The global capitalist system is based on the concept of compound growth. Even the communists sought to prove themselves in terms of productivity. This was and is a grave mistake. The world on which we live has limited space and limited resources. Our way of living needs to reflect that.
An essay by Jeremy Grantham, the Chief Investment Officer of GMO Capital catalogues many of the issues related to resource depletion. Especially he highlights how even PhDs in mathematics fail to understand the unsustainability of this compound growth. In fact, if the Ancient Egyptians had started with only a cubic meter of physical possessions and maintained 4.5% compounded growth for 3,000 years it could not be squeezed into a billion of our Solar Systems! He goes into much more detail on the unsustainability of our current system here.
This article was drawn to my attention by another equally useful article from George Monbiot here.