The Implications of Ecological Limits to Development in Terms of Expectations and Aspirations in Developed and Less Developed Countries

  • Edwin Brooks


Human history is littered with prophecies of doom, and the more portentous soothsayers find a receptive audience. Thus Malthus gained masochistic immortality in 1798, as did Marx and Engels half a century later. Today, of course the entrails can be more precisely quantified, but it is doubtful if the modern sense of an impending ecological catastrophe is ultimately due to system dynamics and computer models. More likely it springs from the ancient sense of lost innocence which Genesis related to expulsion from the (godly) natural order, plus the alienation of man from man which Marx related to class deformations of human community. Expelled from the Garden, carrying the mark of Cain, and valued as commodities on the labour market, it is small wonder that we behave in an anguished and somewhat schizoid way. We are simultaneously predators and social animals, forming friendships in order to combat our enemies. We assume we are the lords of creation in unfettered command of the planet, yet throughout history we have desperately tried to placate the huge forces of a hostile nature. We have developed, through speech, a unique ability to co-operate with other individuals of the species, yet even our linguistically homogeneous nation states show that we can be just as ruthless towards one another as towards the brute order and our habitat in general.


Human Ecology Ecological Constraint Ecological Crisis Ecological Limit Class Deformation 
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© Plenum Publishing Company Ltd. 1974

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  • Edwin Brooks

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