Eyewitness to History
I wonder if a symptom might be declining participation by the masses, in the "Bread and Circuses" of their day. Somehow the appeal of distraction was finally subsumed by the suffering it was meant to suppress.
In later centuries a similar fate befell the aristocracies of China, Russia, France among others. The belief that class status and authority is a supernatural endowment, evaporates in the heat of suffering.
Immune from and oblivious to the suffering to the very end, were such people as King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette; Tsar Nicholas and Alexandra; Chiang Kai-shek and many colonial rulers around the world.
Technological achievement may have slowed down the cycle of cultural upheaval, but the only the symptoms are treated, and the vaccine of a few extra nickles and dimes from time-to-time is just not doing it anymore. Living expenses, college expenses, transportation expenses, are all going up despite stagnating wages.
The causes are still with us, and they are insulated within their vaults, ivory towers, hillside mansions, mountain retreats and private islands.