22 August 2019

A book I loved #5: Affluenza - When Too Much is Never Enough by Clive Hamilton & Richard Denniss

How could you possibly buy this book? After all, it's a book about the problem of wanting and acquiring too much stuff! (Affluenza = the disease of affluence.)

As a result, I don't own it but read our local library's version of it, which in the meantime someone has pinched, as I learnt when I tried to get it out again. I can understand why they did that - when I read it about three years ago, there was so much I wanted to absorb that I kept writing down certain phrases and taking notes, which is a rare thing for me to do. I LOVED it and it changed my perspective greatly. It's beautifully and insightfully written.

I re-read a couple of pages of it recently - perhaps it was in a bookshop - and it explained how affluenza fuels desire, misery and crime. It hits the poor even more than the rich. The rich kids wear the latest fashionable shoes, the poor kids see them and harass their overworked and underpaid parents for the shoes, and some attack and rob to get them. The nasty ripples spread out from there.

But that was only a two-page snapshot. Elsewhere in it these authors show us ourselves through a mirror we rarely look in, and what shines back at us isn't pretty in terms of our finances, our free time, our overall happiness or our environmental footprint.

I see there is a follow-up book that's no doubt worth a read: Curing Affluenza: How to Buy Less Stuff and Save the World, by Richard Denniss.

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