A simple fact is, we are all a product of our environment. How we are raised determines who we become. That being said, I can't say it makes a good excuse, just a matter of fact. People that do wrongful acts should be punished for their actions because that too will form who they eventually become.
In the case of Ethan Couch, the kid featured in the link, the kid had a history of being protected by his parents wealth, so there is no wonder how he ended up feeling he could do as he pleased without consequence. Thing is, I don't think the affluenza claim made much if any difference in the courts ruling. At the time of the accident, Ethan was 16. At that age, it is common for kids to have car accidents. An accident can take place at any time and his just so happen to take place around other people. Yes, he was drunk at the time but according to Texas law, the penalty for first time offense is 3 to 180 days in jail, being a juvenile, the judge probably took his age into consideration to his sentence. I think this is, and not the affluenza claim, why the judge gave the sentence he did.
People make silly claims to try and escape justice all the time. This is just like people who claim "mob rule" or "black rage" as a defense. That it was their environment and not them that caused their actions. Tho these factors most likely contribute to their actions, they still don't count in my book as a valid reason to commit a crime.
Affluenza is a made up term for those that are too rich to know right from wrong. Huh? Well maybe there are kids that are too poor to know right from wrong then. What would you call that? ...Poorenza. It is absolutely ridiculous and creates a different standard for those who commit heinous crimes, allowing them to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. If everyone else has to pay and do time for the smallest infractions why is an 18 year old boy who plowed down 4 innocent people and taking their lives, not in prison and serving time when other men of color are dragneted for having marijuana on them or doing petty theft crimes as juveniles. The justice system should not be one way for one group of people and different for another. That is not true justice at all and we all suffer.
There's a new name for privileged, rich white kids who strive for excess in all aspects of their lives - it's "affluenza." While some disillusioned folks consider this an actual condition, it's clear that these people are simply greedy and gluttonous ingrates. Take, for example, people who have large amounts of money but live charitable and productive lives. Some names that might come to mind include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and/or Steve Jobs. All of those individuals are (or, in the case of Steve Jobs, were) billionaires yet they haven't succumbed to the "never enough" concept behind this so-called "affluenza." In fact, all three of those individuals have made million dollar donations to charities and organizations of their choices and have continued to live privileged but altruistic lives.
Affluenza seems to affect only those who were already greedy and overindulgent from the start. Such traits are character flaws and nothing more. There is no real correlation between having excessive amounts of money and being inherently ungracious and extravagant. There are many individuals born into privilege who know exactly what they're blessed with and don't take it for granted. Unfortunately, these types of people rarely make headlines because they're not sensational and controversial. People would much rather hear about Donald Trump's next Boeing splurge than they would about how Bill and Melinda Gates donated $1.5 billion dollars to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2014 alone. That said, "affluenza" is really just another way to describe a selfish asshole, not a person suffering from some kind of condition.
"Affluenza" is something that a rich kid's lawyer made up so that he wouldn't be held accountable for his actions. Now this same kid is a fugitive running away from the law. I think you can be taught right from wrong even if you are wealthy, and "affluenza" is a silly claim.
Affluenza is just an excuse for rich people to do stupid things and have it treated like a mental illness. What does being rich have to do with not knowing right from wrong, money does not equate to knowing that killing someone is a bad thing to do, all this does is take away responsibility for their actions. They have the capacity to learn morals and laws just like the rest of us, they shouldn't get a free pass, there are consequences for their actions and we should not excuse them just because of the fact that they grew up privileged.