47 pages 1 hour read

John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas Naylor


Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2001

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Introduction-Chapter 1

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: “Symptoms”

Introduction Summary

The Introduction to Affluenza tells the story of the origin of the book and alerts the reader to the structure of the argument that will follow. The project began in 1996 as a PBS television documentary involving author de Graaf. Following its success, the first edition of the book, Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic, by de Graaf, Wann, and Naylor was published in 2001, with a second edition in 2005. The third edition, Affluenza: How Overconsumption is Killing Us—And How to Fight Back appeared in 2014.

As the authors note, a lot has happened in the period since the first edition of the book, from the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 to the 2008 financial crisis and rising awareness of economic inequality. But what has not changed is the need to diagnose and combat the illness they call affluenza, “the obsessive, almost religious quest for economic expansion” that has spread from the United States to the entire globe (2). It is the hope of the authors that readers of all political persuasions in all nations can agree on the destructive nature of affluenza and begin to overturn its increasingly dire effects.