Per Occult thinking: Materialism emboldens the force of Ahriman (who rules the force of logic). When given too much power Ahriman seeks to stamp out individuality.
In turn, as people grow more and more disillusioned (because of economic hardship or lack of options, for e.g.) this emboldens the forces of Lucifer (who rules imagination). Imagination is good but not when it descends into fantasy and decadence.
Materialism perverts logic and dulls feelings.
Rudolf Steiner believed in the “Christ Impulse/Christ Consciousness” – A force meant to keep the pendulum between Logic and Imagination in check. (See also Mystery of Golgatha). In his opinion World War 1 was materialism confronting its Karma.