Sunday, December 2, 2012

Are we suffering from Affluenza?

The latest eBook, I borrowed from the Fingal Libraries eBook lending service was called "Affluenza: When too much is Never Enough". This book talks about how modern Australia seems to be suffering from the affliction of Affluenza, which is defined as:
"a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more"
This was a really thought provoking book. The book was specifically talking about Australian society, and hence most of the statistics included related to Australia. In a few cases they reported data relating to the United States for comparison. In summary the authors conclude that the level of wealth in Australia and USA is roughly similar as is the level of obsession with consumerism. However, while most American's realise that they are a rich consumption obsessed society, Australians seem to think of them selves as surviving in tough economic circumstances.

When I read the book I wondered whether or not Irish people are suffering from the same malaise. The Irish media are full of stories about how dramatically circumstances have changed for Irish people in recent years since the demise of the Celtic Tiger. However,  I am old enough to remember how tough times were in former decades and so I don't think we are that badly off at the moment in comparison.

I was delighted to read the survey reported in yesterdays Irish Times which contained an interesting fact that the percentage of Irish people who claimed to be "totally happy with their standard of living" had increased from 59% in 197 to 71% in 2012. The journalists seemed surprised with this statistic given Ireland's current economic crisis, but I think it is a sign that we have a good perspective on our economic circumstances.

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