Curing Affluenza

Curing Affluenza

How to Buy Less Stuff and Save the World

By Richard Denniss


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Affluenza has not just changed the world, it has also changed the way we see the world. Short of money? Borrow some. Caught in the rain? Buy an umbrella. Thirsty? Buy a bottle of water and throw the bottle away. Our embrace of “convenience” and our acceptance of our inability to plan ahead is an entirely new way of thinking, and over the past seventy years we have built a new and different economic system to accommodate it.

There is nothing inevitable about this current way of thinking, consuming, and producing. On the contrary, the vast majority of humans who have ever lived would find the idea of using our scarce resources to produce things that are designed to be thrown away absolutely senseless. The fact that our consumer culture is a recent innovation does not mean it will be easy to change. Indeed, the last few decades have shown how contagious affluenza can be. But we have not always lived this way, which proves that we don’t have to persist with it. We can change—if we want to.


[Richard Denniss’s] entertaining and punchy book Curing Affluenza will, with luck, kickstart a conversation about mindless consumerism and what we do about it.

– Marc Hudson, The Conversation

Richard Denniss is the freshest economic thinker I know, brimming with ideas, challenging old views and finding new opportunities for progress. A path-breaking book.

– Ross Gittins


1 Diagnosing the Disease
2 A Good Dose of Materialism Helps a Bad Case of Affluenza
3 Lighten Up
4 Your Country Needs You (to work less, if you want to)
5 Change Your Shape, Not Your Size
6 Keeping on Track: Performance Indicators for a Better Society
7 There Are Many Alternatives
8 Evaluating New Ideas for Your New Society
9 So What’s Stopping You?