One of the major themes of the course this semester is focused on the ecological contradictions of American capitalism. For this essay assignment, please develop an argument as to whether or not capitalism is compatible or incompatible with the protection and preservation of the natural world. Utilizing class lectures and the required readings around externality theory and theories of technology, etc., present a clear and concise discussion of the political-economic and/or sociological forces at work that are resulting in the preservation or destruction of nature. This theoretical argument should be presented in the form of a thesis.

It is recommended that you describe and explain a particular argument utilizing externality theory, a theory of technology, or greenwashing, etc. (or a combination of one or more). Please make your theoretical argument “come alive” by utilizing at least 3 real-world events provided by the lectures, readings, and/or films. In other words, what do these examples say about the larger global capitalist system? Please offer something in the way of a solution in your conclusion.

You can separate the paper into these two sections, or fully integrate the thesis, theoretical arguments, and description throughout the paper.

I will be grading you on six components:

(1) Thesis statement: The thesis is clearly stated and easily understood, and grounded in the course materials and subject matter. The thesis should not be simplistic.

(2) Theoretical Analysis and Development of Ideas: The thesis should be grounded in a theoretical argument and draw upon at least 2-3 readings from the class.

(3) Description, Details and Evidence: A rich description of the dynamics of capitalism are provided, along with relevant examples that are fully explained. At least 2-3 sources are required. All evidence and examples help to illustrate the thesis (and sub-theses) in the paper.

(4) Organization and Clarity: The paper contains a logical structure (an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion), and transitions smoothly between topics.

(5) Spelling and Grammar: There are no spelling, grammatical, or formatting efforts. Your writing should exhibit mastery of proper English mechanics through sentence variety.

(6) Citation of Sources: All data, information, and ideas are properly cited. You can use footnotes/endnotes and/or a bibliography in any standard social science format (ex: Chicago style). You can use the citation method in my book as a model, if you wish. IF YOU PLAGIARIZE THE PAPER, YOU WILL FAIL THE CLASS.

You may mix and match theoretical explanations and/or bring in additional theoretical perspectives if you wish (but this is not required). You should draw directly upon the readings assigned in the class to help build your theoretical argument. It should be a profound (or significant) argument. Be sure to offer examples to support your theoretical presentation. You may also use outside readings.


The paper shall consist of five pages (c.1250 words, or 250 words per page). Please include a title page, and indicate your year, major, and student number. The paper must be typed, and double-spaced. I strongly suggest that you make an outline. You are also required to cite your sources (especially quotations), and to include either a bibliography or footnotes page. The footnotes and/or bib are not counted in the minimal page requirements.

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