The basic problem facing an industrialized society is that, while we treat stock reserves formed through geological processes as if they were limitless, the natural replenishment of such resources lags far behind the rate at which human beings have consumed them over the past three or four centuries. At the same time, levels of pollution are seriously damaging the Earth’s water and biological cycles. In other words, the cost of human ‘progress’ has been greatly underestimated and net progress is far less than is commonly believed.