From the beginning, SPAM® was unique—it stood alone in its low price, convenienc

Haven't read it.
Might be worth reading.
People do spend a lot of time & money on self-aggrandisement.

This is partly because nobody really owns anything apart from themselves, legally speaking most property is just an entitlement subject to significant legal regulation, rather than something you actually own to the point of being allowed to modify or transform that object according to your own arbitrary action. Where it comes to companies or real estate, this is made extremely obvious to a person, but even portable consumer durables such as the iphone you are contractually obligated not to modify beyond apple's factory seal. We're not all the way to being sent to jail for wearing non-standard uniforms, but that does go on certain places.
Quite often safety is an argument, and you're not allowed to do lots of things because they're abominably dangerous. The world is becoming increasingly hazardous on an industrial scale.

It's not so much that people are unduly interested in themselves, they're just not allowed much influence over the environment (these days). The self is the legal limit of influence. Signatures are one of the most powerful administrative objects we have, not maps or scientific data.

The problem, really, is that we have no proven ethical method to work in committees accountable to the public, or achieve mutual group governance of the environment.

That's what features such as parliament are meant to bring about, but it doesn't work like that at the moment. 

Hence we have corporations, bureaucratic organisations with ultra-simplified objective value systems (profit seeking) to the point where we equate profit with success, or success with morality. Economic growth is good. 

The internal politics of any large institution is naturally corrupted by the vested interests of the subjects.

Most people are not on a directorial level, nor are the directors even typically in a position to radically alter the agenda of a company or institution. For that matter, nor are the shareholders in that position.

The legal structure in which we live places the individual in an annexe where they consider only their vested interests.

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