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Surviving Progress (2011)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 23 March 2013 (Japan)
2:04 | Trailer
Humanity's ascent is often measured by the speed of progress. But what if progress is actually spiraling us downwards, towards collapse? Ronald Wright, whose best-seller, A Short History Of... See full summary »
1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ronald Wright ...
Himself - Author, A Short History of Progress
Mark Levine ...
Himself - Group Leader, China Energy Group
Robert Wright ...
Himself - Author, Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
Marina Silva ...
Herself - Former Minister of the Environment, Brazil
Kambale Musavuli ...
Himself - Friends of the Congo
Vaclav Smil ...
Himself - Population Scientist & Author, Global Catastrophies and Trends
Colin Beavan ...
Himself - Engineer & Author
Michael Hudson ...
Himself - Economic Historian & Former Wall Street Economist
Herself - Primatologist
Ming Chen ...
Himself - Self Driving Club Tour Guide
Changnian Chen ...
Himself - Professor & Chen Ming's Father
J. Craig Venter ...
Himself - Biologist & CEO Synthetic Genomics
Raquel Taitson-Queiroz ...
Herself - Environmental Police Officer, IBAMA
Gary Marcus ...
Himself - Cognitive Psychologist & Author, The Birth of the Mind
Daniel Povinelli ...
Himself - Behavioral Scientist


Humanity's ascent is often measured by the speed of progress. But what if progress is actually spiraling us downwards, towards collapse? Ronald Wright, whose best-seller, A Short History Of Progress inspired SURVIVING PROGRESS, shows how past civilizations were destroyed by "progress traps" - alluring technologies and belief systems that serve immediate needs, but ransom the future. As pressure on the world's resources accelerates and financial elites bankrupt nations, can our globally-entwined civilization escape a final, catastrophic progress trap? With potent images and illuminating insights from thinkers who have probed our genes, our brains, and our social behaviour, this requiem to progress-as-usual also poses a challenge: to prove that making apes smarter isn't an evolutionary dead-end. Written by Producers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every time history repeats itself, the price goes up




Not Rated





Release Date:

23 March 2013 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Survivre au progrès  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$4,161 (USA) (6 April 2012)


$47,139 (USA) (22 June 2012)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

We Are Doomed
29 September 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A well made documentary, showing the basic problem of a planet of over seven billion people using the limited resources available to us, Surviving Progress is informative and uses interviews and some excellent photography to deliver its well intended message. At the start, we see monkeys in a room playing with Legos, and we are told that during an experiment, a human child, when challenged with a problem solving variation will ask why, which is seen as the major difference between us and the chimp, as we are otherwise genetically very similar. Our capacity for survival is what makes us unique. A segment dealing with the destruction of the rain forest is disheartening, as some environmental officers struggle in vain against workers just trying to make a living. Economists and scientists explain that we cannot continue to demand more and more modern conveniences without destroying the Earth. It is a simple and basic story, and it looks as if we are already past the point of no return; oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

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