Can Capitalism Be Green?

Copyright 2006 Renate LeahyCan Capitalism Be Green?

By Stephen Leahy

Experts say continuous economic growth, intrinsic to capitalism, is not viable on a planet with increasingly scarce natural resources.

May 7 (IPS/IFEJ) – Capitalism has proven to be environmentally and socially unsustainable, so future prosperity will have to come from a new economic model, say some experts. Just what this new model will look like is the subject of intense debate.

One current states that continuous growth can be environmentally compatible if clean and efficient technologies are adopted, and if economies stop producing material goods and move towards services. This is known as sustainable prosperity.

International agreements to fight global problems, like the thinning of the atmosphere’s ozone layer and climate change, used market principles to achieve compliance by the private sector.

But the problem is, “We are consuming 25 percent more than the Earth can give us each year,” says William Rees, of the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia.

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