What is Affluenza - Case Study Example

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The following research paper highlights that in the past three decades, Western society has been greatly characterized by high levels of consumerism. Due to the rising demands of classism, citizens have resulted in unnecessary struggles in a bid to live up to the ideal lifestyles. …
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What is Affluenza
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What is Affluenza al Affiliation Introduction In the past three decades, the Western society has been greatly characterized byhigh levels of consumerism. Due to the rising demands of classism, citizens have resulted to unnecessary struggles in a bid to live up to the ideal lifestyles. As a result, a lot of lifestyle diseases and stress have become part of the society. One the contrary, the rich continues to claim that they do not yet have enough money. This has led to a ‘disease’ called Affluenza. Hamilton and Dennis’ book, Affluenza: When too much is never enough, seeks to answer the question “what is affluenza”? In the book, the authors suggest that affluenza is overemphasis to economic growth based on feelings of unfulfilled lives and characterized by overwork, indebtedness and waste in a bid to fulfill the Australian dream (Hamilton & Denniss, 2005).
In explaining what they meant by ‘affluenza’, Professor Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss begin by citing figures in the Australian economy. According to them, the country’s economy grew by $25 billion. In spite of this growth, there exists gross under-funding of education, health and transport. The two authors point out that Australians are so occupied with posh life that they forget their core role in providing essential services. Actually, they write that ‘Australians today have real incomes three times higher than 1950’ (Hamilton & Denniss, 2005; p. 4). However, although Australians are some of the richest people on earth, they are not willing to pay taxes so that social or public amenities such as education and health could be improved. According to Hamilton and Denniss (2005), ‘Australia does not have a public health funding crisis: it has a flat-screen TV crisis (p. 5). This seems to be the perfect description for affluenza: being occupied with unnecessary overconsumption at the expense of most important things.
There is no doubt that the book expressly challenges capitalism. According to Cowie (2008), capitalism promotes classism. This is well evident in the Australian consumption spirit. The quest for more wealth leads to competition and creation of structures that benefit a few and disadvantage the majority. The rich become richer and the poor become poorer. No one is concerned with the welfare of the other. Instead of co-operating, people compete. This has led to propagation of classism and creation of vicious cycles of poverty in the society (Hart, 2010). Since the poor do not have an opportunity to better themselves, they become poorer. With regard to the rich, ‘as a rule, no matter how much money people have, they feel they need more’ (Hamilton & Denniss, 2005; p. 6). It appears that the authors married the word ‘affluence’ with a disease called ‘influenza’ to come up with ‘affluenza’.
Although Australians have continued to be richer, they claim that they do not have enough. This essay was geared towards exploring the concept introduced by Hamilton and Denniss in their book. The book highlighted how aspirations arising from capitalism have led to the structuring of society into that of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. According to the two authors, affluenza is a bad idea because as other authors pointed out, it leads to creation of social classes in society. It is a never-ending craving to become richer; even at the expense of one’s family, friends and health. Finally, through affluenza, Australians have diverted from the most important things, that is the provision of social infrastructure.
Cowie, S. E. (2008). Industrial capitalism and the company town: Structural power, bio-power, and identity in nineteenth-century Fayette, Michigan. Michigan: ProQuest.
Hamilton, C., & Denniss, R. (2005). Affluenza: When Too Much Is Never Enough.
Hart, S. L. (2010). Capitalism at the crossroads: Next generation business strategies for a post-crisis world. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press. Read More
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