Americans are uniquely infected with “affluenza” according to authors John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H. Naylor, and David Horsey.1   They claim Americans confuse “the good life” with “the goods life,” spending more than $21,000 per year on consumer goods.  This disease contributes to our credit card indebtedness tripling in the 1990s, more people filing for bankruptcy each year than graduate from college, and spending more for trash bags than 90 of the world’s 210 countries spend on everything.  “To live, we buy,” explain the authors, claiming that affluenza is a spiritual malady resulting in runaway materialism.

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