A short history on progress chpt1-3

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International Development Studies

A Short History of Progress by Ronald WrightChpt1 Gaugins Questions Gaugin French painter late 1890s driven by search to find the savageprimordial man humanity in the raw the elusive essence of our kind y demanded new answers to the riddle of existence 3 questions where do we come from What are we Where are we goingthird question is what book aims to answer if we see clearly what we are and what we have done we can recognise what we are likely to do Page 2Our civilisation is a great ship steaming atspeed into the future by reading her compass understanding her design her safety record and the abilities of her crew we can plot a wiseer course for the dooms looming ahead in other words use what we know from experience to steer away from problemsshipwrecks in the past because we came to know and improve what we know from experienceidea on page 4 y The future of everything we have accomplished since our intelligence evolved will depend on the wisdom of our actions over the next few yearspage 3Our technological culture measures human progress y technologywe no longer give much thought to moral progress except to assume it goes hand in hand with the material page 4Progresshas hardened into an ideology a secular religion page 4Progress has an internal logic that can lead beyond reason to catastrophe page 5eg creation and evolution of explosives led to unparalleled catastrophes too much progressWeapons technology was merely the first are of human progress to reach a road block by threatening todestroy the planet page 6In both its capitalist and communist versions the promise of modernity was progress without limit and without end page 6Collapse of Soviet Union led many to believe capitalism which embodied and campaigned for progress was really the only way of progress after all y Francis Fukuyama which wright refers to as nave triumphalism declared that capitalism and democracy were the end of history which strengthened a belief that those who have not chosen progress should do so for their own goodembodies progress in resemblance to missionary projects of past empires Page7Most immediate threat is our own wastepollutionproblem of scale how long can biosphere withstand it Page 7Material progress creates problems that are soluble only by more progressdevil is scale because a good bang can be useful a better bang can end the world Page 7 y The devil of scalewho transforms benefits into traps has plagued us since the stone agetipping the balance between cleverness and recklessness and between need and greed Page 8In the fates of civilisationswhich fell victim to their own success in progresslie the instructive lessons for our own
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