I have something of the same thoughts, Methuselah: it feels as though we lived through a post WW2 period of great (if naive) hope, with the sense that there would be peace and progress. I'm not sure that I blame the established media for not warning us otherwise: they were times of increasing prosperity for a number of countries, and where there were signs all was not well, in retrospect they were there for all of us to see. Perhaps we found it better and easier to be optimistic?I am very disappointed that the "certainty" that we felt of being on the good side of history has been such an illusion. It is an illusion foisted on us by the established media. We had our first inkling that such was the case in the 60's when we were told that the Vietnam war was to keep us safe against the otherwise irresistible southward march of communism. Overwhelmingly it has been the rise of the www and its uncanny ability to link people around the world that is able to "lift the scales from our eyes". We discovered that every justification for war, at least since 1945, has been a cynical ploy to open up or maintain market share for one system or the other (oil being the great game changer). The story of Boeing's actions, slowly bleeding out, is just another example of how information is kept secret. Being able to read widely on the net enables a clear picture to form and the major players are powerless against this.
I cannot imagine how Boeing couldn't see the potential to destroy trust in a (formally perhaps) great product. A headline that I saw yesterday stated that the assembly line workers have stories to tell of shoddy manufacturing on the 787 line. I'm unsure of the truth but unsettling is the feeling one gets. Unlike Facthunter, I spend some time in the cabin of 787's.
I agree that the www has blown the lid off much of this: it has become very difficult to keep anythings secret, and so propaganda now has a very short half-life. But I think the www has also aided and accelerated aspects of what we now have: a sort of winners-take-all goldrush. And while I am not a religious man, I think we have moved away from creeds that at least offered the assumption of decent behaviours, and nothing has filled the void that left. I think that's part of it too.
Um. And now I'll get back to fitting my instrument panel...