[E]xtreme wealth ruins a culture. Spain, France, Britain, America, in that order all suffer from creating elites during time of plenty that attempt to perpetuate and expand the institutions that they occupy even after the period of prosperity has ended. Worse, formerly hard working people are lifted up out of the peasant, working and middle classes, and protect their status as well – collapsing the culture of industry that made them able to afford the luxury and imprisoning them in perpetual maximization of rents. Leaving behind a vapid pretense of false signals.
The average Brit spends his life trying to find a way to feel morally superior to someone else. The average american tries to find a way to feel economically and meritocratic-ally superior. Pretense reigns in the nation in decline.