affluenza
(AF.loo.en.zuh) n. An extreme form of materialism in which consumers overwork and accumulate high levels of debt to purchase more goods (affluence + influenza).

Example Citation:
Our society is more troubled by problems of overabundance. We are three times richer than in the 1950s, and diseases particular to "affluenza" clog our social and individual arteries. We are more overworked, more stressed, more depressed and much fatter. ...

Critiques of affluenza go deeper than puritanical dismay at the aggressive vulgarity of materialism. The centrepiece of the argument is that we are obsessed privately with more income and better goods, and collectively with "growth" and "progress". Yet all the scholarly work on well-being shows that after passing a benchmark of real deprivation, greater prosperity does not lead to increased happiness.
—Anne Manne, "Sell Your Soul And Spend, Spend, Spend," Syndey Morning Herald, April 14, 2003

Earliest Citation:
Ann [Beattie] gives readings all over the country. Ann's picture was on the cover of the SoHo Weekly News. Ann gets mail from men in prison who have read her stories and fallen in love with her. And a Boston paper even referred to the people she writes about, usually disenchanted orphans of Affluenza, as The Beattie Generation.
—Tom Shales, "Rough Cuts From Ann," The Washington Post, October 25, 1979

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