I don't mean to sound like a hippie, but I'd blame it as a side effect of consumerism. What I mean by that is that as an effect of consumerism, people's goal in life is to become rich, rather than have a great career or reach any other sort of goal. Personal achievements are replaced by monetary and material gain, and what you have supersedes what you do or who you are. You are only as successful a person as how much money you make. People would do the dumbest job in the world if it paid well.
I think it has to do with the fact that people genuinely believe that their goal in life is to become rich, have fun, good sex, then a wife, kids, all of which are supposed to make you a happy and accomplished man, or so they think. The Los Angeles mentality prevails, satisfy your basest instincts, make money, use it as a leverage to satisfy your basest instincts more, produce offsprings, die.
In this context, genuinely caring about anything else makes you a "nerd" or "geek", which, seen under that angle, is actually a great thing to be. It's just a shame that our culture raises people to produce as much wealth as possible and nothing else. Actually I'm pretty sure you can interpret the movie Matrix as a critique of consumerism, in which people, being in the movie used as batteries, are in our real life money-making "batteries".