Study Questions

Schnaiberg and Gould, Chapter 4


(1)  Explain the logic of the “treadmill of production.”  What processes contribute to the treadmill of production?  What are some of the results of the treadmill of production?


(2)  Why do Schnaiberg and Gould assert that “eternal conflict is the price we will have to pay for ecologically sustainable development” (p. 70)?  Explain the logic upon which they base this assertion.


(3)  Why does the expansion of production play such a central role in economic planning in modern industrial societies?  What roles do the logic of individual economic organizations (as presented in Chapter 3) and technological changes play in the ethic of expanding production?


(4)  Identify the roots of expanded production.  Provide specific examples of environmental problems suggest how they stem from the ethic of expanding production.


(5)  What is the role of population growth in ecological disorganization?  What mediating factor(s) influence the relationship between population and environment?  What is the relationship between population growth and economic growth?


(6)  In what ways has the expansion of production benefited different groups of workers, and in what ways has it harmed these workers?  Consider how these beneficial and harmful effects might lead to ecological disorganization.


(7)  How do Schnaiberg and Gould respond to those that suggest that “runaway” technology leads to environmental disruptions?  Do you agree or disagree with Schnaiberg & Gould’s argument?  Why?