Affluenza, a portmanteau of affluence and influenza, is a term used by critics of consumerism. The book Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic defines it as "a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more".
Proponents of the term consider that the prizing of endless increases
in material wealth may lead to feelings of worthlessness and
dissatisfaction rather than experiences of a 'better life', and that
these symptoms may be usefully captured with the metaphor of a disease.
They claim some or even many of those who become wealthy will find the
economic success leaving them unfulfilled and hungry only for more
wealth, finding that they are unable to get pleasure from the things
they buy and that increasingly material things may come to dominate
their time and thoughts to the detriment of personal relationships and
to feelings of happiness.
A potential criticism of the idea of affluenza is that it presents
subjective social critique as an objective, inevitable and debilitating