"This is a classic progress trap – a term coined by historian Ronald Wright in his book The Short History of Progress. A progress trap refers to the aspects of our civilisation that have made us successful and comfortable but can ultimately lead to our downfall. Success here refers to economic, social or even cultural. The problem is that we have become so used to relying on such technologies or processes that we cannot see a way around them: they seem natural and inevitable and so we get stuck along this path even when the consequences become increasingly obvious." - James Arvanitakis, How we think about water is a classic progress trap, thepunch.com.au, 2010.
This is the condition in which we find ourselves when human ingenuity, in pursuing progress, inadvertently introduces problems that it does not have the resources to solve, preventing further progress.