Do We Have Affluenza?

Quite possibly, you’re wondering “What in the world is Affluenza? Well, you’re not alone! We too only recently heard the term, mainly used by critics of consumerism. The book, Affluenza: The All-consuming Epidemic describes it as “a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.”

Then we found two articles which show, in our opinion, the effects of Affluenza on society.

These articles on a major news site clearly depicted the increasing disparity and inequality prevalent in today’s society. One discussed the immense need among the world’s homeless. And the other the unveiling of an extremely wealthy family’s yacht.


In many cities, sea ports are some of the most degraded, poverty-stricken areas. The world’s poor migrate there, hoping to find work or embark toward a better life. And we can’t help but wonder: how do these yacht owners deal with the obvious disparities between their own life and what they see there?

Or do they simply NOT SEE? Which is possible, because they likely pull into clean, secluded ports. With nice yacht clubs like the one above, but fancier.

It is not our intention to criticize anyone, even wealthy yacht owners.

Especially when our own life has so much room for improvement. We talk a lot about good stewardship and being our brother’s keeper. And even though our lives are far from sumptuous, we could do so much more.

And likely most of us would like to DO more than we do. And GIVE more than we give. But how? It often seems we barely have enough as it is. Both of time and finance.

Could it be that Affluenza gets in our way?

Now, I’m not too sure the anti-consumerist movement has all the answers. Sometimes they promote total financial equality. Which seems nothing more than a pipe dream. Christ said we would always have the poor among us. And it wasn’t that he didn’t care for the poverty-stricken, struggling masses. For he did care, deeply.

But God did not create a bunch of clones with identical cookie-cutter lives. Even-steven for everyone. Yet he does expect us to notice the poor, and do what we can to make their life more fair.

Perhaps we focus too much on living “the dream.”

Maybe you, like us, don’t follow the dogged pursuit of more and more. But there is a big trend in the western world of ‘chasing the dream’ or ‘living the dream’. And having dreams is not wrong. Wanting a good and decent life for ourselves and families is normal, and part of family responsibility.

But where does it stop? Where should it stop?

Affluenza tries to convince us we don’t have enough.

Yet we have so much that we can’t even keep track of it all. And struggle to find enough storage areas!

So we’re striving to live more simply.

We want to help others more, reaching out in tangible ways.

  • Because giving is so much better than getting, getting, getting.
  • And you can’t have everything. Where would you put it anyway?
  • Which is a good thing to remember while out shopping!

We can have too much stuff. But we can never give enough or have enough love, joy, peace and other true riches!

[Image ©TheScorziellos-Mario]

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