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Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic

Overview

In chapters with titles like "Swollen Expectations" and "A Rash of Bankruptcies, " Affluenza uses the whimsical metaphor of a disease to tackle a very serious subject: the damage done — to our health, our families, our communities, and our environment — by the obsessive quest for material gain. The authors examine the origins, evolution, and symptoms of the affluenza epidemic. But more importantly, they explore cures and suggest strategies for rebuilding families and communities and for restoring and respecting ...

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Overview

In chapters with titles like "Swollen Expectations" and "A Rash of Bankruptcies, " Affluenza uses the whimsical metaphor of a disease to tackle a very serious subject: the damage done — to our health, our families, our communities, and our environment — by the obsessive quest for material gain. The authors examine the origins, evolution, and symptoms of the affluenza epidemic. But more importantly, they explore cures and suggest strategies for rebuilding families and communities and for restoring and respecting the earth.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
De Graaf, producer of the PBS documentaries Affluenza (1996) and Escape from Affluenza (1998); David Wann, a former EPA staffer and expert on sustainable lifestyles; and Thomas H. Naylor, professor emeritus in economics at Duke, have assembled an updated and more in-depth look at the epidemic of overconsumption sweeping the United States and the rest of the world, based on de Graaf's documentaries. They define "affluenza" as "a painful, contagious, socially-transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more" and examine the spiraling cycle of overconsumption, spending, stress, and broken relationships caused by America's obsession with uncontrolled economic growth at any cost. This witty yet hard-hitting book provides evidence of the social problems caused by the American obsession with acquiring "stuff" and proposes solutions for living more sustainably. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. Mark Bay, Indiana Univ.-Purdue Univ. Lib., Indianapolis Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576751510
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 275
  • Product dimensions: 6.86 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Symptoms 9
1 Shopping Fever 11
2 A Rash of Bankruptcies 18
3 Swollen Expectations 23
4 Chronic Congestion 31
5 The Stress of Excess 38
6 Family Convulsions 45
7 Dilated Pupils 51
8 Community Chills 59
9 An Ache for Meaning 68
10 Social Scars 77
11 Resource Exhaustion 84
12 Industrial Diarrhea 95
13 The Addictive Virus 104
14 Dissatisfaction Guaranteed 109
Pt. 2 Causes 119
15 Original Sin 121
16 An Ounce of Prevention 128
17 The Road Not Taken 134
18 An Emerging Epidemic 141
19 The Age of Affluenza 148
20 Is There a (Real) Doctor in the House? 155
Pt. 3 Treatment 165
21 The Road to Recovery 167
22 Bed Rest 171
23 Aspirin and Chicken Soup 177
24 Fresh Air 183
25 The Right Medicine 191
26 Back to Work 200
27 Vaccinations and Vitamins 208
28 Political Prescriptions 215
29 Annual Check-Ups 224
30 Healthy Again 231
Notes 237
Bibliography and Sources 251
Index 260
About the Authors 267
About Redefining Progress 268
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2001

    The Right Book at the Right Time

    Sure, I've heard about the disappearing rainforests and the many species of animals and plants becoming endangered or extinct, but that doesn't really have anything to do with me, I live in America, the most affluent country in the history of the world. Yes, there are some problems with industrial pollution and other environmental issues but not in my community and besides that's the concern of all those 'environmentalists.' I can go to the mall to buy anything I want as long as I have a credit card, and life is good. Not so fast! It's time to stop and think about what is really happening to us. How many Americans are working in jobs that don't energize them? How many spend hours every week shopping and commuting, but only minutes with their kids or their friends? How many feel 'used up' by a glitzy, gaudy American Dream? The book Affluenza is common ground for many victims who toss and turn, trying to wake up from a value system in which people are too often treated like machines, and machines are too often treated like people. If a million Americans read this book, we may have a shot at moving beyond the short-term illusion many call 'success.' The book offers welcome news that the Joneses have surrendered! Standing on their front porch, they plead, 'Please don't try to keep up with us anymore!' What a concept - that we might be able to cooperate with the Joneses, rather than compete with them¿ Beating affluenza is not about 'giving up' the good life, but getting it back. The strength of this book is that it successfully presents critical information on the anthropology and psychology of America without stripping the reader of hope. Yes, affluenza undermines our personal health, our family life, our communities, and our environment, but the authors offer us a way out. Affluenza has a three-step strategy: to present the symptoms of a disease that often feels deceptively pleasant, like an addiction; to trace the epidemic back to its historical sources; and then to offer dozens of concrete ways to Beat the Bug. The strategy works! The humor, the great satirical cartoons, and the well-researched presentation helped open my mind up and evaluate what's important for me individually, and also what needs to be done throughout our society. This is a great book for book clubs, church discussion groups, high school and college classrooms. Get it, read it, and tell your friends about it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Thinly Disguised Political Agenda in Print

    I picked up this book because a local book club planned to discuss it. I was actually quite excited to read it because I have been concerned by the sense of entitlement I've personally been feeling. The writing style was okay and the political cartoons were quite funny. Unfortunately, it became clear by the end of the book that the authors have a very strong liberal bias. Most of the research cited was seriously skewed toward the authors' viewpoint. The discussion would have been much stronger had they also included some of the opposing arguments. I also struggled with the moralistic tone of the book. This could have been so much better than it was. I ended up disappointed and felt like I had spent 250 pages watching a liberal campaign ad. I would also have appreciated some concrete steps the average reader could begin to take to address the issues raised. Simply highlighting a perceived problem without offering some real solutions is less about solving the problem than whining about it. I guess I'll have to look to something written from a conservative viewpoint to see if they can do any better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2006

    AHHH

    We had to use this book as our text for my ENG 111 class and honestly not a single one of us enjoyed it. This is a 277 page book that is 275 pages TOO LONG!!!!! This would have been a better pamphlet than a book. Some of it is interesting but the book as a whole is awful.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2006

    A book with the wrong title

    This is without a doubt the worst book I ever read. Even the writing is poor to say nothing of the subject being discussed. In various places the book repeats much the same information. There is reminding a person and then there is drilling it into their skull.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2002

    Highly Recommended!

    Sure, Affluenza is a polemic, but it¿s a powerful one. Sure, some of the book¿s more startling factual assertions are, on closer examination, somewhat distorted. But this is a call to arms, not a scholarly dissection. By depicting our consumer culture as a deadly epidemic, the authors provide a metaphor that simply and intuitively captures the fears and concerns of millions of people worldwide. While some conservative readers might scoff at a book that breathlessly states that life was better before the industrial revolution, we from getAbstract recommend this book as a valuable peek into the intellectual world of the anti-globalization left.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2002

    I'm Not Alone!

    For years I have felt like a fish swimming upstream against the constant pressures of rampant commercialism in our society. I have tried to teach my children by example that less is more, even going so far as to write them a novel, A PARTING GIFT (Warner Books), as a way to impress my thoughts to them. All this time I thought I was standing virtually alone in our spend, spend, spend culture, but now that I have read AFFLUENZA, I realize that there are thousands of others out there who feel the same way I do. I plan to give this book to both my children in the hopes that the hard cold facts and statistics presented here will have as much impact on them as the philosophical truths I tried to express in my novel.

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    Posted January 28, 2011

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    Posted November 30, 2008

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    Posted September 28, 2009

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    Posted December 31, 2010

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