Palaeolithic hunters who learnt how to kill two mammoths instead of one had made progress. Those who learnt how to kill 200 by driving a whole herd over a cliff had made too much.
Many of the great ruins that grace the deserts and jungles of the earth are monuments to progress traps, the headstones of civilisations which fell victim to their own success. The twentieth-centurys runaway growth has placed a murderous burden on the planet.
A Short History of Progress argues that this modern predicament is as old as civilisation. Only by understanding the patterns of progress and disaster that humanity has repeated since the Stone Age can we recognise the inherent dangers, and, with luck, and wisdom, shape its outcome.