A blend of ‘affluence’ and ‘influenza’.
Affluenza – A social disease resulting from extreme materialism and excessive consumerism: earning more money and consuming more, which can lead to overwork, debt, stress, anxiety, etc.
Proponents of the term consider that the prizing of endless increases in material wealth may lead to feelings of worthlessness and dissatisfaction rather than experiences of a ‘better life’, and that these symptoms may be usefully captured with the metaphor of a disease. They claim some or even many of those who become wealthy will find the economic success leaving them unfulfilled and hungry only for more wealth, finding that they are unable to get pleasure from the things they buy and that increasingly material things may come to dominate their time and thoughts to the detriment of personal relationships and to feelings of happiness.
A potential criticism of the idea of affluenza is that it presents subjective social critique as an objective, inevitable and debilitating illness.
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