Following the standard medical practice where the symptoms are tested, the diagnosis is in essence made, and then the physician tries to get information concerning causes of a certain malady. Part 2 of Affluenza: The- All Consuming Epidemic explores the root causes of Affluenza. This part contains six chapters, but the last chapter that is; chapter 20 does not discuss these causes but starts to talk about the treatments. Deepening their diagnosis, authors in these six chapters explore the roots of Affluenza.
For that reason, this paper focuses on chapters 15-23 where it discusses various historical causes of Affluenza in chapters 15-19 and begins to explore on the Affluenza treatments in chapters 20-23 as discussed in the book. After looking at the historical causes, the paper then discusses the major point in our history where the Americans made a number of choices, which led to increased attention on consumerism or materialism we have today.
In Chapter 15, “Original Sin,” the authors review the past history for the early evidence of Affluenza, and include the ancient Greeks, New Testament, and Lakota Sioux Chief Sitting Bull quotes. In fact, Affluenza is not new as they argue that during last few decades, Affluenza has been spreading at a faster rate than ever before, since the cultural values, which at one time kept it in check have actually eroded under the contemporary commercials and changes in technology (Graaf et al 127). This means that the effects of Affluenza have eroded our culture values hence this has made it possible for this disease to spread at a faster rate than when the these values are in place. Chapter 16, “An Ounce of Prevention,” further explains the above thought. It discusses the past counteracting influences like prohibition of wealth conspicuous displays by Puritan settlers and influences of Henry David Thoreau and Karl Marx.
In Chapter 17, “The Road Not Taken,” authors cite extra historical references about the work hours for instance, a thirty hour work week was at one time common in various businesses, and spending. Still in the modern society, we observe that people spend many hours working so as to satisfy their insatiable needs for the stuff. In chapter 18, “An Emerging Epidemic,” authors describe the Post World War II consumption in the United States and explosion in spending that resulted from low- interest government loans, pent-up demand, private credit expansion, and television advertising. Chapter 19, “The Age of Affluenza,” further explores the effects of advertising including the most recently internet advertising (Graaf et al 174). This improvement in advertising therefore led to increased consumerism.
In addition, I think the industrial revolution is the other major point in our history where Americans made various choices, which led to increased attention on materialism we have today. For instance, this is a point in time when availability of consumer goods increased and as a result of this, advent of departmental store took place. As a result, this represented paradigm shift in individuals’ experience of shopping. Thus, consumers for the first time could purchase an astonishing variety of consumer goods hence I believe that this period led to increased attention on consumerism we have today.
In Chapters 20 to 23, the authors start to discuss various treatments, which could essentially change the situation we are in. Chapter 20, “Is There a (Real) Doctor in the House?” is the concluding chapter in part 2. It explores the misleading advertisements and the claims by “front groups” with “responsible” sounding names in the industry. Therefore, this explains why Affluenza is gradually spreading around our planet hence there is a need to start thinking about its treatment. The chapter also discusses the specific Affluenza consequences like its impact to global warming and its health effects.
Chapter 21, “The Road to Recovery,” marks the beginning of part 3. This part is basically about Affluenza treatment plan. The chapter begins with fifty-question quiz intended to “personalize” the symptoms of Affluenza and also comprises dozens of steps of action to combat it. This quiz is important since it makes the readers very conscious of their individual Affluenza vulnerabilities.
In Chapter 22, “Bed Rest,” the authors gives an advice to stop what we are doing. They give a number of stories about “downshifters” who involuntarily and voluntarily adopted simpler lifestyle. Thus, by presenting these stories including that of late Joe Dominguez, the co-author of “Your Money or Your Life,” they are trying to suggest what we ought to do so as to treat Affluenza (Graaf et al 221). Chapter 23, “Aspirin and Chicken Soup” is vital in the fight against Affluenza as it discusses the social supports suitable to fight it, and this is by the voluntary study circles, simplicity movement, websites, among other resources.
De, Graaf J, Thomas H. Naylor, and David Wann. Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic. San Francisco, Calif: Berrett-Koehler, 2005.