How Can Capitalism Achieve Sustainability?

If market economies are to carry the world into a new era, they must achieve stability, equity and sustainability. Of these three, sustainability will likely prove the most challenging. 

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The Great Recession naturally led some to question the primacy of market-capitalist systems which, free from strict government regulation, have proved disastrous to many families and businesses since 2007. Nobel economist Michael Spence says capitalist economies must achieve stability, equity and sustainability if they are to carry the world past the current recession. Of these three, he says, sustainability will prove the most difficult because countries have grown complacent about placing massive financial burdens on future generations. 

What's the Big Idea?

Despite recognizing the political and social ills created by market economies, Spence maintains that capitalism's growth model is the only viable economic plan for the world. The result will be the tripling in size of the world economy in the next 25 years, putting greater pressure on natural resources than ever before. Spence argues that sustainable economies will be born from the bottom-up, i.e. by citizens holding their politicians accountable. There should be more emphasis on education and concern for future generations' financial security than ever before. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

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