I blame what I would term the "Buyer Beware" mentality (especially in economics) for much of what is wrong in America.
It is far from the single cause, but it seems certain to me that is is a contributing factor. And it's much more far-reaching than simply abusing customers. Businesses treat their employees and societies often even worse. And this extends to how people relate to their neighbors, and then how governments relate to international peoples.
To me, the story of APR seems to highlight so very much of this. That's as in APR Financing. Annual Percentage Rate, and how and why it came to be.
Edgar S. Fraley says:
"Outside a few social scientists, there does not appear to be an awareness that there is anything wrong. In many parts of the world, the natives are not aware that there is any connection between their malaria and the mosquito--or their typhoid and a polluted water supply. And although our addicts, delinquents, criminals, and insane cost us billions annually, it has never occurred to us that these "diseases" grow out of our polluted social soil. Need we be surprised at the criminal and delinquent who steals and robs, when cheating and lying and misrepresentation are all but universal in the respectable business community?"
"We have the knowledge, if not the desire, to correct the conditions that produce wrecks out of potentially productive, creative people. And the cost of producing creative productive...
I can understand people who are passionate about less government interference in all aspects of life, including business. Ideally, there is no need. But sadly, oversight is obviously needed, as the irresponsible actions of businessmen leading to our current crisis attest most eloquently.