Affluenza: On the Epidemic of Overconsumption

As the holiday blitz starts coming to an end, my family and I watched an interesting PBS program called Affluenza (there is also a book of the same name). As stated on the site, it talks about the high social and environmental costs of materialism and overconsumption. Did you know that 2/3rds of all newspapers is just ads? Or than the average house in the 1950s was just 900 square feet? Even more surprising, 70% of people visit the mall every week. On average, Americans shop six hours a week and spend only 40 minutes playing with their children.

I don’t have kids yet, and I hate going to the mall with a passion, but I definitely feel overwhelmed by the amount of ads out there. I’m somewhat comforted by the fact that with my TiVo, I now watch virtually no TV ads. It’s kind of nice not knowing what is trendy or what’s on sale. I also use an internet pop-up blocker to nix as many ads as I can. As for materialism, I can’t say I don’t get distracted by plasma HDTV’s and the latest gadgetry. I love my laptop and home wireless network. But this show helps put things into perspective a bit. Is it a bit ironic that I checked it out for free at the local public library?


  1. I bought and read the book, but have never seen the show. I hope the TV version was better-organized and more cohesive than the book. I do want to get my hands on the show sometime . . ..

    I’ll just say that the book had some interesting stuff, but was a nightmare as far as readability. One thing is certain:

    Our country has been sold the consumption lifestyle in a BIG way.

  2. David Braun says:

    Affluenza changed my life in 1997.
    Today…out of debt, have taugh courses on Reducing, RusingRecycling, and how to get out of debt and stay out of debt.
    I have recently formed a non-profit organization, “Recycle for Life” whose goal is to educated public on importance of recycling.

Speak Your Mind