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The Epidemic of Affluenza
How to Diagnose It. How to Treat It.
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There's an epidemic sweeping the country. It's not your typical virus, but rather a highly contagious disease of epidemic overconsumption, and the symptoms include compulsive shopping, high debt, overwork, inability to delay gratification, a sense of entitlement, obsession with externals and "having it all," wastefulness, and stress. The disease is called affluenza, which is derived from the word "affluence," meaning: "a : an abundant flow or supply: PROFUSION b : abundance of property : WEALTH." (~Merriam Webster Dictionary)

PBS, in a television special, described affluenza as:

  1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses.

  2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream.

  3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.

The affluenza.org Web site has this to say about it:

"Advertisers who promote and shape our consumer culture seek to condition us to the idea that by trading our life energy for the money needed to buy their product, we will fulfill our hopes for power, happiness, security, acceptance, success, fulfillment, achievement, and personal worth."(~www.affluenza.org)

Are You Suffering From Affluenza?

The affluenza.org site warns that those of us who buy into the advertisers' messages find our time so consumed by jobs we don't even like, in order to have the money to buy products that we get little real satisfaction from, that we have little time left for enjoying family and friends, participating in our community, or nurturing ourselves intellectually, culturally, or spiritually. The result is alienation, emptiness, debt, and failed marriages and family relationships.

Consider this:

red bulletThe average adult spends more time shopping each week than s/he spends with his or her children.
red bulletMore Americans visit shopping malls on Sunday than go to church.
red bulletMore Americans file for bankruptcy each year than graduate from college.
red bulletThe average American home is more than twice as large as it was in the 1950s, yet the average family is smaller.
red bulletWe work longer, have less time for families, and are more stressed out.

What Is the Treatment for Affluenza?

How do we battle this insidious disease? The answer is simple:

red bulletLive more simply.
red bulletSave more money.
red bulletSpend less.
red bulletCut back.
red bulletConserve.
red bulletAvoid impulse spending.
red bulletDon't use a credit card unless you have the cash to pay it off.
red bulletTear up credit card offers you receive in the mail.
red bulletStick to a realistic budget.
red bulletDon't buy more house than you can comfortably afford.
red bulletRead "Your Money Or Your Life."

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