I had an idea a few years ago about why societies fail. I was reading about the Roman empire and realized, as so many before me, that there was a colossal change in culture before the empire started so stagnate and eventually die.
The culture changed from individual responsibility and brutal competition to belief in centralized systems and an almost spoiled attitude.
I had another idea not long ago about values being passed between generations. A hundred years ago families lived together in close proximity. The family was the central unit instead of the individuals of today. While I'm a froth-mouthed defender of individualism I do realize that this has ramifications. When families lived so close together soft values (human interaction, family history, family connections, work ethic and so on) were transferred between generations.
Quite possibly to the dismay and hardship of many individuals and ideas, not least science.
Today this proximity is lost, and while it does make things lite paradigm changes a lot easier it also strains peoples ability to learn soft values.
These basic knowledges that are not quite facts but certainly important are lost between generations. This leads to quicker cultural changes. It could also lead us to the culture of slacking that was a factor in the destructions of Rome.
There are some large if's in this rant. But as I said, it's an idea. No don't be a slacker, make up your own mind and let me know!