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.