"Competition, we have now learnt, is neither good nor evil in itself; it is a force which has to be studied and controlled; it may be compared to a stream whose strength and direction have to be observed, that embankments may be thrown up within which it may do its work harmlessly and beneficially. But at the period we are considering it came to be believed in as a gospel, and, the idea of necessity being superadded, economic laws deduced from the assumption of universal unrestricted competition were converted into practical precepts, from which it was regarded as little short of immoral to depart."

Arnold Toynbee, "Lectures on the Industrial Revolution," 1880

Perhaps the continuing reports of thinning ice-caps, the result of liberalized global industrial capitalism, indicate a remarkable prescience in Toynbee's choice of metaphor.

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