Taipei Discussion Transcript: Culture of the Market, part II

Participants: Lynn Maggie Mary Fanny Willie Angela

See: The Culture of the Market

So, this question is true for me.

What do you mean?

Yes, the culture of the market does break our relationships.

You have to say why.

Because the market promotes competition to everyone’s life. The market, you know there’s good parts, and bad parts, lots of positive and negative parts. It’s made people think about, I have to do this to be superior. To be equipped to something or whatever.

What do you mean?

Having something or wearing something, makes you superior or inferior, although they are just defined by others, by society actually, which is not naturally right or wrong. I mean, just, there a lot of stuff which doesn’t naturally belong to the right side or wrong side, just people gave them the definition. I think basically what people are fighting about is imaginary. That’s a kind or world or position which human create. Which doesn’t mean much if you look at it from different perspective.

I also think the culture of the market broke our relationship with one another. In this culture, money and time is the king. So people don’t want to waste too much time on maintain relationship. And culture of the market, people judge the value of things, or other people not by their contributions to the society, but by the price, or the price of those things and people. So I think this kind of culture have harm our relationship between others.

I agree with them.


That people are quite busy, so it’s hard for them to maintain relationship with others. And also, um, like, I think, this is one of the reason that broken our relationship with one another, but another reason is that people have a different idea about making friend with others, so they expect different kind of friendship. Like, if like, they got their stuff to do, and they don’t have time to hang out with you, and then you expect if they—maybe it’s different definition of relationship.
Like, or maybe for some people they think relationship is about spending time with them, or just satisfy their needs. But for some people, relationship is to understand the other people or something, they make friends not for satisfy their needs, they make friends in different ways, have different interactions.

What do you mean by—?

It depends on your values. Other people think if you have good interactions, you are good friends.

So there’s a difference between these two category ways? I mean, to satisfy a friends need and—?

I think maybe because the different expectations, so it also decide the relationship is successful or not.

For instance, Maggie want me to stay with her when she is down, but I think our friendship just on the basis of talking and—


—yes, and then she cannot find satisfaction with me, so it’s easy to broken between Maggie and me, something like that?


I also think that the culture of the market breaks our relationships. When we just care about money, and fortune, our relationship is so weak, and useless. I think it’s the truth, so thank you! Next!

I think the culture of the market really broken our relationship with one another. Actually, if you study marketing, you will find, in their theory, when they want to run a new product, they will segmentation.

What does that mean?

They will split the market in different groups, and they will set different prices for different groups. So once you do marketing and promotion, they will set top, middle and lower level, if you are not on the same level, people will think, you’re not our group. So it’s marketing, but it will influence people’s behavior and relationship. Also I think nowadays people are always in a rush, we don’t really have time to establish long-term relationships. So the relationship with one another has become very weak. So if we are influenced by the culture of the market, the linkage with each other will become weaker and weaker, so it really is bad for us.

Um, I think maybe I am the one who behave like the way Lynn mentioned. Because I often segment my friends into different kind of category.

Mm, me too.

Because we only have 24 hours, and I have to use my time more efficient. So I will divide my friends in to what kind of group. So this kind of group we can interaction, and we can take care of each other, and I will spend more time to maintain our relationship, and friends in big groups, we have the same kind of background, and we can share some kind of information about work, and investment, and other kind of friends we can go to movies, and go shopping together, but it’s hard for this kind of friends to share something deep. So this kind of friends I don’t spend that much to maintain our relationship. And the most distant group, is the people on the msn, you just use them for the purpose of jobs, or something to helping you earn more money, or to gain better opportunity of your future. And I think, that might be a kind of cultural market, or capitalism.

But sometimes I wonder, when you segment your friends, how would you really know he or she is only in category abc? If you ever try to understand the people, just wondering?

Like we make marketing, I will categorize them by their backgrounds and the reason we make friends. Then by the time I know them better I will change their groups.

You know, when I lived in New York, it was just like that. Everyone did it, and everyone knew everyone else was doing it. You have your dancing friends, your going out for a beer friends, the people you’d go to, to get some culture, like they knew the good art show, some who you’d invite to dinner parties. Sometimes you could tell when you’d just been upgraded or downgraded, or shifted categories. But you also had your ‘real friends’, the ones that were like your family, and they were like a rock solid category, the one that never really shifted.

So friendship is just like the stock?

You know, but when you’re using people for a category, then you’re not having real friends.

But you know, in those books, they say you should build up your contacts, sometimes, I think, that’s so bullshit, because they’re no way going to be your real friends. And so already, this is not human beings should be.

But I do this just want to save my time. When I was a student in college, this is a true story, I quarreled with my roommate, because we made a date to go to movies after an exam, but that day, one of my very best friends, also Maggie know her, have some problem with her family. She went cry very heavily. So I just cancel the date with my roommate suddenly. My roommate was very angry, and didn’t understand why I cancel the date just for the other friends. But for me, I set my priority that my best friend has a higher priority than my roommate.

That’s something like colleagues, you know what your colleagues and classmates can do, so its—

It’s more like a work relationship.

So basically, like those business friends, they’re all work relationship, not actually the relationship between friends Also, I do think that people who actually can give you a big hand, when you are in trouble in business and work, is those one who know you naturally, who you became friends with naturally, probably you know each other when you are in college, or in different companies, and you saw he or she is an excellent guy, and you know each other well, and know what he or she can do. Those kind of business relationship, is not the exchange of phone number, or you two have eaten together, it’s more like those who you really know, and those who can really help you. I don’t want to say that’s useless, but basically, some people just misunderstand the meaning of business friend. They think they know lots of people, but basically, it’s when you’re in trouble, no one will help you because they don’t know you very well.

