There are two questions the average American is being forced to ask that will eventually kill off the global economic system if we don't evolve past them.
Instead of creating the best products and services we can, the ultimate goal has become shareholder value. Add to this the need to increase shareholder value significantly year over year and this question leads to a "good enough" attitude. Built in obsolescence, cheaper products to enable the average American to get more and more, and retirements based on shareholder value rather than excellence are all part of the unsustainable system that will eventually become extinct.
2. How can I do the least harm?
Whether its with casting our votes in a two party system, trying to be "green" in ways that increase shareholder value or raising our children in a consumer society, we have all lowered the bar from "How can I do the most good?" to "How can I do the least harm?"
Feel free to correct me here as I'm not an economist, but this is the struggle I'm having. To evolve is monumental, but in my humble opinion, until we change the questions we'll never find an answer that creates a sustainable future for not just the U.S., but the world.