by Max Musson
WE LIVE IN a world in which many people have a dark sense of foreboding. Particularly in Western European countries where we have experienced better times within living memory, there is a feeling that many facets of our lives are deteriorating and have been relentlessly deteriorating for several decades at least.
In material terms we appear to be better off than ever before and yet the material benefits themselves do not seem to adequately compensate for less welcome changes and the sense that somehow our civilisation is in decay. Also the greater awareness of environmental and demographic factors means that we are conscious of the fact that we in the West are ‘living beyond our means’ and beyond the means of our planet to sustain indefinitely. We are told that mankind is already consuming natural resources at a rate faster than our planet can renew them and therefore there exists a sense of guilt in one’s enjoyment of our apparently greater material wealth.