Ok, I think I need a different way of explaining what I need to get across. According to Eisenstein we are living in the age of separation, we think there is a discrete and separate self, removed from the natural world, other people and natural processes(this is influenced alot by Buddhism). One of the consequences of this is we perceive the world and its processes as hostile, so we seek to dominate it with an ensemble of money, technology and science. We seek to make more of it ours, to dominate more over time. However this has consequences, mentally. If you are sensitive and contemplative, you can see it -- just about every Westerner is a mess, just open your door and you cannot escape it. But we are taught to ignore it, to instead resign ourselves that this is the way it should be and instead live out a pattern of compensation instead of a more authentic life. This Eisenstein fellow further says presently in this age of separation, the separation has become so acute it is in danger of collapsing, because we have reached close to the limit, which will usher in a new age, the age of reunion, where people will seek out a more balanced and harmonious modus vivendi.
A plausible inference is that Gautama Buddha probably also noticed the wounds from this "age of separation", or else he would have just been content to live out a luxurious palace lifestyle. But he found the elite lifestyle, the commoner lifestyle and the spiritual practices of his time all lacking so he developed dharma. But when he was alive this process was still very nascent compared to our advanced level. In terms of a pit, maybe someone in his time was only buried in a pit that was a few dozen meters tall of separation. However in our time, it is like one is buried several miles deep in a pit larger than the highest mountain. What is easier to get out of? This is why I think it is foolish to say that dharma has the answers and that Buddhist figures of the past dealt with the same problems of greed, lust and these have remained linear, when I am sure they gotten exponential due to various reasons which you can only find in the literature of a small number of Western intellectuals, social scientists and dissidents.
Most dharma texts and teachers say only a small minority will meet the causes and conditions necessary to achieve some kind of realization. But with the growth of separation, people have to climb even higher to get there. That is why I asked do you see any current or ex-drug addicts, factory workers, chronically obese people, etc., achieving a high level of realization, because that is the threshold of our contemporary civilization. That is not to say it is not beneficial even if you don't get far, but most people don't have any social support or sanctuary in their lives to stay dedicated to such path. In the Buddhist oriented societies of Asia they have monasteries, even if you are too poor to afford to go, householders will often pay the way for such people in with the hopes of receiving good karma. They developed a monastic tradition to make it easier to have the conditions necessary for the path, but perhaps they also hid behind it to prevent altering the mode of living of the majority of the householders outside.
First off I think you have alot of angst, maybe that unemployment gets to you. Personally I am happiest when I am not working(unemployed), infact I just quit my job, and I would love to be in a country where most the population is that way and is forced to find a new way, where they cannot find employment even if they want to. Eisenstein in an interview said that when you are working you get a sense that something is profoundly wrong, you feel like you are not living your life, that you are living someone else's life, because you spend most your time doing what you don't want to do, just because you are paid for it. And you need that money to live.
What you are saying is nothing groundbreaking or even much to do with dharma. Even this Greek archbishop says the same criticizing a chronic mentality problem in Greece, saying first you need an internal revolution, to change yourself:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM48A5S40Pc
However you think that people independently operate in the world when they don't. No matter what you do you cannot really transform social conditions much because technological advances, monetary dependence and legal evolution preclude it, and lock you into stasis. The only way to get leverage to alter social conditions in a big way is after a collapse or crisis, when the interlocking systems you take for granted expire or lapse in their social power. In complex society, the individual and his or her will dissolved long ago, along with their voice. That is why we are on the net now, because in real life people just fake to each other that everything is fine enough that they can continue petty television centered gossip, so we seek cyber solace and confession from anonymous strangers.