Affluenza in New Zealand is detrimental to the quality of life of New Zealanders because it contributes to mental unwellness, generating a sense of dissatisfaction and discouraging social stimulation.
Affluenza contributes to mental unwellness in New Zealand society. Mental unwellness can manifest itself in many forms such as depression or eating disorders. Affluenza can be thought of as a socially transmitted disease, and its rapid spread can also be attributed partially to advertising. Advertising is a catalyst in the spread of Affluenza, and Affluenza is in no small part responsible for advertising’s continued massive success. Advertising relies on exploiting consumer’s insecurities to the extent that buying a product becomes a necessity in order to be happy, thus encouraging Affluenza. However, the exploitation of societies vulnerabilities often means objectifying people, and in particular, the female body. Two thirds of newspapers and 40% of mail in New Zealand is advertising. These advertisements are consistently preying on vulnerabilities. For example in a study that looked at Saturday morning toy commercials, it was found that 50% of commercials that were aimed at girls discussed physical attractiveness within the advertisement. The ramifications of exploitation to this extent can be disastrous. Nearly 2% of the New Zealand population suffer from an eating disorder. This means that approximately 68,000 New Zealanders will develop an eating disorder at some stage during their life. It is widely acknowledged that advertising, and thus Affluenza contributes to these statistics.
Affluenza also generates a feeling of dissatisfaction. Affluenza demands that consumers pursue an everlasting quest for the newest material possessions, such as the latest phone or fashions. Following a linear chain of purchase and dispose, perfectly working items are disposed to be replaced by more trendy counterparts. Houses are even subject to this constant need to upgrade, being an average of twice the size they were in the 1950’s. Technology is evolving at an astonishing rate however, and consumers are consequently following this linear chain at record pace. We have twice as many belongings today as we did in the 1950’s. This is due to the seemingly imperative need to keep up with society, and to judge the success of one’s life by their possessions. This constant competition, and exhausting materialistic pursuit leaves consumers feeling underwhelmed by their life and dissatisfied. Finally, Affluenza also decreases life quality in New Zealand by discouraging social stimulation. With the importance Affluenza places on physical possessions, appearance and fame, social connections and relationships are being neglected. Even relationships of stupendous importance such as the ones between parents and children are being ignored in favour of the materialistic pursuits that Affluenza encourages. For example the average parent spends 6 hours per week shopping and only 45 minutes per week playing with their children. Affluenza not only limits the interaction of members in society, it also influences the quality and extent of these relationships; in 90% of divorce cases in New Zealand arguments about money play a prominent role. With Affluenza’s spread becoming so momentous in recent years, it is in future generations that we will truly discover the impacts of this.
One environmental impact of Affluenza in New Zealand is the destruction of New Zealand’s natural environment.
Affluenza is decimating New Zealand’s natural environment through recourse exhaustion and excessive and insufficient waste disposal.
Affluenza is exhausting New Zealand’s natural recourses. A principle cause of this is overconsumption of physical possessions.