Affluenza in American Society

Pages: 6 (1728 words) Published: June 10, 2007

The basic purpose of this essay is to evaluate a common disorder of our society that is infecting people throughout World and particularly in the U.S. This disorder is called "Affluenza" it is very catching and once polluted with the disease it is difficult to be overthrown.

"Affluenza" is characterized as an unhealthful connection with money, blown up hopes and tiresome efforts to keep up with the Joneses. "Affluenza" creates anxiety, bankruptcy, and becomes the reason of several problems in associations. Even though, there are some people who have unlike definitions for "Affluenza". Many people find "Affluenza" to be a rich man's mental sickness and have responded by suggesting that the world has bigger problems without have to feel sorry for the wealthy.

John de Graaf, an award-winning documentary producer for over two decades did a documentary on America's custom of over-consumption in late 1990s. He defines "Affluenza is a painful, contagious, socially-transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more," (De Graff, J. & Wann, D ) Affluenza in The U.S. and Its Cure

The authors, De Graff and Wann did their best to prove to the readers in their book, "Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic" that The "American society is affected by Affluenza", and then they talk about what they think should be done to take care of the disease.

"Affluenza" enforces one to re-examine his/her way of life. It forces to think about what is most important: relations with friends and relatives, emotion like life has significance, and time to do the things. De Graff suggests to think twice before spending money. The book also reinforces the need to help the surroundings and atmosphere: recycling more, trying harder to buy environmentally friendly goods, and using less paper. The book certainly has made its contribution towards finding a solution to the nationwide problem of over-consumption.[Richins, M.L].

To support De Graff's statement, I would argue that "Affluenza" can be cured and maybe prohibited. In analyzing "Affluenza" I hope to shed insight those possibilities.

Facts and Figures:
This is a disease that is affecting the U.S. at a shocking velocity. It is very infectious and growing at terrifying rates.

"Luxury spending in the United States has been growing more than four times as fast as overall spending, and the rest of the West is not far behind. And this spending is being done by younger and younger consumers. Take a walk up Fifth Avenue in New York; at 8th, cross over and continue up Madison. You'll see what I mean about who is swarming through these stores. One of the most startling aspects of seeing the refugees streaming from Kosovo was the number of adolescents dressed in Adidas, Nike, and Tommy Hilfiger clothing. Others may pass judgment on this phenomenon, many may be horrified by the waste and redundancy, but it is why so many of us all over the world are becoming part of what, for lack of a better phrase, is a mass class of upscale consumption. We understand each other not by sharing religion, politics, or ideas. We share branded things. We speak the Esperanto of advertising, luxe populi. Who knows? Perhaps we enter the global village by having dessert". (Twitchell, 2002: xiv–xv)

"Affluenza" causes hardship in all types of relationships especially families. In looking at "Affluenza" as a disease and how contagious it is one wouldn't want his or her family to catch it. But, sadly enough many families get "Affluenza" and it consumes them and the final product is surely not The Waltons.

Interestingly, "Affluenza" that is directly interlinked with over-consumption doesn't give full satisfaction to the consumer but enhances his/her troubles. "Recent research has revealed that Australians, despite having more money, faster cars, luxury holidays and, increasingly, enormous houses, are no happier than in 1950, when most families were...

References: 1. Amanda Hampson, "Just Another Distraction":
2. Baskerville Communications Corporation (1997) TV International Sourcebook 1997. Torrance, CA: Baskerville Communications Corporation.
3. Blenkhorn and N. Wright (1998) ‘Does Television Viewing Play a Role in the Perception of Quality of Life? ', Journal of Advertising 27(1): 125–42.
4. David Korten (1995) "When Corporations Rule the World"
5. De Graff, J., Wann, D., and Naylor, T., Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic, Berrett Kohler Publishers, Inc., 2001.
6. Kirsch, T. (2004) ‘IP Germany. The Small Screen with the Big Impact: TV Viewing Time on the Increase '; at: (accessed 05 November 2006).
7. Richins, M.L. (1987) ‘Media Materialism and Human Happiness ', pp. 352–6 in Melanie Wallendorf and Paul Anderson (eds) Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 14. Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Consumer Research.
8. STWD, Shop 'til We Drop , 1997, Oxford University Press
9. Twitchell, J.B. (1999) Lead Us into Temptation: The Triumph of American Materialism. New York: Columbia University Press.
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