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2014 - Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting Words: 239 words || 
1. Alvarez, Camila. and Futrell, Robert. "A Marxist Approach to the Las Vegas Water Cycle" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Marriott Downtown Waterfront, Portland, Oregon, Mar 27, 2014 <Not Available>. 2020-02-25 <>
Publication Type: Formal research paper presentation
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Water is a necessary resource for every living being on Earth including humans. In addition, capitalism needs increasing amounts of water for continuous economic growth and profits. Thus social organizations such as governments and businesses have invested in advanced technological and scientific “solutions” to fix water scarcity. Their efforts to ensure water security have disrupted and displaced the natural water cycle to more profitable areas. The disruption of water's natural cycle leads to destructive forces. Las Vegas is an exemplary example of the dynamic forces between social structures (such as capitalism) and water. Las Vegas is located in the arid Mojave desert and has a population of about two million residents and an economy based on tourism and gambling. Yet, Lake Mead, Las Vegas' main water resource, is expected to run dry by 2021, suggesting that Las Vegas is a city built on unsustainable foundations. This paper is a theoretical analysis of the Las Vegas water cycle. we draw on a systematic explanation of the relationship between society and nature, applying key concepts from Karl Marx in order to understand the water cycle as part of the wider political economic ordering of the natural environment. In particular, we draw on Marx's theory of metabolic rift as developed by John Bellamy Foster and others to understand the social and natural dialogue of the Las Vegas water cycle. We use these concepts to explore the socio-structural factors that surround water scarcity.

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