As the West finished exploring the world in the 18th and 19th centuries it realized there was little left to exploit. It could fight within itself – a depressing option. Under these terms of an end of world expansionism it’s main goal became how to best maintain it’s system of world domination.
With the “3rd world” largely controlled and confidently held in control, the ruling class turned to “it’s own” citizens – the Western populace. This populace was no longer required to do anything – the end of world expansionism by the West marks the end of the desire for an active and able populace – the age of the rational individual was over.
The New Age which began in the 19th century and in which we are still living requires the individual to be useless. This uselessness is achieved in many ways – one is through bureaucracy and totalitarianism, as detailed in Brave New World, 1984, The Trial, and elsewhere. Another is through the use of trivia and distractions to socially render human useless – discussing sports scores for example, or watching TV, playing video games, etc. propagandistically termed “entertaining” the purpose of which is to remove the Western populace from having political effect.
Yet another method is psychological/physiological torture and control – the purpose of advertising is to control human wants. The purpose of pharmaceuticals is not to cure illness but to allow people to get sick safely – one can indulge in depression and then simply take an anti-depressant – indulge in fatty foods and take a diet pill.
The Western populace doesn’t mind any of this – it is literally bought off – the supposedly “poor people” of the West are actually part of the global middle class, while the “middle class” of the West are very wealthy on a global scale. The Western populace sees their utter uselessness as human beings, their degradation, their becoming a simple vessel for capitalist consumption, as merely the price paid for a life of ease and luxury. They look at the 3rd world and see the alternative for themself should they become “uppity”.
Corporations are the primary tool of this New Age, their power growing vastly during the 20th and 21st centuries. They are the rulers of the world, not governments.
One of the social outcomes of this new age is a complete loss of self-discipline. Any problem capitalism can fix and the individual is useless anyway – the logical conclusion as manufactured by the ruling class is that one must give in to despair and let consumer goods be the hope.