Whose fault is affluenza?
“The middle class is in trouble because of ‘affluenza,’ ” said Thomas Naylor, a professor emeritus of economics at Duke and co-author of a book of the same name. Affluenza is “a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more,” the book says.
Buying and spending because you have money that does not need to go toward a pressing need is one reason that affluenza has taken hold. Another is that with the rise of credit and debit card use over the past couple of decades, not having cash in hand to know exactly how much money you have made it too easy in some cases to buy unaffordable items. This does not mean that buying unnecessary items is bad, being unable to afford them is bad.
Media outlets have also persuaded people that they can have the good life. Having the good life and affording the good life are different concepts. As much as I love coffee, the only time I buy coffee daily is when I am vacation, even when I worked near coffeeshops and passed several daily. On television people buy coffee all the time and hang out in coffee shops. No one ever makes changes in their budget because of spending too much on coffee. This is a small area of spending in life. There are other areas that take a toll on your wallet. Buying a designer clothes and accessories because they are advertised in a magazine can be a splurge or it can be part of a lifestyle. If it is part of a lifestyle and has no effect on your budget you are either one of the rich and famous who may received the item for free as a walking advertisement or just rich and can afford to buy these things.
More, more, more. Though people are espousing saving money, it is often to be able to afford what is necessary for them. Prices did decrease in certain areas of spending for most Americans due to the decrease in costs for certain items, though housing is must more expensive than it was ten or twenty years ago. Gasoline, though less expensive now, costs more as does public transportation for the non-drivers.
Spending on necessities has also taken a large chunk out of a family’s budget. Overspending and credit card abuse did occur for some people, but in other areas of a budget, the increase in necessities, without a decrease in desire for wants has affected middle class affluenza.