But some friends, we maybe have lunch or dinner together, or maybe once every three months, or once every half year. And they are my former colleague, but I don’t think they are just my business friends. Because when I feel confused, or meet some big problem in the job now, they always give me some good suggestions. But why I divide them into a group may help me in the future, because I think, they cannot, like friends like Maggie, when I feel sad or want to cry, I can call them out and complain with them, but this kinds of friends, we also have relationship. But I weight them differerently. But actually there are also some kind of people are business friends. For instance, one of my friends, she worked in a brokerage, and because she was a broker, she had so many telephone friends, they always share information about the market on the phone. She thought at that time they could become friends, but after she quit that job, they are say bye-bye.

I don’t know, but I don’t see what’s wrong with that, because, well, I don’t know, we all grew up in capitalism, so it’s hard to see, but is that wrong, what do you think?

I think it’s still marketing think. You categorize your friends into different purpose or ways. I don’t know, I still think it’s influenced by marketing.

I think you’re right.

I cannot tell clearly, but we’re influence by marketing. Maybe you think the business relationship is not the real friend. But in the marketing, you can find lots of books that you have to establish your relationship for future fortune. So it becomes like when you make a friend, you automatically categorize people. But if this way of thinking wasn’t invented, people wouldn’t categorize others like that. For me, certainly, we will have different kinds of friends, or relationship with each other, but I don’t want that when you meet somebody for the first time, you think, this guy: useless, that guy: can be a good friend because they can help me. I don’t like this kind of judgment. Because if you never ever know this person, who knows, one day, he might help you a lot.

Yeah, I’m learning recently that maybe everyone has interesting stories and experiences. Because I know that people look at me, and the clothes I’m wearing that day, and the neighborhood I’m in, and they make guesses about me, but the can’t possibly have the whole story, because I’ve got so many facets. So, suddenly my consciousness has gotten wider, and—yeah, this should have occurred to me sooner, probably—but I’ve realized that the judgements I make about other people, well, they have the same problems. My girlfriend doesn’t seem to have this problem, she treat everyone around her as perfectly real. But she also doesn’t know how to network, and in a certain way, she can’t get things done she needs to, sometimes. You know, because information and opportunities, the good ones, come from knowing people, that’s still true. So, you know, I’m still not sure how to approach this whole thing.

For me, I have to make friends slowly, once I know people more, I might but them in a category.

But sometimes when you met somebody, just should be a friend, somebody, maybe you met him or her in a place or you maybe just sit down together and have a drink, and you talk, and then you found you can talk a lot of things with this person. Then you just want o know him or her more, and then you make friends with this person. I think, and sometimes, this kind of friends maybe know me better than some friends I met at school.

Yeah, I got your point, it’s kind of, you know sparkly. When you meet the right people, talk at the right time, interesting topic, you might have a spark.

Like my roommates in graduate school. She came from Kaohsiung, and I grew up in Taipei. We speak good Taiwanese and English, and can’t speak Chinese so well. We have different kind of characters, but we can talk things that maybe I can’t discuss with my best friends before. And she went back to Kaohsiung and work, and we seldom msn, and contact with email, but when we met in Taipei, we always can keep talking, and never want to say goodbye.


Yeah, so these kind of friends, I want to maintain this relationship forever. It’s a kind of spiritual friendship.

I have a friend like that in New York.

And she never know my life in Taipei, and I never know hers in Kaohsiung, and I don’t know her boyfriends family, but we can just keep talking, and interact.

So, like, how do we make non-marketing relationships?




Like, Lynn said, we use marketing and categorize people, how do we not do that?

Stick with the people you meet in kindergarten.

No, just like your family, that’s too limiting…..

But it’s just like, sometimes you have to make a choice, you have to categorize your friends, or whatever.

I don’t understand.

Is it from education, or from personality, that’s human nature to do?

Well I really think it’s like what Lynn said.

But it’s human nature, or our education, or our personality, or how we make choices?

Oh, I’m beginning to see what you’re saying.

I think the circumstance where you stay..

But I realize I behave this way when I was in college. One of my friends was so sad, because I put her in ‘b’ group, so she was so sad. But one day she told me like she began to behave this way. So maybe a part of personality, but the culture of the market celebrates the space of the broken relationship.

What do you mean she behave, like what? Like divide friends into different kind of group, and you maybe do this thing with this kind of friend, and spend more time with this kind of fired, and spend less time with this kind of friend?

But, like what when someone is really great to dance with , but really shit to talk with over tea. They’re not that much fun.

Like when I want to go to a music concert, I will invite Maggie or something, but for something else—.

I think its really hard to find non-marketing relationship.

Well, maybe one example of a non-marketing relationship, a friend of mine, whenever she needs help, people just step in all over the place to help her. And the reason is, she’s always offering her help to people. She sees that someone might need a hand and she steps in with whatever she can do. She just does it because she can, because she feels rich, and feels she has the time. But it’s really no-strings attached, she doesn’t expect anything back from you. But if she needs help, the people she’s helped just jump in and offer it, because they want to give something back. It’s like a gifting economy, instead of a marketing economy.



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