Can Oliver James's and Clive Hamilton's notion of 'affluenza' be supported, in a literary fashion, by Huxley's "Brave New World"?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, there is something to be said both for and against the idea that Brave New World supports the notion of affluenza.

On the "pro" side, it is clear that the people of the World State want material things very badly.  They have no emotional lives and are conditioned to want goods.  You might connect this to the fact that they are very stressed -- enough so that they need to take soma and to have things like the violent emotions simulation.

However, Huxley's book does not show people being stressed for the same reasons that the notion of affluenza portrays as causes of stress.  The people are not stressed because of debt.  There is no real inequality (or at least no perceived inequality because the lower castes don't envy the upper classes).  So I do not think that you can really say that the stresses of chasing material goods are what cause the people to be unhappy.  Instead, I think that the material goods are one of the tools that the state uses to try to distract them from the emptiness of their lives.