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Hot, Flat and Crowded

I have been reading Thomas Friedman’s Hot, Flat and Crowded. He is a very keen observer of macro trends although most of what he has to say is quite challenging and frightening.

His basic thesis is that the United States has effectively sold the world on Affluenza.

Affluenza is a term used by critics of consumerism, a portmanteau of affluence and influenza. Affluenza can be defined as a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. And from Friedman’s point of view, to adopt the American lifestyle is to adopt Affluenza.

Simply put, there are too many people on planet Earth trying to adopt the American lifestyle and that will ultimately lead to the destruction of the planet as we know it. We simply do not have the resources to support the level of consumption that is coming upon us.

I used to be somewhat neutral on the Green stuff although I thought we were doing our part: energy conservation, reducing consumption, all those things that governments and media have suggested we do to help save the planet.

Reading Friedman’s book has made me painfully aware that the issues are far more compelling and go way beyond switching from incandescent to CFL lighting.