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By David Wann

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There have been many changes since 2001, perhaps equally positive and negative. But the overall impact of the disease called affluenza has not diminished, and the stakes are higher, given the realities of climate change, technological unemployment, and the massive shift toward inequality that began emerging in the United States in the 1980s and exploded after 2001. AFFLUENZA: THE FILM Most movies start with a book, but this book started with a movie. John, a coauthor of this book, and Vivia Boe produced a documentary in 1996 about the subject of overconsumption and its many not-so-benign consequences for American society.

In the next few hours, land masses and oceans begin to form, and by Tuesday afternoon, the first tiny “protocells” of life emerge, probably from scalding primordial vents in the bottom of the oceans. In the next few days, life forms become larger, more complex, and more wondrous. Shortly before dawn on the last day—Saturday—trilobites and other strangely shaped creatures swim by the millions in the Cambrian seas. Half a billion years later, in real time, we will be amazed by their fossils, scattered about the globe.

Or you have watched bulldozers destroy the only open space left around your community to make room for row upon row of identical tract homes with three-car garages. If you’re elderly, you may have noticed your children’s inability to balance their budget, and you may worry for their children as well. If you’re young, you may be anxious about your own future. Wherever you’re coming from, we believe you’ll clearly recognize that at least some of the symptoms of affluenza affect you. Then, as you read on, you’ll begin to see how they’re connected to others less obvious from your vantage point.

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Affluenza: How Overconsumption Is Killing Usand How to Fight Back by David Wann

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