I suppose a lot of writers have doubted and criticized the vision of "progress." I happen to have picked up a library book called "A Short History of Progress" by Ronald Write, one of the most eloquent among those doubters and critics.. By coincidence, I am currently watching a documentary on television featuring an interview with Ronald Wright, among others, and that film is entitled "Surviving Progress." This film was first aired in 2011. Following the fears put forward over the decades, this film shows that the doubts and criticisms are stronger because societies and the global socio-economic system has been carrying on and the problems of progress have gotten so big and dangerous that the survival of humanity and the planet is in dire straits.
A fellow activist of mine is an economist who assures me that the standard of living continues to rise around the world, according to basic criteria including morbidity and mortality rates, access to education and health care, relative family incomes, state wealth, and production and construction figures. Okay, but the documentary points out the damage to resource bases, upon which real wealth is dependent, no matter how much profit can be calculated from purely financial dealings. That is the destruction of the land and waters, and global warming that have been occurring directly because of resource extraction and so-called "development." What real success in human terms has taken place is being challenged by environmental degradation and militarization. Another great problem is the extent of militarization; weapons development and use goes on at an alarming pace, and extreme conflicts causing genocides and destruction of local cultures and economies are proliferating. War is huge business, and it is entwined with the financial, electronics, manufacturing and energy industries. Business moguls and the politicians that support them often prop up repressive and corrupt leaders; the film gives the example of Mobutu in the Congo, where most people live in appalling conditions. Finally, even my economist chum points out that economic and social degradation is happening in the richest countries, where the gap between the rich and poor is wider and wider, and extreme poverty can be found among the most vulnerable sectors.
We have a lot of progress to undo and rectify. People must make radical changes. To do that, they must acquire more political power and then institute fundamental changes to the way humans lives, consume and produce.