The Story Of Stuff

Better Essays
Qiyu Zhang

SOC 477 - 01

Instructor: L Barbosa

Date: December, 3, 2014

The Story Of Stuff

“The Story Of Stuff” written by Annie Leonard mainly talks about a life cycle of stuff. Annie defines the life cycle as material economy and, in turn, she divides the life cycle into five stages: extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Some environmental theories and neo-Marxist theory can be applied into the five stages to explore the environmental impact of capitalism.
Extraction shows us a debate on human exemptionalism paradigm and new ecological paradigm. Human exemptionalism paradigm stresses on the ability of humans overcoming environment problems. However, is the definition right? The answer is, absolutely, no. In the Haitian countryside, for instance, some aboriginal families were swept away by the mudslides. The contributing factor of the disaster was that the reduction of forest coverage rate gave rise to soil erosion (Leonard). Leonard defines it as “no forests, no flood control” (p. 4). The forest is regarded as an economic resource; therefore, deforestation lowers the forest coverage rate every year. This case demonstrates that the ecological environment takes revenge on human beings. Clearly, human beings are not exempt from environment problems, and the ecological laws cannot be repealed, according to new ecological paradigm (Lecture). Moreover, neo-Marxist theory explains exploitation of the natural resource in this case. In modern industrialized society, not only does the natural resource include forest, but it also contains water and minerals. Their common features are that they can be a commodity. In other words, they have a monetary value. Leonard expresses a concern that “…the growing phenomenon of private business interests managing water systems for profit is incompatible with ensuring everyone’s right to water…” (p.16). The aforementioned statement argues that natural resources are

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