they're not being used by you)
You may not have another chance to repay them. So giving it to them now is a good idea.
Because you've paid the friend, you keep this favor in mind.
Not feel guilty. Because you're causing them trouble to take you there.
Simplest way to pay them back.

Reasons against paying 500 to friend to take you to the airport:
This behavior will debase the friendship because we are good friends, we don't need to talk about money when helping each other.
Your friend will feel embarrassed to take the money because it puts a price on the help they give you.
We often pay money to buy something or some product or services, so it's like like you are superior to your friend, you hire them to do something for you. It creates a power imbalance. Some people will feel angry about that.
The friendship would become an obligation. I could just pay someone, and not care about their feelings, but as your friend, I care about your feelings. So paying you means I stop needing to care about your feelings.

Do friendship and money mix?

What's the difference between a friendship, or any human relationship, and an economic relationship? (for the transcript of this discussion, go here.)

In our discussion of Emotional Labor, from February, we talked about the intersection between emotional relationships and economic relationships, and it seemed that everyone drew a line at some point between a friendship and an economic relationship. Different people placed that line in different places, but there was always a line. So today I want to discuss a possible reason for why this line exists. I also wonder if the rationale for the line is the same, even if the conclusions about where exactly to draw it are different.

Let's use an example brought up during the emotional labor discussion. One person said that they wished that they could ask a friend to take them to the airport and just pay them 500NT instead of owing them a favor.

404: Relationship Error



"The 404 page is that. It's that broken experience on the Web. It's effectively the default page when you ask a website for something and it can't find it. .... It's inherently a feeling of being broken when you go through it. And I just want you to think a little bit about, remember for yourself, it's annoying when you hit this thing. Because it's the feeling of a broken relationship."