Affluenza is a social condition, a non-communicable disease, that effects people’s perception of self-worth; leading to the accumulation of wealth or prestige to fill emotional, social or spiritual emptiness. The usual results of this, skewed perception of society or person, often leads to debt, anxiety and waste, sometimes called the "Western disease". An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.
How it works
Affluenza can affect people on any social or economic. Level, where it is most prevalent and its symptoms seem to create the most damage is within the area of society that borders between wealth and poverty. Although there are cases where Affluenza has been the reason for people to fall into poverty, or it effect their decision making to the point that it keeps them in poverty. Poverty, itself is not the result of Affluenza. There are far more reasons for people to live in poverty other than Affluenza.
With people suffering from Affluenza, the obsession for using money to project a certain social image, or to acquire more stuff, can far exceed the amount of money they have to support their basic needs. This can lead to increasing debt, long work hours and anxiety. Whole industries spring up to feed the demand of people buying things they don’t really need. Affluenza is not consumerism nor is it commercialism, but it needs both to sustain it.
Civic Ignorance Being ignorant towards the bigger picture, the unnecessary acquisition of "Stuff" has on our environment is what ties this pattern to Civic Ignorance. The buy now throw it away then buy it again mentality is great business, but poor stewardship of the recourses of the planet.
Consumerism The term Consumer was viewed very negatively hundred years ago, hence the word consumption (Tuberculosis). The meaning of the word has changed from a disease that ravages the body to a modern day shopper. Consumerism and Affluenza are similar but different. You can have Consumerism without Affluenza , but you can not necessary have Affluenza without Consumerism.