There are some who complain most energetically and inconsolably of any, because they are, as they say, doing their duty. I also have in my mind that seemingly wealthy, but most terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters.
The author points to the impact of what he called Dutch disease, where the discovery of found wealth from a particular commodity causes a culture to atrophy with respect to work ethic and broader development. Continuing wealth from the single commodity is taken for granted. The government, flush with wealth, is expected to be generous. When the price of that commodity drops, a government which would remain in power dare not cut back on this generosity.
The materialist theory of history, that all politics and ethics are the expression of economics, is a very simple fallacy indeed. It consists simply of confusing the necessary conditions of life with the normal preoccupations of life, that are quite a different thing. It is like saying that because a man can only walk about on two legs, therefore he never walks about except to buy shoes and stockings.
The essence of the charge made against the modern high-status ideal is that it is guilty of effecting a gigantic distortion of priorities, of elevating to the highest level of achievement a process of material accumulation that should instead be only one of many factors determining the direction of our lives under a more truthful, more broadly defined conception of ourselves.