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Materialist Cause1

Materialist Cause1 - densely populated nor growing all that...

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Materialist Causes Intermediate between "cultural value" and "human nature" explanations of CEC lie analyses that point to materialist determinants -- i.e., aspects of demography, economics, and environment that appear to be causally related to environmental problems Main material causes relevant to CEC = population growth, technology, and economic growth Population growth if unchecked must lead eventually to some forms of resource depletion and environmental degradation -- that much seems certain in a finite world But asserting what must eventually happen is not same as showing what has in fact happened (just as saying that anyone who lives long enough must die of old age is not same as showing that people mostly die of old age rather than malaria, cancer, or AIDS) More specific criticisms of population-growth paradigm are: 1) It is not sufficient in itself (e.g., much of Asia has been densely populated for centuries without destroying ecosystem; U.S. = major contributor to CEC, but not
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Unformatted text preview: densely populated nor growing all that fast) 2) Malthusian account blames society in aggregate, rather than looking at how environmental problems may be due to some subset of society which benefits from the activities causing an environmental problem, and imposes its costs on less powerful segments While I agree (up to a point) with the anti-Malthusians, I think they are sometimes as one-sided as Malthusians; they're right in pointing to sociopolitical inequalities as important contributors to environmental problems (e.g., famine), but incorrect in presuming or implying that things would be no different if population were stable or declining To the contrary, if inequalities exist, then population growth can only exacerbate their effects in face of competition over increasingly scarce resources, even if this scarcity is (at least in part) a product of unequal access On the other hand, blaming population alone while ignoring other causes is obviously incorrect, and...
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