The roots of our time’s troubles are ecological, deeper than current economic manifestations. Anguished posterity will call this 21st century “the bottleneck century.”
Occupationally specialized people today are necessarily dependent upon an intricate web of exchange relations. Ultimately selfdestructive, that web fosters myopic preoccupations, making us mutually predatory. Even when functioning normally—and not in a collapsed condition, as currently—this system of relations is pervasively dehumanizing. It tempts even the wisest and most civicminded to favor “remedial” policies that can worsen the real predicament.
A basic trio of disturbing trends—humans having become so numerous, so ravenous, and so shortsighted—has made the nature of today’s human prospect far more dire than most policymakers dare acknowledge.
Recognition of, and adequate adaptation to, the deteriorating biogeochemical foundations of human life have been impeded, so human societies (even our own) are almost certainly going to act in ways that will make an inevitably difficult future unnecessarily worse.
About William R. Catton
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Published May 6, 2009
Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math.