Examples of 'Hidden Rules' Among Classes

Sep 1, 2010
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September coverFood

Poverty: “Did you have enough?” Quantity important.
Middle class: “Did you like it?” Quality important.
Wealth: “Was it presented well?” Presentation important.


Poverty: Present most important. Decisions made spur of the moment based on survival.
Middle class: Future important. Decisions made against future ramifications.
Wealth: Past important. Decisions made based upon tradition and decorum.


Poverty: To be spent, used.
Middle class: To be saved.
Wealth: To be invested.


Poverty: Revered as an abstract, but not a reality.
Middle class: Crucial for climbing success ladder and making money.
Wealth: Necessary tradition for making and maintaining social and political connections.

Driving Forces

Poverty: Survival, relationships and entertainment to dull pain.
Middle class: Work and achievement.
Wealth: Financial, political and social connections.

Source: Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities (aha! Process Inc., 2001) by Ruby K. Payne, Philip E. DeVol and Terie Dreussi Smith.

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