There is a superb article about prosperity and the market by Hanauer and Beinhocker in Democracy Journal:
In summary, it addresses the following problem. Given that markets are not perfectly efficient, and people are not perfectly rational, and money is a poor measure of prosperity, how do you measure prosperity, and how do you increase it? They suggest solutions are the markers for prosperity, not financial wealth. So Western society is prosperous because it has medical solutions, transport solutions etc etc.
All very nice, and I basked in a glow of intellectual satisfaction as I read it.
Then in the comments section, I saw the following by a chap called George Wells:
The article fails to consider the effect of sociopaths and their behavior. The sociopaths have convinced us that corporations, and by implication, all business has a singular purpose: to make the capitalist more wealthy. Anything, and everything that stands in the way of pure profit is wrong even if it means delivering harmful products or not producing beneficial ones because they are not sufficiently profitable.
Why is it that humans reward sociopathic behavior? That, to me, is the real question.
Yeah, George! You hit the nail on the head.
(If you think his judgement is too harsh, go read Ben Goldacre.)
I think the challenge for us chattering classes in the behavioural science arena is to solve the problem of sociopathy in the workplace and the family.