It's impossible to quantify, Moonie. I was a poor kid growing up in a slum on the edge of a mill-town and my father had to work every hour he could get to keep us in food and clothes. Many of my friends whose mothers had been abandoned were trying to live on town aid, and they were 'way worse off than us. An old fellow across the road gave us a hand up by offering my dad his house at a give-away price when his daughter moved out and his wife was long-dead. I got the crappiest room in the house, but I glommed onto the books that he left. Verne, Dickens, Hawthorne, Twain, etc, etc. I read myself to sleep every night with a (cheaply bound) library that was to die for.Yep. One thing I sometimes am not able to discern very well is how much selfishness/materialism has actually increased, and how much of it is just that I'm exposed more often now to a different socioeconomic class than that with which I grew up. I grew up around blue collar workers, though did go to school with some "spoiled rich kids" who I really disliked because they were so stuck up. A gajillion years of education later, I'm now in the white collar group, and while I'm not rich, do earn enough to be in the group of people who I considered rich when I was growing up (it's all relative I guess). So, I'm not sure if I see more selfishness because I'm surrounded by more of those "spoiled rich kids" now, or if there really is an increase in spoiled kids overall.