Surviving Progress

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator First-Run Features (Firm)
  • Format Videos, Slides, Films
  • Contributors
  • Publication [Place of publication not identified] : First-Run Features (Firm), [2011] New York, N.Y. : Distributed by Films Media Group, 2015. ©2011
  • Physical Details
    • 1 online resource (1 video file (1 hr., 26 min., 33 sec.)) : sound, color
  • OCLC ocn969869800


  • Access requires authentication through Films on Demand.


  • Based on the best-selling book A Short History of Progress, this provocative documentary explores the concept of progress in our modern world, guiding us through a sweeping but detailed survey of the major "progress traps" facing our civilization in the arenas of technology, economics, consumption, and the environment. Featuring powerful arguments from such visionaries as Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood, Stephen Hawking, Craig Venter, Robert Wright, Michael Hudson, and Ronald Wright, this enlightening and visually spectacular film invites us to contemplate the progress traps that destroyed past civilizations and that lie treacherously embedded in our own. Leading critics of Wall Street, cognitive psychologists, and ecologists lay bare the consequences of progress-as-usual as the film travels around the world - from a burgeoning China to the disappearing rainforests of Brazil to a chimp research lab in New Iberia, Louisiana - to construct a shocking overview of the way our global economic system is eating away at our planet's resources and shackling entire populations with poverty.


  • Originally released by First-Run Features (Firm), 2011.
  • Streaming video file encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on March 26, 2015.
  • Streaming video file.
  • Closed-captioned.


  • Introduction: What is Progress? (6:35) -- Evolution and Culture (1:31) -- The Question "Why?" (3:40) -- Technology: a Double Edged Sword (3:38) -- Overpopulation (3:26) -- Growing Affluence in China (6:33) -- Natural Capital (1:57) -- Progress Based on Economic Growth (1:39) -- Progress Trap of Civilizations (2:21) -- A Short History of Debt (3:34) -- Wall Street (2:28) -- Oligarchy Rulers (2:00) -- Debt Pushers (4:46) -- Deforestation in Brazil (1:48) -- Brazil's Ecological Agency, IBAMA (3:16) -- Large Landowners Versus Small Farmers (2:43) -- Destructive Economics (4:00) -- Death of National Economies (3:45) -- Escaping the Progress Trap Through Science (4:54) -- Controlling Evolution (5:10) -- Limits (3:18) -- Individual Choice (2:49) -- The Planetary Brain (2:48) -- Changing Human Nature Credits: Surviving Progress (3:26)
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