Jean-François Gariépy has written a facebook post about leaving his research position at Duke University. The main reason, he says, is that he is going to be a father, and wishes to devote more time to his child. I do wish Dr. Gariepy well. He has made a choice that is hard to make, and seems to be doing so with clear eyes.
He has a set of secondary reasons:
Other reasons have to do with research academia itself. ... I found scientists to be more preoccupied by their own survival in a very competitive research environment than by the development of a true understanding of the world.
By creating a highly-competitive environment that relies on the selection of researchers based on their "scientific productivity," as it is referred to, we have populated the scientific community with what I like to call "chickens with no head," that is, researchers who can produce multiple scientific articles per year, none of which having any significant impact on our understanding of the world.
Some of the problems he cites are:
 a high number of scientific articles with fraudulent data, due to the pressures of the "publish or perish" system, makes it impossible to know if a recent discovery is true or not;  a large portion of the time of a scientist is spent just writing grants so that they can be submitted to 5-10 agencies in the hope that one of them will accept; and  our scientific publication system has become so corrupted that it is almost impossible to get a scientific article published in an important journal without talking one-on-one with the editor before submitting the article.
These are long excerpts, but I wanted to make sure I was not inadvertently slanting his words.
I do not doubt that all of this is true, or seems true, to him. But this is not everyone's experience, although the discouragement is too frequent amongst human beings of all stripes and professions.
Everyone is preoccupied with their survival. Sorry, is this is any different from trying to be an ethical, honorable lawyer or a doctor (yes, they do exist)? Or being a part-time single-parent worker in the service industry with three children in danger of being laid off? The world of scientific research is competitive, but most of the western world is, too.
The list of three problems is certainly a function of the lab one chooses. That #2 plagues nearly everyone in my current and past departments, tenured and untenured, is the state of the world. But not everyone feels this way. I have a friend, untenured, but near. She just got a 5 year r01. She has a grad student, a postdoc and a good collaborator. She is not chasing funding now. In 3.5 years, will she be back in the same position? Probably, but for now she can do her research and work at what she loves. People do get funded. Some people do not run big labs and one grant is enough to make their operation go. I do not deny that its hard. I do not deny that it provokes anxiety and unhappiness and stress. But my friends who are in business for themselves, as graphic designers or pub owners, look at this day in and day out. They still have to put food on the table for their kids, but say its the price for independence.
#1 (fraudulent research) and #3 (needing to know the editor) are not universal truths. In fact, I have seen almost nothing in my field that makes me think fraud. I do not think that I am naive. I review (although I try to avoid it) for the major journals in my subdiscipline. I've had a number of collaborators over the years. There is a lot of schlock that gets published. I know who rushes to get something off, and hasn't quite done the right analyses, or pushes the results further than they warrant. Or doesn't bother to find the right context (ie my work) for their results. But its not fraud. As for knowing the editor, I publish regularly, and the only editor I know is an old friend in another field in a journal quite distant. Perhaps the difference is that I don't publish in SNC.
Which brings us to the chicken without a head syndrome. Don't insult me that way. Your PI may be chicken-heading it, but that's not the world I live in, nor many of my colleagues. I know people doing clinical work that may not be as flash as gene-therapy, but it is making a difference for how people with a stroke learn to use their hands again. I know ecologists who are understanding the interactions among bacteria and health in mammals living in the field. It may be bunny-hopping, but understanding how rabbit locomotor skills, not just speed, but agility, relate to survival across a boreal winter is adding something important to our knowledge. How fucking dare you say that this work being done't doesn't add to knowledge.
Do you only read the science in your field? Do you only see the posters/talks at meetings that are in your corner of the field? If you are a neuroscientist, go to ExBio or SICB or Ecology/Evolution meetings. Yeah, they are expensive, but get a bit of your work, and think of its bigger implications and submit it elsewhere. Go talk to someone else. The world is wide, minnow, and there are oceans you haven't swum in yet.