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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

CONTROL   AND   INITIATIVE
I come now to my third head, conservation.
Conservation, like security and justice, demands
action by the State. I mean by Cúconservation" not
only the preservation of ancient monuments and
beauty-spots, the upkeep of roads and public utilities,
and so on. These things are done at present, except
in time of war. What I have chiefly in mind is the
preservation of the world's natural resources. This is
a matter of enormous importance, to which very
little attention has been paid. During the past hun-
dred and fifty years mankind has used up the raw
materials of industry and the soil upon which agri-
culture depends, and this wasteful expenditure of
natural capital has proceeded with ever-increasing
velocity. In relation to industry, the most striking
example is oil. The amount of accessible oil in the
world is unknown, but is certainly not unlimited;
already the need for it has reached the point at
which there is a risk of its contributing to bringing
about a third world war. When oil is no longer
available in large quantities, a great deal will have to
be changed in our way of life. If we try to substitute
atomic energy, that will only result in exhaustion of
the available supplies of uranium and thorium. Indus-
try as it exists at present depends essentially upon the
expenditure of natural capital, and cannot long con-
tinue in its present prodigal fashion.
Even more serious, according to some authorities,
is the situation in regard to agriculture, as set forth
with great vividness in Mr. Vogt's RoaJ to SumraL
93