It's well documented (not to mention clearly obvious) that most of us are the targets of psychological and chemical warfare, aimed at getting us to constantly want new things and services; and once we get them, to become dependent on them so the people who provide them can acquire more power. So we can continue to get more, most of us must get jobs, which themselves are things that empower others, enabling us to acquire some power ourselves as soldiers in the use of such warfare against other people.
Because new things and activities require matter and energy, we use more matter and energy, which we take from the rest of the world. Energy can't be reused, so it is lost after we use it. The matter is either reused, stored in forms that cannot be used for many years, or is so toxic that it harms and kills as it circulates through the biosphere. We are so inefficient in the way we get and process matter and energy that the vast majority of what we liberate from the world ends up never being used.
And so the world dies; because other species require some of what we take so that they can survive, and many are killed by the toxins we create. Originally part of Nature's healthy cycle of reuse and regeneration, we have created and eagerly participate in a process that creates waste and death, all for a brief feeling of control which we believe – wrongly – that we deserve, and can exercise without excessive harm to ourselves and the few people we might still care about.
Much of the harm we do comes from great power multiplying the misjudgments flowing from our natural ignorance, fed by a thirst for more power and an arrogant belief that our ignorance is less than it is. We all have "blind spots," gaps in our awareness of both what's around us and the chains of causality that determine the impacts of our actions. Those of us who believe that such blind spots don't exist, or that some omnipotent parent-figure will protect them from the worst consequences of their ignorance, are prone to do whatever they can, limited only by the number of direct restraints they can eliminate.
Common sense suggests it is better to collaborate with people who don't share our unique blind spots, communicating so that we can collectively have a more accurate view of the world, and work together to explore and share perceptions of the reality we aren't collectively aware of. Such collaboration doesn't lend itself well to focused collection of personal power, so the people who desire that power must sabotage it. To do so, they convince others that they have a set of critical insights and abilities that no one else can have or share without depending on them. This fundamental deception is the essence of manufactured demand. When the power-seekers inevitably reach the limits of their ability to meet the demand, they first try to maintain an illusion that the supply really exists, then look for ways to blame others so their fundamental deception can remain. Even if the deception is exposed, the demand is already in place, so someone else will step in to meet it; this protects the self-images of the people who were originally deceived, because they can blame the originator without accepting responsibility for their own weakness.
This suggests that to break the death spiral we are in, we must promote collaboration over competition, knowledge over power. This begins with honestly questioning our most basic assumptions about ourselves and the world around us, and enlisting others to do the same.
We must accept that we are all limited in awareness and ability while trying to increase both; and that this is not intrinsically a bad thing. What is bad is to cause harm or death, or risk doing so by increasing our personal power without exposing and offsetting our limitations to match their potential impact, preferably by working in partnership with anyone or anything subject to that impact.
Never accepting that we know everything we need to know is key to our survival, yet we must temper its acquisition with the costs to other people and other species. We should proceed with a healthy respect for the interrelationships between everything and everyone, whether we are aware of them or not; here is where spirituality can have a positive effect, minimizing damage until knowledge provides surer guidance.
People who hide information, lie, or advocate doing either, should be considered a threat to the general welfare, and treated accordingly until they stop. Those who actively manipulate people into doing things that are unhealthy or potentially unhealthy to them or others need to be exposed and restricted in their ability to do so.
Finally, convincing people to acquire something while providing access to the full set of existing knowledge of its costs and benefits is the only legitimate way to generate demand; where gaps exist, they should be identified. If something is too complex for responsible judgment to be made about whether to acquire it, then it probably shouldn't be acquired – or made.