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Why Not Wealth?

February 07, 1988

Why is it that only the working class and their children have moral or ethical values? That's the implied conclusion of "Tweeners" (by Nikki Finke, Jan. 24).

Must one come from humble, low-rent roots to learn "all-American" values? Remember the nouveau riche--the folks from humble, low-rent roots who made a lot of money, spent it conspicuously, and were called shallow and shamelessly acquisitive?

Has it occurred to no sociologist-demographer that the reason children of affluent parents do well is because they have learned, through example, the value of a good education, a good job, living within one's means, and not spending to excess? Why are these values negated because one is the third or fourth generation to go to a private college, not the first?

It seems that yuppie has taken on the derogatory connotation of another generation's nouveau riche. The difference is that members of the affluent upper-middle class are now the bad guys. Witness George Bush's and Robert Dole's mad scrambles to downplay and deny their privileged pasts. The "American Way" is achievement, regardless of one's roots.

CYNTHIA A. SMITH

Los Angeles

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