Although you might be familiar with the term “affluenza” [there has, apparently, been a PBS show on the subject], I only encountered it for the first time recently. Our friends at Wikipedia say that PBS defined the combination of “affluence” and “influenza” in the following way:
affluenza, n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by the pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.
Wikipedia also tells us that British psychologist Oliver James claims there is “a correlation between the increasing nature of affluenza and the resulting increase in material inequality: the more unequal a society, the greater the unhappiness of its citizens.”
It seems to me there is some validity to this assertion, but can it really be that simple?