I went to hear Ash Barker (UNOH) speak today, what a great, relaxing 3 hours together that was. I loved hearing his passion for community, particularly his passion for the thing I feel strong about which is local/geographical community. He refered much to Affluenza, so here goes ch 2 –
In the US, spending on luxury items grew by 28% in the first half of 2004 alone!
In Australia between 1985 and 2000 the average floor area of houses built increased by 31% and appartments by 25%.
Ironically the average number of people living in houses shrunk. (1955 = 3.6 per household, 1970 =3.3, 2000 = 2.6 To put it another way, in 1970 each occupant had 40 square metres of ‘space’, now we have 85 squares to ourself)
When children go to seperate rooms to watch their own TV sets, not only do parents have less control over what the children view and how much time they spend in front of the box: they are also not around to provide context for and commentary on what their children see. Nor do children learn to negotiate with others over how to share space in the house.
In the 1990’s sunglasses became a symbol of identity, replacing the cigarette as the statement of cool. $200 for a pair is now regarded as cheap. A pair of oakley X Metal XX ‘eyewear’ retails for $699.95
Rings for the right hand are emerging as a fashion statement. This trend is a manifestation of self-centred isolation. De Beers (Diamond mining magnate) suggests, “Your left hand says ‘we’ your right says ‘me”.
One starry eyed commentator wrote that the adds “mark the creation of the Me-Ring as brilliant and expensive as an engagement ring, only symbolising independance, not alliance. It is a token of love from you to yourself“.
It would be hard to find a better definition of narcissism.
Pets and Overseas Aid
Australians spent more than $1.5 billion on pet food and pet care products in 2003, most of it on food for cats and dogs. This figure does not include buying thepets or the cost of services such as vet care, boarding kennels, pet grooming and tooth-cleaning services. Total expenditure on pets is estimated to have been well over $2.3 billion in 2003, an ammount that might be compared with the $2 billion Australia spends on overseas aid each year.
In the 2004 budget the federal government announced it would pay a $3000 lump sum to women when they have a baby (rising to $5000 by 2008). The government subsequently announced an additional family bonus of $600 per child. When that payment was made to families in July 2004, newspapers across the country carried commentary such as the following:
- Victorians spent more on pokies in the week that the $600 family bonus was issued than in any other week of the year.
- Nation on spending spree since $600 bunus last week, but not all going on children.
Interesting stuff. Get more info on “Affluenza”, Clive Hamilton here