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Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough [Paperback]

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Item Number 352147  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 7.25"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2006
Publisher   Allen & Unwin
ISBN  1741146712  
EAN  9781741146714  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Anyone concerned about the level of their personal debt or frustrated by the rat race of aspiring to an affluent lifestyle will appreciate this critique of the effects of over-consumption. This analysis pulls no punches as it describes both the problem and what can be done to stop it. Analyzing the increasing rates of stress, depression, and obesity as possible effects of the consumption binge currently gripping the Western world, this report tracks how Australians overwork, the growing number of things thrown out, self-medicated drugs, and the real meaning of the word choice.

Buy Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough by Clive Hamilton from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781741146714 & 1741146712

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Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Clive Hamilton is Vice-Chancellor s Chair and professor of public ethics, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University, Canberra."

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Australia: Closer than we think.   Feb 29, 2008
Affluenza tracks the growth and influence of conspicuous consumption in Australia, with some side-ways glances at other nations as well. (Most notably, the US and Britain) To paraphrase the authors - "Affluenza is the buying of stuff you don't need, with money you don't have, to impress people that you don't like". The book exposes the growth and impact of "the spending disease" from about the mid 1960s to the present day. It's a fascinating, and some times chilling read. In this slim but data packed book, you learn how mass media and marketing are targeting your household and kids, with ad campaigns, marketing strategies, and product branding to engender a sense of need and emotional attachment to material goods. Fortunately, the authors also give some practical advice as to how an average person may "down-shift" and break the cycle of dependency. Often insightful, and never preachy, this is the kind of book you buy multiple copies of and hand out to your friends.
A disturbing indictment of Australian consumerism  Oct 14, 2006
According to virtually all statistical measures, Australians have become much, much richer in the past few decades than their parents or grandparents could have dreamed of. Who at the turn of the century, would have imagined us living in a world where we had a car each, had a large house, and hundreds of individual possessions?

Yet it seems in recent decades this trend for consumer capitalism has gotten totally out of control. It now often seems even having a house, car and job isn't enough; we have to have massive plasma television sets, several home computers, a third generation mobile phone, a whizz bang computer and games for the kids, both parents working to the hilt to pay the mortgage, expensive holidays and a million dollars in super at the end of it. We have to send our children to the most expensive private schools and universities, and money and getting things is the most important thing.

This is the picture Hamilton paints of Australia, where people binge on credit, where Australians work themselves almost to death to supply an endless array of goods and services which they don't really need, and are wasted; where about 20% of the population suffer from mental health problems related to low self esteem and stress, and where people avoid having children because each costs $250,000 to raise, and where our rampant consumption is ruining our environment as well as our health.

I certainly agree many of the ideas put forward in this book are true. Australia does seem to have become a place where the ethic of 'mateship' and community has been replaced with the rather heartless ethics of global capitalism, which are aimed at endless economic growth and growing individual prosperity. Reforms to make the Australian economy more open to foreign competition were opened in the 1980's by the Labour government, and ever since then in Australia the emphasis is more and more on aligning ourselves to the globalised world.

I do feel though that material progress is a good thing. However, our material progress is having some negative consequences, such as rocketing house prices and crippling resource shortages, in water and other areas. Our reckless focus on 'growth only' is also doing great damage to our environment, globally and locally.

Money is important and Australia must not go the way of Sub-Saharan Africa, being poor, overpopulated and racked by pollution and war. However I agree the time is coming when Australians will need to see there is more to life than simply the material; no amount of money or personal possessions is going to stop us from dying and suffering ill health, though wealth can delay both. We also need to be more charitable to the poor, as Australia still has some 100,000 homeless people, and we need to recognise the spiritual is an integral part of life, regardless of how much or how little we have (I am sure there is a correlation between the breakdown of religion and community in Australia and depression and other forms of mental illness).

To cure ourselves of affluenza we need to focus less on affluence and more on quality of life, which unfortunately affluence can't bring entirely on its own, without good ethical, social, spiritual and community values and wholeness and environmental sustainability. There seems little point in having a beautiful house or a brand new 4WD when the skies of your city are constantly polluted, water is running out, and garbage is piling up everywhere in the streets and elsewhere.
Very interesting, at a macro level  Jul 9, 2006
This book was facinating and easy to read- a rare combination of meticulous research and good writing. The author systematically explains the different aspects of society where affluenza is changing our way of life- it's scary stuff. But I was left thinking, what do I do about it? The author's few page 'manifesto' at the end of the book is too little, too late for me. I would have liked to see some practical tips in each chapter about what ordinary people can do to combat affluenza.
Hopefully the start of a trend - the reduction in consumption  Jun 11, 2006
A chilling tale of modern consumption gone mad, of the availability of so much yet causing so little happiness. It seems the more we consume the less happy we are. Our houses are bigger than ever, but our families are smalle. OUr children go to the best schools but we hardly see them. We have more money than ever before yet we are crippled under staggeringly high debt, more than ever before - the authors ask the question - what is going on?

They support this ably with graphed research however unfortunately the graphs were not well referenced so I have no idea as to their veracity, so when they mention a 23% proportion of 20-50 year olds 'downsizing' their lifestyle in the last 10 years I just don't know where they got this figure from, or indeed how valid. However while this was a distraction, I did find this book had some extremely major strengths
1 - it is well written,
2 - it is more than just scare tactics, It is thoughtful and thought provoking about the way we live
3 - it offers actually practical solutions as well as philosophical idealism. The conclusion is a series of ideals and how we can go about meeting them.

There have been others talking about the unhappiness bought about by mass consumerism, this is a nice book to start at to understand the issues.

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