ABSTRACT

In the context of ‘business as usual’, the social and cultural risks of unfettered economic growth have not substantially come into the picture any more than the ecological risks of it have. The very philosophy of economic growth is predicated on the assumption of limitless resources – in other words, on denial of the fact that we live within ecological limits. Nor does that philosophy recognize the interconnectedness and interdependence of ecological, social and cultural dimensions. Several powerful contributing factors have been at play, including the common (although by no means universal) human propensity for short-term thinking and immediate satisfaction of one’s needs and desires, the belief that the Earth’s ecosystems will always recover from the destructive pressures human demands place on them, and the faith in the ‘technological fix’, which (as we pointed out in the previous chapter) has lulled many into the false expectation that cleverly engineered solutions can always be found for whatever environmental problems we bring about.