Energy: Psychological Perspectives

By Andrew N. Baum; Jerome E. Singer | Go to book overview

2
A Social Trap Analysis of Energy Distribution Systems

Kevin C. Brechner California State University, Los Angeles

Darwyn E. Linder Arizona State University

Along a highway in South Dakota, the Campbell County Soil and Water Conservation District has placed a series of signs. They read:

Too many cattle
on too little grass

Like too many cars
and too little gas

This little quatrain points to the structural similarity of a wide variety of sitations in which a common property resource is exploited for individual benefit until that resource is totally depleted. Many situations share this common structure: vanishing or extinct species of animals, the 1929 stock market crash, overcrowding of citizens band radio frequencies, energy blackouts, overcrowding of our national parks, air pollution resulting from the use of automobiles, the financial difficulties of prepaid health maintenance programs, and the rapid escalation of both energy consumption and the cost of energy. John Platt ( 1973) labeled these situations social traps.

The most well known of these situations is the "tragedy of the commons" ( Hardin, 1968). The tragedy is so well known to environmentalists that it may be described here very briefly. In England and in colonial New England, the commons was pasturage for public use rather than private ownership. Each herdsman who used the commons to increase the size of his herd was motivated by the prospect of economic gain. As long as the population of humans and cattle was kept relatively small by disease, famine, and warfare, the system worked quite well. However, humans eventually mastered the environment, and these limita-

-27-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Energy: Psychological Perspectives
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 200

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.