Just a thought, but I wonder if the increase in autism spectrum disorders (central nervous system oversensitivity and incoherence) may also contribute to the increasing isolation and individualism as part of our changing environmental factors (social, chemical and nutritional). We often see scientists doing research into collapsed civilizations and finding that environmental changes were contributing factors (usually under the assumption that food became scarce), but we don’t really consider that nutrition issues can affect psychology of the populations so they fail to adapt cooperatively. In other words, we become more afraid and mistrustful of each other as we become hungrier and more competitive; a vicious circle in any competitive social system. “A competitive society will always create fewer and fewer winners and more and more losers.” -Wendell Berry
When resources become scarce (artificially by price or naturally by climate), people will only believe harder in competitive actions, rather than learning to cooperate: unless they are given ways that make it easier to cooperate than to compete. That’s what local community systems can do. Unfortunately, the most common local activities are now competitive sports run by bullies. Hardly conducive to strong community diversification and adaptability.