Letter: Progress to what state?

THE economic system demands that material objects and human bodies are moved as frequently and as rapidly as possible from one place to another. Speed is the rate of increase in distance with respect to time.

Many accept the invalid proposition - Time is money. “All my possessions for a moment of time” were the last words of Elizabeth I.

In 1967, the cult of speed was accelerated by the plan of Dr Sico Mansholt, a chief planner of the European Economic Community. In ‘Our Accelerating Century’, he wrote: “More, further, quicker, richer are the watchwords of present-day society ... there is no alternative.”

The march of time gives man the opportunity to learn by his mistakes. Alas! Man does not seize the opportunity.

Our Transport Secretary announced plans for a £32 billion plus high-speed 2 rail scheme which will allow trains to travel at up to 250 mph. The Transport Secretary boasted that one of the benefits will be to halve the time of the journey between Birmingham and London.

Like the construction of the supersonic airliner Concorde, the construction of the high speed 2 rail system will be an enconomic and environmental disaster.

A Buddhist economist criticised western economic man about his obsession with scientific and technological progress. He asked: “Progress to what state?”

Man knows how to race across the land faster than gale-force winds; man knows how to fly in the air faster than birds; man knows how to land on the moon like aliens.

Incredibly, man does not know how to live on planet Earth because of his devotion to an economic and political system that overrides any devotion to his bio-physical and socio-cultural environments.

Maurice Webb

Downview Road