“We are being made aware that the organization of society on the principle of private profit, as well as public destruction, is leading both to the deformation of humanity by unregulated industrialism, and to the exhaustion of natural resources, and that a good deal of our material progress is a progress for which succeeding generations may have to pay dearly” — T.S. Eliot
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T.S. Eliot is warning about the unsustainable practices of organizing society primarily around private profit. He argues that this focus on profit above all else leads to the unchecked exploitation of natural resources and degradation of the environment.
Eliot says that as a result of these practices, future generations may have to endure severe economic and environmental costs to address the problems caused by previous generations prioritizing short-term gain over long-term sustainability. In other words, he believes that an overemphasis on profit today could force people in the future to “pay dearly” for the consequences of that approach through dealing with resource depletion and environmental damage.