As a business, you should definitely build an affluenza defense. Doing so will keep your marketing strategies honest and down to Earth.
It may be impossible to escape the notice of today’s tendencies toward affluenza and consumerism. The media can be blamed for the proliferation of consumerism that emphasizes affluence in advertising. It is up to each individual to know the difference between what they need and what they want. The former is affordable; the latter can be a waste of annual income.
One of the best examples of how affluence can go to extremes is the growing trend of the ultra affluent in the US. They believe money can buy everything, including power over others. Advertising and the media play a huge role in the perceptions of wealth and affluence.
Affluenza Good/Poverty Bad
There is an ideology of wealth at the present time. Right now, seems to place affluence at top tier of society and is defined as “good.”
Poverty is disdained. Furthermore, a controllable life station blames the poor for lack of equal opportunities in jobs, promotions and increases in income comparable to the affluent. Hence, the term “affluenza” as a disease that has created a misguided sense of good and bad.
Consumerism – The By-Product of Affluenza
Recently, a Metropolitan NY/NJ media source reported that a business woman, Heather Neville, was selling disposable Korean Christmas trees for $1,000 in New York City. While this may seem to appeal to the affluent, it is also a form of consumerism that manages to exceed the boundaries of common sense. A consumer pays $1,000 for a disposable Korean, imported evergreen tree for the purpose of merely laying claim to having the “most expensive tree in New York City,” where the homeless sleep on city sidewalks and steam grates to keep warm in winter.
Consumerism is the by-product of affluenza for another reason, the desire to own more, have maximum buying power and using goods and services as a means of validating affluence. Thus, consumerism is a kind of power to the affluent.
Extreme consumerism aids and abets growing concerns of having to deal with disposal of goods purchased. The word consumer defines as “one who consumes.” The affluent often consume more than they need and rarely consider recycling important.
If it breaks, they buy another to replace it. If it loses interest after a few days, they merely buy some other trinket or gadget that is even “better” or more “interesting.” What they consume must always be “new” and “perfect,” two words that define the basic needs of the affluent.
Proving the Culture of Affluence
Not all of the 24 Robbers Barons of the early 1900s managed to parlay their wealth into greater wealth. For example, Jay Cooke, the man who financed the Civil War and became a wealthy banker. He lost his entire fortune with the collapse of the Northern Pacific Railroad which later triggered the Panic of 1873. This was also the fate of Daniel Drew, an investment broker of that era. Then, there was Jay Gould, a rather infamous railroad and gold speculator. His wealth was recorded in the millions from his ability to be a strikebreaker. On top of that, he was considered one of the most ruthless men of his era.
The profiles of these men have one similarity: limitless, ruthless drive and ambition. The estates and mansions of many of these Robber Barons were part of their ostentatious and pretentious culture of affluence. Ironically, nearly all of the original Robber Baron’s exclusive properties and mansions have been donated to states and the federal government in order to preserve them as museums to America’s era of unbridled greed, all at taxpayer expense for their maintenance. Yet, the affluent are ready to destroy National Parks and our most treasured natural resources all in an effort to continue to increase wealth.
Unless you actually are affluent, there is little the average middle or lower income individual can do in terms of defense. The affluent, at their core, simply live in abject excess. The poor and middle class do not.
The fundamental part of affluenza defense is to avoid excess whether in attitude or consumerism. There is one thing the poor and middle class can do as affluenza defense. That’s to avoid contributing to wealth by more judicious purchases and goods that are sustainable. When goods last longer, this diminishes consumerism. The ripple effect is, of course, diminishing affluenza to a state of normality.
When You Need to Guard Against Consumerism
Not everything advertised is of highest quality or greatest value. In fact, the premise of most manufacturers today is to create products that must be replaced quickly in order to increase sales which increase profits.
To guard against consumerism, be more discerning about goods promoted, advertised and sold. The old stand by, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” is a great way to guard against consumerism. Today’s consumerism inspires rampant fraud and deception merely to make a sale of goods or services. Consumerism also implies that items that cost most are also the “best.” For many consumers, they are “sadder, but wiser” buyers.
Steps to Affluenza Defense and Guards Against Consumerism
History teaches that without affluenza defense, creating guards against consumerism grow in difficulty. To take proper steps to affluenza defense, it is important to employ continued cognizance about consumer prices, pricing motivations by sellers and terms of sales. This includes:
- Prices of homes, automobiles, food, fuel and rentals.
- Sales terms of loan agreements, banking services and healthcare insurance.
All too often, consumers fail to take the time to study pricing motivations by sellers. This can be a costly mistake. Sellers of goods and services use covert pricing motivations to increase their profits, thereby, increasing the wealth of business owners. Take the time to read consumer magazines the monitor pricing, consumer goods and services and also provide information on product quality. One excellent source of information in the U.S. is the Federal Trade Commission and Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Another truly great safeguard of consumer protection is to take the time to contact the seller of goods and the manufacturer to make them aware of substandard quality of their products.
Affluenza defense is a critical means of protecting individuals from loss of income due to the excessive lifestyles of others. You need to guard against consumerism in order to avoid the resulting waste and costs of waste disposal, as well as fraudulent advertising and promotions.
Images taken from depositphotos.com.