Hoplite--I'd heard of the experiment before, but I hadn't read this write-up before. This quote really caught my eye:
"No matter how sophisticated we considered ourselves to be, once the number of individuals capable of filling roles greatly exceeded the number of roles, only violence and disruption of social organization can follow. ... Individuals born under these circumstances will be so out of touch with reality as to be incapable even of alienation. Their most complex behaviors will become fragmented. Acquisition, creation and utilization of ideas appropriate for life in a post-industrial cultural-conceptual-technological society will have been blocked."
It seems to me that the subprime mortgage crisis, automation, and globalization may be doing something similar to America and western Europe right now. There aren't enough professional careers to go around in societies where identity is built upon the career. The number of individuals exceeds the number of roles.