From the perspective of political science, it is a general truism that people will often pursue strategies that make everybody worse off than if they had worked together, which is otherwise known in game theory as the Prisoner’s Dilemma or, the same, the “sub-Pareto optimal Nash equilibria”.
This is also true with regard to the decision to pursue or not pursue a meaningful spiritual path like the Buddha's. More specifically, the incentive to avoid rebirth and with it, future suffering, is not very much. It ain’t got no sex appeal in other words! On the other hand, the incentive to follow the path of materialism and sensuality is much greater since the rewards appear to be better which are not abstract and difficult.
But is Buddha’s path this bad where the incentive is lackluster? A Buddhist, like myself, would answer that it is not, at least not from the perspective of Mahayana. In fact, I would argue that the joy obtained from pursuing the Buddha’s path far exceeds any joy derived from the acquisition of material wealth. At the same time, this joy proves the joys derived from materialism and sensuality, while attractive and entertaining at best, are never as fulfilling as the Buddha’s path is.
In spite of all the kind words I can say about Buddhism, most people are more incentivized to take up matters that, in the long run, bring harm to others and themselves—and perpetuate their rebirth. To understand the sense of this, we only have to imagine being a child walking through a huge toy store which is filled with toys of every description then ask ourselves what is the incentive to leave it? Is it greater and more attractive than the incentive to stay in the toy store?