Book: Affluenza – an all consuming epidemic
Affluenza – an all consuming epidemic.
John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas Naylor. Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc
This is an easy and entertaining read with short chapters and illustrations.
A telling picture on the inside front page has an American family and an Indian family , each on their front drive with all their possessions. A few pans, a bike and water containers in the east with a shop full of consumer goods and cars in the US.
The book takes notions of conspicuous consumption and the leisure class from Veblen or Galbraith’s affluent society and puts the concepts in a much more digestible format. The innovation from these authors is to use disease concepts and treat the behavioural characteristics as a disease. Thus it is a highly infectious contagion that spreads through advertising and leads to depression, misery , broken relationships and bankruptcy. The increasing wealth that is displayed does not lead to lasting happiness as there is always something better that could have been bought or a new product. So we have people buying things they do not need, with money they do not have to impress people they do not like. This is destroying individuals and communities. The raw materials needed to maintain it and the carbon emissions are also destroying the planet, even for those who are not invited to the party.
The solutions section included being actively cynical about advertising, “buying nothing” days, moving at a slower pace of life, downsizing to get out of debt and living more simply.