Study Questions

Schnaiberg and Gould, Chapter 9


(1)  The treadmill of production rests on the notion that economic growth is good.  What are some of the unexamined assumptions underlying the treadmill?  Who benefits from such policies, and who bears the costs of such policies?  What are some effects on the environment?


(2)  Identify two barriers that prevent us from continuing our present trajectory.  Give concrete examples of these barriers, and explain how each limits economic growth.  Can we sustain this situation over the long run?  How or why not?


(3)  What is meant by the term “sustainability?”  Why is this term ambiguous, and what potential problems could this lead to?  What are some concrete examples of how sustainability is being put into practice?  For each example, suggest a definition for the term sustainability.


(4)  What does the case of loco production in Chile tell us about regulatory approaches to achieve sustainability?  About community-based approaches to achieve sustainability?  Are there other ways Chileans can address this problem and encourage sustainable loco production?


(5)  Why is it difficult to achieve sustainable development?  What barriers stand in the way?  Suggest specific technological, economic and social barriers, and explain how they impede the transition to a sustainable society.