‘Affluenza, which is defined as the cycle of stress, overwork and indebtedness that fosters a human drive toward materialism, has been identified as a central problem for the ethical and moral development of society'(Harmon, 2001).
Affluenza is a harmful, unbalanced relationship with money that is being driven by the expanding development of technology and the mass media. The ever expanding industry thrives on its marketing strategies to obtain its customers and withdraw them to spend their money on the most recent items and gadgets, just to keep up with the “Joneses”.
The major culprit of Affluenza is the marketing industry and through their exploitation they have encouraged: over-consumption, ‘luxury fever’, and self-centered gratification. The marketing industries push the wants rather than the needs, cultivating a sense of deprivation amongst plenty. They utilize consumer psychology and building an environment where consumers demand products they otherwise would not.
Marketing is involved within every business and organisation. They try to either promote their organisation or a particular product appealing to certain target groups. The marketing that is produced through the mass media is forwarding the affects of ‘Affluenza’ within the general public. The marketing industry pushes us to consume beyond our income capacity, leading to unsustainable debts. Affluenza is having a negative effect and impact upon society and may be responsible for the decreasing standards of ethics in the context of business.
Marketing’s role is so enormous it comprises the process of creating, distributing, promoting and pricing of goods and services. Within this role they are meant to promote their merchandise to consumers of the public appealing on those who are more vulnerable and susceptible to purchasing their product. Although marketing’s role is affecting us in many ways, for suppliers, marketing is essential. Without their involvement many companies and business wouldn’t function properly without proper proceeds and revenue coming through.
Of course marketing is partly responsible for Affluenza as its role is to promote and market a particular product, so consumers purchase that particular product that is on sale. It is marketing which gets us consumers to purchase these products we really don’t need.
Marketing is an aspect where suppliers need to market there products that gets us consumers to buy these products. Without various marketing schemes we (as the consumers) wouldn’t feel obligated to purchase the product.
Harmon (2001) states that ‘the mass media has produced a culture in which Australians now believe that everyone in society has achieved the Australian dream’. Consumers afflicted with Affluenza have revised the great Australian dream from owning your own home to owning a really, really big home as well as two cars and having an annual holiday.
Overall, Affluenza argues that the mass media has pushed the average citizen toward materialism as a central means for social development, ultimately having the potential to have a negative impact, not only on the individual but also on business as a whole. The marketing industry comprised within the mass media is solely responsible for these growing affects of Affluenza.