Humanity could be facing the next great extinction event wrought by our only real enemies greed and avarice, yet most people would gleefully dance over the edge of the cliff than give up too many of their shiny toys made of raped Earth and the souls of sweat shop workers.
The production “cycle” of your average piece of chain store merchandise involves an unsustainable level of resource and energy consumption before it can be mass marketed in as disposable form as possible. The end result of the this “cycle” is to end up in a land fill that covers the scares of our previous generations endeavors. On occasion these items are transformed into more products for another round or two, but the end result is always the same. Planed obsolescence fuels a capitalistic juggernaut that strip mines everything from metals to fish and blows the tops of unfathomably old mountains in order to get at the next commodity to strengthen the bottom line. As the bulk of society fattens it self on the resources of future generations, a segment of society leaches of wealth and capitol at a rate unseen in history. Inequality and poverty thrive even in the richest places in the world and the poorest live lives that are unimaginable to the majority of people in a country that is soothed into sleeping well at night by the light of the latest iToy. The cities and towns of America have become breeding grounds of apathy and ignorance and even those with good intentions lack the strength of numbers to achieve the scope with which their fellow man has damned them.
First world nations enjoy an addiction to a life style that has spread inequality like a cancer and, as any other addiction, gives a sense of pleasure before the inevitable downfall. It's a life style that depends on an abundance of cheap labor and an infinite supply of resources to feed it, and as such, was doomed to the inevitable boom and bust cycle. Third world nations are exploited with a sophistication never dreamed of by the conquerors of old. The end of slavery with the coming of modernity simply replaced a direct evil with a subtle and insidious new one, that of debt. Wage slavery thrives in poor countries just as wage inequality thrives in rich ones and the poorest peoples of the world are nothing more than cogs in a very sophisticated machine. A machine that makes so much so easy and so fast that before you know it you've given up that wish can never be repaired, replaced, or replenished.
However all hope is not lost to us anymore than it's ever been and the power of capital has always been formed at the hands of the workers that drive the economy. No system of government, no matter how corrupt, can survive without the apathy or consent of those who keep the system running every day. The questions that face us are many. How much inequality do people put up with before reacting? How many busts can capitalism support before there are no booms? Will environmental changes bring about ruin in unpredictable ways or will humanity survive the trials ahead? Within the murky destiny of mankind lies a curtain truth. That apathy and ignorance in favor of creature comforts and a less frighting life will likely leave us with neither.