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As an economic system, capitalism generated disturbing social inequalities responsible for the inadequate distribution of political power throughout the world. At the same time, this system has created influential corporations that undermine the foundational principles of parliamentary democracy. The unstoppable growth of corporations, cities, and states that exploit the scarce natural resources is one of the main causes of the erosion of our ecosystem. Sustainability is a concept powerful enough to revolutionize our society and restore the balance in the environmental, economic, social, and political systems. The philosophy and methods of sustainability are aimed towards meeting the basic needs of all people on our planet, eliminating poverty, and avoiding further damage to natural resources by exploiting renewable power from our environment. The concept of sustainability has a great power to revolutionize capitalism.
The International Union of Geological Sciences hasn’t officially approved the term anthropocene for the epoch that began when people started impacting the Earth’s ecosystems and geology with their activities. However, the term quite clearly describes the changes civilized nations have made to the environment. In the myth of Gilgamesh, we see how Gilgamesh and Enkidu cut down the trees of a beautiful Cedar Forest with the goal to make a great city and achieve fame. From ancient times, it seems like people have made peace with their “anthropocenic nature” – their ability to influence the environment and adjust it to their own wishes.
People thought that great cities would provide them with more comfortable life, and the capitalistic society would enable them to achieve great professional and economic success. Nevertheless, a great percentage of the urban population is limited in meeting the basic needs. We may have money, but we don’t have access to entirely healthy, natural food and fresh air. People in great cities may have finances and potential for professional growth, but they are aware that the capitalistic system is one of the factors responsible for the poverty of others. Currently, the world is facing two great challenges. We need to create a social system that will prevent further erosion of our environment, and we need to find an alternative economic model that will bring justice in the world. Sustainability is the answer.
The most negative implications of capitalism arise from globalization, which enabled political and economic elites to rule the world and influence people to great extent. As a result, people from capitalistic societies have lost the sense to identify their real needs and meet them without disrupting the ecosystem. Their needs are designed in a way imposed by the interests of giant capitalistic corporations. According to the philosophy of sustainability, the economy should be reduced according to the principle of regionalization. Instead of obtaining resources from corporations and great industries, small communities should recognize their own needs and meet them with their own production, in a way that will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainability is a promising concept that can solve many issues the world is currently struggling with. However, it needs great support and investments from national governments. Due to the fact that the governments of capitalist societies are committed to agreements with the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, those are the two institutions where the changes should begin. In such circumstances, sustainability seems like a mission that’s almost impossible to achieve. Nevertheless, it is the most logical and promising solution to the problems that arose from capitalism and globalization.
The dynamical development of our society is determined by the activity of leaders in different social and business areas. Every aspect of human society has been marked by distinguished people, who gave another dimension to its development through innovations, motivation, organization, and other aspects of effective leadership. The style of leadership is a way of establishing relationships between the leader and the other members of the organization. A leader relies on specific techniques to direct the behavior of his followers. The classical leadership theory distinguishes three styles, depending on the motivational approach of the leader – coercion or incentives. The contemporary leadership theory, on the other hand, recognizes the flexibility of the leader, who changes his style depending on the given situation.
The main criteria we use for distinguishing leadership styles include: the way a leader motivates the followers; the way a leader makes decisions; the leader’s flexibility and ability to adapt to different situations, and the sources of power used for influencing the followers. The universal qualities and attributes that distinguish great leaders include: intelligence, competence to deal with complex tasks, accepting responsibility, action-oriented judgment, exceptional skills to deal with problems and people, decisiveness, and capacity to motivate people.
Based on the way the leader motivates people (through coercion or incentives), the classical theory of leadership distinguishes three styles: authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire leadership. An authoritarian leader brings the decisions alone. He does not trust his employees and uses coercion to motivate them to do their job. His influence is based on formal authority, which can lead to dissatisfaction, turn-over, and absenteeism within the organization (Gastil, 1994). The democratic leadership style is characterized by greater involvement of subordinates in decision-making, as well as confidence in their ability to take part of the responsibility in the decision-making process. A democratic leader delegates authority and allows the employees to participate in the decision-making processes. The laissez-faire leadership style is characterized by full involvement of all employees, who feel free to discuss all issues with the leader.
The strict classifications of the classical theory of leadership are ineffective when applied to contemporary leadership styles. According to the contingent theory, the leader’s style should be flexible and adjusted to the specific situations. Fiedler’s contingency model (Fiedler and Garcia, 1987) determines stress as the key factor of leader effectiveness. The other factors that influence a leader’s style include: the requirements of the task; the qualities, expectations, and behavior of the employees, and the organizational culture and policies. When the leader adjusts his style in accordance with the evolving circumstances, he is able to improve his performance, as well as the influence he has on the followers.
There are almost as many definitions and types of leadership as there are leaders in the world. A leader is mainly a person who is able to think and take innovative actions regardless of the ways his industry has changed. The leadership style is determined by the individual’s qualities and actions. Thus, the classical styles of leadership cannot be taken exclusively. A great contemporary leader adjusts his decisions according to the given situations, but he is also flexible with his leadership style (Wright, 1996). The modern leadership styles are based on the leader’s assessment and conscious behavior that is good for the particular situation.