Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Five Stages of Affluenza

affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.

When I was in college, I wrote a paper called "Diagnosing America's Affluenza."  I spent a good deal of the semester pulling together information on the topic that had not been covered in good detail by any government of this nation.  The majority of my sources were well educated professors or economists with strong opinions on either side of the issue.  My goal of the paper was not to err on a side favoring capitalism or free-trade, but to access the overall position of American's and how they may feel about the current "American Dream."  

Nearly three years later after writing that paper, I find it again to be an interesting topic.  Unforeseen changes in the global economy, or at least unforeseen by average Americans, have put most people in a position to reevaluate their life goals and how they handle their money.  Affluenza, it seems, is no longer a hyperbole.  

Many Americans are slowly becoming hopeful again as their disdain and remorse finds its way into their subconscious likely to return in haphazard panic attacks and temporary insanity.

The Fifth Stage

Lets use the George Lucas method and work our way in the direction less traveled.

The population of America, as of May 2010, is roughly 309 million people.  65 million of that are youth aged between 14-28.  That would make me fall into this category.  The unemployment rate of youth is hovering around 54%.  Young people, working, or trying to work, with or without a degree certainly felt the thud of their dreams hit the floor as the new economy has been rolling out.

For me, I equate my state of mind to that of wearing snow-shoes walking over quicksand hoping that a technology not made for that kind of travel is the most likely to work.

Here is the point. . .

At what point does the government, large corporations, and average americans think that the youth of this country will become so bitter that we do not listen to reason.  20% of this country are youth seeking a better understanding of the world around them.  This is the time where dreams are forged and morals are set.  The greed of our elders will set in soon enough.  

Affluenza . . . not a hyperbole anymore.  Sadly this is not medicine, for if it was and economic depression operated on the standard that an all knowing "immune system" was coming to our aid, I would feel much better already.  Policy of my future and the future of 65 million other youth is in the hands of people who have made a very large mistake.  Lets hope that they can see the error of their ways and fix it.