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Engineering for Ecological, Sociological, and Economic Compatibility

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3 Author(s)

Industrial societies have evolved under the influence of a political-economic reward system and a technological revolution that literally views the environment as infinite in its waste absorbing capabilities, if not in resource producing capability as well. As such they are not ecologically feasible in the long term. It is precisely their inconsistencies with the laws of material and energy balance under the pressures of an expanding human population that are generating the environmental crisis. The thesis of this paper is that man, as a dominating species on the surface of the earth, must learn to engineer the developments of industry, agriculture, and human habitats, giving explicit consideration to the effects of these developments on the environment. Environmental components are viewed as conceptually similar to industrial production processes, having many possible alternative uses. Since alternative uses are often mutually exclusive, the choice of use is critical. Some of the ecological and sociological considerations implicit in the problems of choice are demonstrated herein along with some of the problems of economic regulation.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics  (Volume:SMC-2 ,  Issue: 3 )