Affluenza

affluenza

Affluenza [af-loo-en-zuh], a portmanteau of the words affluence and influenza, is a term used by critics of capitalism and consumerism, defined as: a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more. Proponents of the term consider that the prizing of endless increases in material wealth may lead to feelings of worthlessness and dissatisfaction rather than experiences of a ‘better life,’ and that these symptoms may be usefully captured with the metaphor of a disease.

They claim some or even many of those who become wealthy will find the economic success leaving them unfulfilled and hungry only for more wealth, finding that they are unable to get pleasure from the things they buy and that increasingly material things may come to dominate their time and thoughts to the detriment of personal relationships and to feelings of happiness. The condition is considered particularly acute amongst those with inherited wealth, who are often said to experience guilt, lack of purpose and dissolute behavior, as well as obsession with holding on to the wealth.

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