"Until this century [20th], to consume was considered a bad thing" says Jeremy Rifkin an
expert on affluenza ( Gross ). The victims of affluenza are consumers who work long
hours at a job they hate so they can buy things which they don 't need ( Fight Club ). Like
AIDS, affluenza has spread quickly throughout the United States showing no prejudice
of race, sex or color. However, unlike AIDS, affluenza is a compulsive addiction to
shopping, which can be cured by spending less time consuming and more time enjoying
As the majority of parents work longer hours then other parents did in the past to
support their families, children are left at home under the supervision of a television
set. The television set constantly teaches children how to be good consumers.
Advertisements which appear on television are designed to make children feel unloved
by their mothers and fathers if they don 't buy them the newest toy, or take them to
the most exciting amusement park. Before the age affluenza a child would be considered
fortunate if he or she had a bike to ride or a doll to play with. Today, children expect their
parents to buy them expensive toys because advertising companies give children the idea
that deserve it.
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As children grow into teenagers, they begin to consume more and more and refuse
to accept any boundaries on material or physical things ( Gabrels ). Through advertising,
Corporations dictate what type of clothing teens should wear, what type of music teens
should listen to, and how teens should act. The desire to buy products which are
advertised to them is so strong that some teenagers become depressed and disturbed
when they don 't have money to buy as many material possessions as their peers. Many
other teens sacrifice their education by getting a part-time so they can
Cited: Fight Club. Dir. David Fincher. Perf. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. 20th Century Fox, 1999. Gerlat, Allan. "A Bad Case Of ‘Affluenza '". Waste News 22 Sept. 1997: Electronic Source, Ebscohost 28 June 2000.