... This brings us to the philosophical question of whether the ends ever justify the means. Are dramatic losses of life or of quality of life over the last few hundred years among some people justified by modest gains in other parts of the world? To put it another way, is progress something that can be measured "per capita"?Proponents of western society’s recent achievements seem to argue yes. “The past was bad,” they might say, “but we’re gaining ground. We simply need to just keep on doing what we’re doing.” But, much of these modest gains in global equity and massive gains in elite wealth have come at the expense of our planetary life support system. Is anyone really better off if the planet is on the brink of ecological collapse?