Almost all bad things now are consequences of bad choices in the past.
On the other hand - we keep getting presented with choices.
It works like this: The bad choices of the past make it ever-harder to make good choices in the present - the immediate and predictable cost of making good choices escalates (because of the cumulative bad choices of the past).
But we do still keep getting choices.
9/11 was a moment when the West had a choice. There was a choice between continuing on the preceding path, the path determined by past choices, the path which led to 9/11. That was the easiest choice because there were the fewest immediate disadvantages.
And there was a choice to reverse the decisions of the past which had led to 9/11. But this choice would present immediate costs and problems.
Definite (albeit finite) short term costs could not be contemplated - even if they averted long term catastrophe.
(And anyway, they reason - the present is for sure, but the future is contingent. Maybe bad things won't happen, after all? Or maybe we can adjust to the badness? When all is said and done - what is 'good' and bad' anyway? - merely a state of mind...)
We continued to march towards civilizational destruction.
The Minority mortgage meltdown/ credit crunch was a moment when the West had a choice. There was a choice between making minimal immediate repairs then continuing on the path which led to the Crash; and a choice to accept moderate but significant short term costs in order to reverse the direction of travel. But short term costs are definite, and the future is not-wholly knowable. There was no hestitation - indeed, there seemed (to the rulers) to be no choice! So - we will re-inflate the housing bubble, if we can; increase international financial inter-dependancy, increase the size of institutions, increase political influence on the economy - and continue to march towards economic destruction.
Such choices have been presenting themselves to the West for hundreds of years. In the past, sometimes the right choice was made, more usually the wrong choice.
However, each time a choice came around, the costs of making the right choice were greater, and our courage was less.
Sometimes, in the past, the right choice was made because these societies had the resources and capability to take a long-view. People had courage.
We still get presented with choices - nationally and individually. But now the West always seem to make the wrong choices, because we now lack the resources and capability to bear finite and short term costs in order to avert long term disaster.
We are all cowards now. Cowards cannot make a right choice; only the expedient choice.