I’m very sympathetic to the critique of consumerism and market fundamentalism given by Clive Hamilton and Richard Deniss in their 2005 book Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough. However, their critique throws the exorbitantly excessive baby out with the consumerist bathwater. They’re upset about how much people desire more and more and much too much. Environmentalists and critics of capitalism often emphasize much needed limits and regulations without paying enough attention to the need for multiple forms of transgression, expansion, extravagance.
An ethicopolitical response to contemporary ecological and economic challenges must engage the astonishing complexity of limits, whereby limits are constitutively entangled with their transgression. Abundance abounds, scarcity overflows.
From Bataille’s perspective […] there is always too much rather than too little, given the existence of ecological (“natural”) and social (“cultural”) limits. The “end” of humankind, its ultimate goal, is thus the destruction of this surplus. […] Bataille emphasizes the maintenance of limits and survival as mere preconditions for engaging in the glorious destruction of excess. The meaning of the limit and its affirmation is inseparable from the senselessness of its transgression in expenditure (la dépense).
—Allan Stoekl, Bataille’s Peak: Energy, Religion, and Postsustainability [University of Minnesota Press, 2007), p. 45]
You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough. […] Exuberance is Beauty. […] Enough! or Too much.
You took too much. You’re about to explode. Jesus, look at your face! […] The first rush is the worst. Just ride the bastard out.
Too much is never enough.
—MTV (one of many slogans)