I have taken several minute steps in the last few posts to put humans in proper context, and to show how the many invisible layers have been built up over the millennia as the human specie struggle for survival in this world.
I must say what a woeful lot we humans are! It is the madness of crowds, the whole colossal folk dashing here and there migrating and spread like cancer in search of its own preservation but only find itself painted in the corner. That paint is the deforested environment which becomes uninhabitable to all but sand and a few lizards.
The race out of the garden of eden into the big wide and wild world has set the rate of growth of the human population against (a) the rate of growth of agricultural output and (b) the rate of decline of the forest and wild life. Thomas Malthus was right. The size of human population on earth will be limited by agricultural output ultimately. That limit may be a long stretch away. In the meantime, there is a dynamic interaction between the two: population surge following new discovery of food production which encourages the population to overshoot food supply, adjusted by hunger and disease and famine.
Probably with such a history embedded in our genes, we find ourselves unwittingly living in perpetual fear of inadequate food. This great search for certainty in an uncertain world creates the world and society as we know it to be today. The incessant urge to save and investment in the future that is already here.
In the world of goods, to save is to set aside some portion of the current output for future consumption such as by salting or sugaring or fermentation. That preserved food can actually be eaten tomorrow when it become rainy. There is no waste. When there is overproduction in the current period, and when the preserved food is in huge surplus, the most logical response is to take a break from work, do some maintenance work, and spend the leisure drinking and dancing and telling stories - activities which are collectively called "culture." There is a constant adjustment between output and consumption and saving and investment.
If food is taken out of the forest, the most logical step is to protect and preserve the forest so that it can continue to sustain the community. But we know that a finite forest can only support a finite community because hunger and war break out. At this limit, Malthus is spot on. This means that, at the limit, there is so much preservation of the forest can do for humans. In the meantime, any limit that is felt is determined by technology and human knowledge of how to extract more from less. This can be seen as a fact, and we simply just have to accept it. But even so, the community must protect the food source from selfish greedy individuals who may have no qualms about destroy the food source thinking that he or she can stored it off somewhere purely for his or her own consumption. In nature, any other method of storage apart from leaving nature alone is foolhardy.
This problem of the short-seeing long-sighted selfish person is compounded in a world of tokens (paper or commodity money) where its special quality of not decaying physically (because it's a computer number or a piece of metal) may create the illusion that accumulation of pile of metal or paper or a larger number on a computer is the way to go into the future for generations. All things lie in the present, this accumulation of uneatable assets is being balanced against the liability of persistent destruction of the environment (by chopping down trees or digging up stuff or polluting). This is being gleefully done today by warlords with the collusion of multinational firms and global finance.
At the same time, the overproduction of goods (unsold inventory) or services (unemployed workers) is being happily ignored and misinterpreted - with the later overproduction (unemployment) probably from good agriculture or bad education is being used as a basis for further overproduction (of goods) which floods the world both in terms of huge quantity, low price and bad quality. And central banks continue to churn out the tokens.
In this world of mindless pursuit of economic growth, we are drowned in a sea of useless constructs. The rich becomes very rich and the poor becomes very poor, all within the economic system that we have immersed ourselves. We have to get out.