Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Selfish Capitalist: Origins of Affluenza - Oliver James

Synopsis - The Selfish Capitalist provides more detailed substantiation for the claims made in Affluenza.  It looks deeper into the origins of the virus and outlines the political, economic and social climate in which it has grown.

Review - I have not read Affluenza or any of Oliver James previous books.  James tests the theories of Affluenza which he refers to as the 'virus'.  He looks at why there are more depressed and anxious people since the 1970's.  His theories include our childhood, whether we were brought up by a single parent or dual parent family, divorced parents, poor or rich background.  Also, whether love was freely shown or if parents were aspirational and gave love as a reward for good behaviour or academic achievement.  He also looks at the tendency to more mental health problems in urban rather than rural areas, which he claims are due to stresses of burglary, crime and a need to "keep up with the joneses".  James does not just test the socio-economic climate but also politics, particularly highlighting the Reagan/Thatcher years where radical privatisation, demolition of the unions and cuts were made.  When the rich became richer and the poor, poorer.  He also throws in some conspiracy theories eg. 9/11, 7/7 and how the economy and leadership in South Amercian countries can be falsely managed.  It is interesting food for thought. 3*

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