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Old 02-14-2010, 12:51 AM   #1
Jan 2009
Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 614
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Hey all,

I'm looking for 3 examples of progress traps from history. My understanding is that a progress trap is progress in a certain area that eventually leads to disaster or collapse. I know that description is fairly bland/generalized... so here's an example.

When the cod fishing industry in the North Atlantic began, fishermen were equipped with relatively rudimentary tools that limited the amount of fish they could catch - a sustainable industry. Increasing demands for cod fish led to the development of more advanced methods and tools, which would increase the catch and eventually cross the line and become an unsustainable industry. The final result was the devastation of North Atlantic Cod stocks and subsequent collapse of the industry.

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Old 02-14-2010, 01:12 AM   #2
big beers turn my gears
beerthirty's Avatar
May 2008
Podunk, VA. Not far from the NC line.
Posts: 2,589
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Bluefin tuna. take too long to mature and high demand mean the numbers are shrinking.
Beaver. Due to high market prices every Tom Dick and Harry found them easy pickins for a quick buck. Subsequently nearly wiping them out. On top of that, human encroachment has left little habitat for them to survive.
Buffalo. Do I need to explain this one?

I hope this helps or gives you ideas for your assignment. Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:15 AM   #3
Dwain's Avatar
Feb 2009
Hill Country, TX
Posts: 1,135
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I'm sure media storage would be an example. From file cabinets to flash drives. Also, cameras that use film is pretty much a collapsed industry.

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Old 02-14-2010, 02:06 AM   #4
Nov 2007
Irvine, CA
Posts: 138

I would think The 3 tier system for getting beer to consumers. It was meant to provide an even playing field, but now is monopolized by the Big 3.

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Old 02-14-2010, 02:18 AM   #5
Adjunct of the Law
Airborneguy's Avatar
Sep 2009
Isle of Staten
Posts: 10,886
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Soviet-style Socialist Government

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Old 02-14-2010, 02:18 AM   #6
Yuri_Rage's Avatar
Jul 2006
Posts: 14,296
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There's probably an example in the logging industry.

With a little creativity, you could craft an example from the "organic food" movement as well (possibly arguing two points of view: one where chemically altered food leads to health problems, and another where organic farming leads to lower crop yields).
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Old 02-14-2010, 02:44 AM   #7
Mar 2009
Buffalo, NY
Posts: 987
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the case can be made that some successful labor unions were so good at driving up their wages/benefits that they ran their employers out of business.

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Old 02-14-2010, 02:50 AM   #8
jmendez29's Avatar
Nov 2008
Holland, Michigan
Posts: 1,231
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Can you reference a progress trap forthcoming? If so, you might make mention of the oil industry. How we're so dependent on oil, which is in limited supply and will inevitably run out.

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Old 02-14-2010, 03:06 PM   #9
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Oct 2005
Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,599
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The hub structure for airlines. As an airline becomes more dependent on a few locations, any time a problem (snow storm, construction, tariffs) occurs, a larger percentage of their operation is impacted. Anyone who's been in Atlanta would understand.
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:20 PM   #10
Apr 2009
Posts: 1,093
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All the 'labor saving' devices from as far back as the 50's (washing machines, electric drills, etc.), that were supposed to give people more fee time have backfired. Unless you are up on the latest in computers, and applications, you are going to have *A LOT* of free time

The "upgrade" from an old hand saw these days is AutoCAD, a CNC router, and an operator who has to work second shift on Christmas Eve. He might be saving SOMEONE from having to do the labor, but it AIN'T him!

= = = =

Look up James Burke, and the show "Connections" on youtube. Bet you can find something there too, and it's fun to watch.
-I'm not getting older, but the floor is getting further away.

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