One of the biggest reasons that comes to my mind is the fact that consumerism (and mass production) began in earnest by the mass media through false advertisement claims starting around the 1870s when both newspapers and magazines both introducted them in large amounts. With radio, which by the way was a key reason of the 1920s credit bubble that led to the Great Depression, and later TV and other electronic means, people who were less intelligent and/or naive, were swindled by these ads.
As a result the average person expected more and more things to "be happy", which has led to an abusive style of selfish lifestyle similar to which one reminds one of Ancient Roman culture.
During the same time frame, social problems arose that did not exist in earlier times in this country--such as credit card debt and large scale of break-up of families via divorces and separations. The children that grew up in these disfunctional families may behave in ways that not only harms themselves but others when they are adults. Even if these children come from a strong family, if the parents do not have much to do with them and/or the parents teach them it is right to buy anything at any price, then they may do anything to get anything they want--even if it is not morally correct and/or illegal.
The federal government also decided to print money like it was toilet paper starting in the 1970's to make people think they were getting "richer", but in reality there purchasing power was decreasing by the decade. Later, many individuals went in the stock markets in large numbers and other artificially-inflated investments (especially IRAs, houses, gold, oil/gas futures, and food futures) when they figured this out--while at the same time forgetting about their fellow people who were in need of help not only overseas but in their own cities. Income gap continued to grow and continues to this day, making the economy even more unstable--mostly due to increasing cost of EVERYTHING resulting from excessive greed from many areas.
Education also has been in decline for decades in this country and overseas.
Without a sound mathematical, artistic, historical, or humatarian-inspired education, many people continue to be in trouble as a result of greedy people. Lack of historical knowledge can be disastorous for anyone because history DOES repeat over and over--just in different methods--and regardless of technological advancement! Lack of a sound education system in a society also leads to lack of both critical thinking and long-term planning, which hurt society in the short, medium, and long term.