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Abstract  Environmental social scientists debate whether or not modern development reduces society's impact on the biosphere. The empirical research informing the discussion has not yet adequately examined the social determinants of municipal solid-waste (MSW) generation, an increasingly relevant issue, both ecologically and sociologically. A primary problem for this research concerns the increasing exchange of MSW across state and county borders. A convenient way to avoid this problem is to examine variation between counties with landfills that service only the county in which the landfills are located. I applied this restriction to a cross-sectional analysis of total MSW generated in Texas at the county level for 2006. Using robust regression, this study found that two basic measures of modern development, population per square mile and per capita income, are both positively related to total MSW generated at the county level and together explain about 73 percent of the variation in the dependent variable. The evidence corroborates the metabolic-rift theory. The concentration of people onto smaller land areas, or urbanization, and increasing wealth in a capitalist economy contribute to the metabolic rupture between human society and the environment.