Hardin's article was a much needed statement. He aptly illustrates the principle that by trying to keep up with demand (by temporarily increasing the supply) we only succeed in increasing further the demand.
This same principle can be applied to virtually all areas of urban and economic planning. Whenever we try to meet needs by supplying more (of whatever it is we are short of), we only temporarily succeed in answering the demand and, by so doing, we facilitate more growth, which in turn increases the demand for that particular commodity. This is true whether we are concerned with food for the starving, freeway space for the congested, sewage facilities for the waste makers, or water for the thirsty.
Continued physical growth is impossible. No society, no nation, no economic entity can continue to expand to infinity. This is true whether we are concerned with the starving hordes in Africa or the increasingly huddled masses in the urban United States.
Your editorial (Nov. 4) on Colorado's Gov. Richard Lamm, "A Colorado Low," points out this same physical/economic reality. Despite Ronald Reagan's 19th-Century "unlimited-growth-is-possible" optimism, the fact is indisputable that we are running out of resources--mineral resources, petroleum reserves, open space, clean air, potable water, and elbow room. We cannot continue forever to plan for unlimited growth; and the sooner the politicians and the economic planners accept this reality, the better off we all will be--in Ethiopia and in Los Angeles.
DONALD N. WOOD