Seems to me we won't advance as a species until we learn how to make broad decisions that sidestep lust for short-term profit, false data, political and media pressure, personal interest, and identity insecurities. The influence of these and other factors on people who have the power to make decisions almost guarantees their failure and our stagnation.
Returning to Los Angeles, I'm struck by an attitude that I can only describe by adapting a thuggish voice that says, "No, ME!" A man who wants to turn into a parking lot of a popular sandwich shop pulls across three lanes of traffic in his expensive sports car. He know that the entrance to the lot is filled with cars waiting to get in, but it doesn't matter. He wants to get in to that parking lot, and so he chooses to block the forward motion of hundreds of vehicles. Of course the blocked cars start expressing their displeasure. Honk! The offending party just tells everyone to go "F" themselves, and he sits there with a triumphant look as we all wait for him. Two minutes of this is an eternity.
Many places in the US promote varieties of extreme self-centeredness as an accepted (even desirable) means of survival. "No, ME!" is celebrated and rewarded, and so we become a nation of super-assholes each of whom is the star of their own movie.
On a related note, I hear that Obama is considering hiring the former head of Netflix as his new National Economic Council Director. Makes sense in a world where everyone's lost in the plot of their own movie.
(Tanuki spoil the day again...)