As far back as AD 115, the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus acknowledged that
Many who seem to be struggling with adversity are happy; man~ amid great affluence, are utterly miserable.
So the awareness wasn’t new. After World War II, Canadian born economist John Kenneth Galbraith contemplated the growing prosperity and materialism of America – the increasing ownership of cars, televisions, home appliances etc., but observed that these consumer ‘needs’ could be considered trivial against the importance of larger and less well financed public systems.
He coined a term intended to be ironic -‘the affluent society’, which in 1958 became the title of his widely discussed book.Sadly, the term the term has now lost its ironic overtones and now simply means general prosperity.