In this first wave scenario, the idea is that capitalism is a significant power for shaping the performance of environment. IPAT/STIRPAT Theory proposes that capitalism is the cause for environment degradation because --in combination with rapid population growth and affluence (prosperity)-- they altogether increase consumption. The mass consumption may be achieved through the application of technology (through accumulation of capital), which in turn lead to environmental degradation and natural resources depletion in long term, either locally (as mainly studied by scholars in Sociology of Natural Resources) or in broader scopes (usually studied by Environmental Sociology scholars) (see Buttel, 2002). This theory suggests multiple factors which may cause environmental problems. Thus, to decrease the overall impacts of development to environment, people should manage resources wisely, use appropriate technologies, and try to control the human population.
Other perspective proposes that because the spirit of capitalism is profit oriented, then the way it works is just like treadmill machine. The theory of Treadmill Production suggest that under capitalism principle, factories produces output in such a way to maximize their profits through running production continuously and efficiently, like a treadmill, ...
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...n Brown, D.A. and Swanson, L.A. (editors) Challenges for Rural America in the Twenty-First Century. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press. (2003)
Rudel, T.K., Roberts, T. and Carmin, J. (2011). Political Economy of the Environment. Annual Review of Sociology 2011, volume 37, pp. 221-238.
Bunker, S. (1984). "Modes of Extraction, Unequal Exchange, and the Progressive Underdevelopment of an Extreme Periphery: The Brazilian Amazon.” American Journal of Sociology 89
Buttel, F. (2002). Environmental Sociology and the Sociology of Natural Resources: Institutional Histories and Intellectual Legacies. Society and Natural Resources, 15, pp. 205-211
Freudenburg, W. (2006). Environmental Degradation, Disproportionality, and the Double Diverson: Reaching Out, Reaching Ahead, and Reaching Beyond. (Presidential Address). Rural Sociology, 71(1), pp. 3-32
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