21. There is a tendency among Homo sapiens to cornucopian thinking and an exaggerated assessment of human culture. These inclinations became hardwired into our brains during our evolutionary past when the human population was small, technology was relatively unsophisticated and had no lasting impact on the environment. These inclinations are at the foundation of our culture but their validity has now been superseded by the artefacts and impacts of human civilization, multiplied by the sheer number of Homo sapiens . The cornucopian perspective is comforting, comfortable and easy - and therefore seductive - but it is anachronistic in a world where the ecological footprint score exceeds . Biophysical reality will ultimately and always trump human culture. Back to text
In the course of this enquiry I found that much more had been done than I had been aware of, when I first published the Essay. The poverty and misery arising from a too rapid increase of population had been distinctly seen, and the most violent remedies proposed, so long ago as the times of Plato and Aristotle. And of late years the subject has been treated in such a manner by some of the French Economists; occasionally by Montesquieu, and, among our own writers, by Dr. Franklin, Sir James Stewart, Mr. Arthur Young, and Mr. Townsend, as to create a natural surprise that it had not excited more of the public attention.