The Sustainability Mindset

MILAN – Markets and capitalist incentives have great strengths in promoting economic efficiency, growth, and innovation. And, as Ben Friedman of Harvard University argued persuasively in his 2006 book The Moral Consequences of Growth, economic growth is good for open and democratic societies. But markets and capitalist incentives have clear weaknesses in ensuring stability, equity, and sustainability, which can adversely affect political and social cohesion.

Obviously, abandoning market-capitalist systems, and implicitly growth, is not really an option. Collectively, we have little choice but to try to adapt the system to changing technological and global conditions in order to achieve stability, equity (in terms of opportunity and outcomes alike), and sustainability. Of these three imperatives, sustainability may be the most complex and challenging.