Affluenza

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Note: this page needs a more suitable name, as it refers to more than just the book by the name Affluenza.

Affluenza is the title of a book by Clive Hamilton of the Australia Institute. The theme is that the increasing wealth of people has not resulted in substantial satisfaction, and people still consider that they are not wealthy.

Hamilton quotes a survey which found that 62% of Australians say they cannot afford to buy everything they really need. He says that "when we consider that Australia is one of the world's richest countries and that Australians today have incomes three times higher than in 1950, it is remarkable that so many people feel their incomes are inadequate" (p. 59).

Hamilton blames this on:

  • advertising which convinces us that we must have various products,
  • politicians (including Australian Prime Minister John Howard) who refer to middle Australia as "battlers" and give middle-class welfare.
  • wants having become needs (for the previous two reasons).

External links

Comments

David Brin has commented that one arguable definition of sanity is satiability, i.e. when sane people gain more than enough wealth, they turn around and start using it to help other people; when someone who has more than enough for their own needs persists in acquiring more, that is not sane behavior. "Affluenza" seems like a good name for this infirmity.

More editorially: I'd consider it an acceptable title for an article about the condition (i.e. this page); if you eventually want to have a page about the book as well, that could be called Affluenza (book) or Affluenza (Clive Hamilton). Alternatively, the concept might be "insatiability" or "economic insatiability". I'll have to ponder this; let me know what you think... --Woozle 07:26, 8 February 2007 (EST)