It seems in the middle of the 20th century or so we set about putting together systems and programs that solved problems, and we were reasonably sincere about it, and some of those programs worked reasonably well, for example to educate people, to alleviate poverty at least a bit and especially to address the denial of opportunity to non-white people. Ever since the 80s or so, we've done our best to subvert and divert those programs back to rewarding the wealthy and powerful and away from their original purpose. Very effectively it would seem.
In particular, we seem to be getting very good at abstracting processes so the economic inputs get soaked up by the administrators of various programs. In other words, the people who can abstract the process or program - hike it up one level of abstraction by focusing on the middlemen or managers of the process - capture the gains.
Another example is higher education - when the economy boomed education got more expensive but people could afford it because the economy was expanding, jobs were available, and education was seen as a public good and thus a good use of public money. It seems in many cases much of the additional cost went to additional layers of administration. In the current time of economic retrenching, austerity, and a dim view of public financing of education, we frequently cut academic department and keep the administrative layers, generally, because admins are powerful.
For tech people, there is one silver lining - the gold rush of patentable innovation keeps many research labs at universities at least reasonably afloat. Meet the workforce needs and all that! But the dream of a good quality higher education for all who want it recedes at a time of greatest need.
Education and workman's comp are somewhat related - workers are under great pressure: not just workman's comp is diminished, but unions have been weakened and as a result, worker protections have also weakened. Additionally, workers have lost economic power because of globalization's explicit expansion of the workforce and concomitant wage competition, and now workers face, finally, the prospect of many types of jobs disappearing forever due to the cruel/beneficent and ever-increasing capability of automation and AI to become more and more effective. (Any wonder income and wealth inequality has skyrocketed?) We need an excellent education system, and not one narrowly vocationally focused because, first, technical skill requirements are starting to evolve faster than people can be retrained in them, and second, because in a time of great change, we need people prepared to think unusually creatively about how they can sustain themselves, and thrive and participate in defining the new society that is emerging.
More on many of these topics in the future, for sure.