Thank you for this A2A.
There are many ways to approach this question. Here are a few that may be fruitful for you to pursue:
1. In evolutionary terms, "moral degradation" is simply antisocial behavior that spreads to more and more people in a given circumstance or environment. This would be the opposite of "prosocial" behavior, which many researchers have proposed is an evolved trait that has helped us survive as a species since we started walking upright.
2. In broad spiritual terms shared by many esoteric traditions, "moral degradation" is either the amplification of the individual ego to the detriment of compassion and kindness, or a willful resistance to the charitable inclinations that result from relinquishing an egoic self.
3. In equally broad psychological terms, "moral degradation" is a developed or innate inability to access or experience emotions that regulate destructive behavior - emotions like empathy, guilt, trust and love - that then results in...well...destructive behaviors.
4. In an historical context, what has often been referred to as "moral degradation" is the abandonment of practical disciplines necessary for individual or collective survival, in favor of excessive hedonism, animalism, or impulsive self-indulgence.
As to the factors that have contributed most to moral degradation, I suspect the following have been the most influential:
1. The elevation of greed, acquisitiveness, selfishness, indifference and exploitation that is so feverishly celebrated in market capitalism.
2. Institutions that enforce dogmatic, tribalistic groupthink to maintain their own power.
3. Self-absorbed individualism (atomism) that does not appreciate the social context in which it exists (and without which it wouldn't exist at all).
4. The persisting confusion and ignorance about the relationship (or lack thereof) between highly destructive and disingenuous "religiosity," and highly constructive authentic spirituality.
5. Affluence that has not been earned, has no awareness of the negative externalities that have sustained it, and sidesteps moral accountability because of its position of privilege in society.
6. Resource scarcity without any hope of changing the situation.
And finally, for examples, just look to what gets the most attention in mass media, as this often illustrates a "moral breakdown" that corresponds to much of what I have defined above.
My 2 cents.
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