I don't know about other countries, but I do feel that what is undeniably lost in this country is the will and ability to see and endeavor for distant things.
Things were different at different times. I hear that in the postwar era, people were craving for knowledge. When the Iwanami Shoten, publisher of quality books for the academic and the academically-oriented general readership, released the first series of readings, people lined up in front of the bookstores. They were so eagerly waiting for the first drop of enlightenment after years of darkness and oppression, and it showed. Time flies like an arrow, and now many publishers in Japan decry they cannot sell quality books, while bestsellers of marginal or superficial values crowd the bookshelves.
Gresham's law states that bad money drives out good. The key assumption behind it is that both good money and bad money are legal tenders, and should be accepted in the exchanges in the market. It is true that both cheap knowledge and profound are exchanged in today's society as if they are equivalent, as long as they can lead to revenues and sales.
We all live in a market economy, and deploring the status quo adds nothing towards amending the situation. It is interesting to consider under what sociological conditions do people start for aiming at distant ideals, though.