Money can buy you affluenza

According to experts more and more Australians are suffering from affluenza. The word was coined in the mid-1990s and is a portmanteau of affluence and influenza.

Affluenza, also known as luxury fever, is the psychological malaise suffered by wealthy people characterised by lack of motivation and feelings of guilt. Sufferers exhibit a lack of satisfaction with consumerism as a path to happiness. The worst symptoms include psychological disorders, alienation and distress.

Affluenza is a result of the combination of, on one hand, the stresses caused by the “dogged pursuit of more”, “selfish capitalism”, and “excessive wealth-seeking” and, on the other hand, the lack of increased feelings of well-being as a result of the effort. As we work harder we spend less time with our friends and our family and lose touch with simple pleasures. It is a term for a social contradiction that wealth buys less happiness.

A closely related syndrome is “status anxiety”, the chronic anxiety people feel about achieving a high level of status.

People suffering from affluenza and status anxiety are more likely to turn to alcohol and mood-altering drugs to “self-medicate”.

In Australia a consequence of affluenza is the political competition over middle class welfare, the tax breaks and government concessions given to people on middle to high incomes. Tony Abbott’s paid parental scheme was a prime example, the scheme aimed to pay high income women half of their income while they are on maternity leave when low-income women need more support.

There is a solution. A movement of people have invented a cure they call metanoia. Metanoia is derived from the Greek words meta meaning beyond and noeō meaning perception or understanding.

Metanoians reject materialism and attempt to overcome their addiction to greed and consumerism (and affluenza) by focussing on building relationships, enjoying simple pleasures and rejecting brand loyalty. Live more with less is their motto