Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Affluenza by Oliver James

'World-renowned' psychologist, Oliver James , believes there is an epidemic of 'affluenza' throughout the world - an obsessive, envious, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses - that has resulted in huge increases in depression and anxiety among millions.'

There's even a website for this latest middle-class disease.

'Over a nine-month period, 'bestselling author' Oliver James travelled around the world to try and find out why. He discovered how, despite very different cultures and levels of wealth, affluenza is spreading. Cities he visited include Sydney, Singapore, Moscow, Budapest, Copenhagen, Delhi and Shanghai, and in each place he interviewed several groups of people in the hope of finding out not only why this is happening, but also how one can increase the strength of one's emotional immune system. '

He wasn't very kind to Sydney.

"The most vacuous of cities. The Dolly Parton of cities in Australia."


'Sydney's culture of the relentless pursuit of property, perfect bodies and status has British psychologist and author Oliver James worried. He found the obsessive pursuit of money and possessions was not buying happiness. He had not been to Sydney before and expected a

"philistine nation of jolly, uncomplicated fun-seekers"

Does he mean simple shire-folk that he can condescend?

'Instead, he found a city in thrall to American values and a puritan work ethic (how awful!) that robbed life of joy and meaning. Middle-class Sydney, he writes, is'

"packed with career-obsessed workaholics, people who place a high value on money, professional status and appearance"

The British, James concludes, are a cut above their convict cousins.

"The British elite have been around for an awfully long time and there is not the crassness of the Australian rich."

In other words James is a fan of the landed aristocracy, those who inherited their money from Dad. As opposed to those who earned it via a meritocracy.

Well, Olly, i have lived in both cities and i can 100% assure you that you are talking utter bollocks. That should suffice for my book review of Affluenza. I'll submit it to Amazon.

Scott Burgess draws slightly different conclusions

via Tim Blair
Update (via dub kitty); during a Dave Lee Roth interview for Rolling Stone in the 1980s, producer Ted Templeman admonished DLR that money can’t buy happiness, to which DLR replied
“well, maybe not, Ted, but it can buy me a boat big enough to sail right the fuck up next to it.”