Really I see this whole thing as an ideological battle between those who want the ability to obtain everything and those who think that ability should not exist. What you are starting to see globally is an extremely important and remarkable change in ideals, morals and values. This is what we need, because the future will not support capitalistic values. We will have to rediscover what made us happy for thousands of years in the abscess of material excess and over-complicated societies. Things like the importance of family, community, personal relationships and symbiotic connections to nature will have to take precedence. Slowly people are realizing that for all of the natural and social destruction their mansions and yacht's have caused, neither things have made them truly happy. We will have to start thinking in terms of "we" instead of "me", if only for the utilitarian concept of survival.
In my opinion the sooner the shit hits the fan, the sooner we can start fixing global society. People are blissfully ignorant until crisis shows up on their front doorstop and hands them a due date.
I see this fundamental change here in Japan too. Its a global change of consciousness.
Japan has been through a huge bubble and bust cycle 20 years back or so.
In the bubble most people very well off here materially speaking.
Because of that experience many people realized that owning lots of stuff and having money really isn't that big a deal. It can be nice, but its not happiness and it doesn't bring a lasting happiness. More of a short fix that needs another hit soon after.
I give talks and write books here on these very topics (in Japanese) and more and more people are understanding it.
I would say I am comfortable financially, but I turn down work (money) regularly because I want to spend time with my family and in nature. I want to make the most of my short visit here on this amazing planet.
To me I value spending time with family and friends more than accumulating unnecessary material wealth.
More and more people are choosing to go in that direction.
People want a slower pace of life and are moving back to the countryside to farm (self-subsistence) rather than work their asses of just to stay afloat in the city.
I live in Kyoto and its a city I am not saying we should all be in the countryside I am saying people are changing their value systems.
When we work doing something we do not enjoy nor value, ultimately we waste the most precious commodity we have, which is time.
You cannot buy 1 second of time to be alive. Yet we sell it for a few dollars per hour.
We don't need to be in this constant competition and struggle. From the time we enter school we are in a competition, a fight to be better than those around us and come out on top.
I truly believe we can create a society where it doesn't need to be that way. Our way of thinking has been so manipulated and influenced by society and education, not to mention mass media. We are programed to believe that there is no other alternative so fuck it, I'll make damn sure I get what I need fuck the rest.
This is not a sustainable way of thinking/living. Its suicidal for our species, because in that struggle to get to the top we are destroying the planet and each other.
We can create a system that allows people to live with dignity and humanity. Some will always have more than others and thats cool, but we cannot sustain the consumer capitalism as it is, it is clearly a dead end.
I believe the first step to this change is me and you waking up, its a change in consciousness. That comes first.
With awareness individuals can take responsibility for their own choices and the way they live and act. Without awareness we are just puppets.
Right now many people think they are choosing, but in fact their way of thinking and acting is being dictated to them through education and mass media/TV.
Its no accident that ancient cultures from almost every continent (who had no way of communicating with each other) have spoken of a huge change in 2012 or near to that date. They speak of a change in consciousness as well as the planet itself.
I am not talking doomsday, I don't believe that and that is not what most ancient cultures predicted.
I am talking about a change in global consciousness and our value systems leading to change in the way we live.
Oh and I agree that until people are personally affected by crisis most will refuse to wake up.
Put a wild bird in a cage. After years pass, if you open the cage some will fly out and never come back. Some will actually remain in the cage and refuse to leave it.
People think the lifestyle in the cage is who they are and to those who speak of a life without the cage they will say "no, its impossible, it can't be done".
The cage is a cage for our consciousness. Value systems, beliefs. So deeply engrained from very early in our lives.
That cage is the real force that keeps the 99% working like slaves for the 1%.
Its also the illusion that makes people think there would not be enough for everyone to live comfortably, therefore we should make sure we get ours and fuck the rest because there isn't enough to go around.
Divide and conquer, been going on since the time of the Romans.
Everyone will not be rich but everyone can have the basic needs takes care of.
Of course this is just what I feel. If you disagree thats fine just offering my perspective.