I doubt the leaders have ever really known much more than the average man. They have access to to all the expertise but slave under the same delusions and share the same beliefs as we all do. Individuals and groups have always conspired to control, manipulate, and impoverish large numbers of people but they're normally held in check by the true leaders who normally have the greatest good in mind and will strike down systems that destroy to enrich a few.
We are eating the future and only the few grow fat. Waste grows yearly.
Many individuals don't attend to things outside their immediate concerns. This is only natural and many of them do extremely well while their concerns focus on family and their own betterment and actualization. We all tend to see only what we expect and everything else is invisible to us.
Man fears the pyramid, time fears man.