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Capitalist Economy+Free Market System≠ Sustainability?

The question given to me was “Most states nowadays have a capitalist economy with a free market system, where an individual is free to make decisions that are in their best, selfish interests. In such a state, is sustainability truly achievable?”

Upon first glance, I found this question very intriguing. It was very thought-provoking indeed.

First of all, let’s start by explaining what a capitalist economy is. Capitalist economy, basically capitalism, is often thought of as an economic system where owners or actors control their property according to their interests and profit. Capitalism is a major factor and drive of wealth in the modern era as this system undoubtedly helped owners to profit more from their demands and business.

Second of all, the question above also mentioned a free market system. To dive deeper into the topic given, we have to first understand all the terms listed. A free market system, as it sounds like, is a market system where voluntary exchange and the laws of supply and demand provide the sole basis for the economic system, without government intervention. Yes, this market system provides freedom and, similar to the capitalist economy which is explained above, a free market system also helps business owners nowadays to achieve success and obtain profits to their fullest.

Undoubtedly, our society and economy is improving as time passes. Humans are finding more and more ways for us to obtain profit and live a better life. In other words, humans are putting their selfish needs in front of them instead of the greenery of the world that was provided to us.

In order to gain profit, humans need to be able to provide something rare and high in demand by the market. For example, shark fin soup. This dish should be familiar to people living around China, Taiwan or Southeast Asia. The high demand of shark fins has caused it to become expensive and result in overfishing. Shark fin trading is illegal in a few places, not all, which confirms the fact that till this very day, there are still people overfishing and hunting for shark fins to fulfil the demand of the market and for their selfish profits. Shark fin hunters detach the shark’s fin from its body and let the shark back into the sea. Without fins, sharks would not be able to swim and will be lost in direction, causing it to die in the ocean. If the hunting continues, undoubtedly, this will result in the death and extinctions of sharks. This is only an example. It sounds horrible. If more animals are hurt continuously in this way, it is undeniable that the hunting would end up disrupting the balance in the ecosystem, causing more problems for society, economy and our mother earth.

Captions- Sharks’ Fins

From this topic, I had formed an equation– Capitalist Economy+Free Market System≠ Sustainability. Has it been proven yet? I’m not quite sure myself.

If capitalism and free market means that humans would continue to demand rarities that hurts lives and our environment. Sustainability would seem impossible. But nothing is impossible, is it?

We cannot stop our society and economy from evolving, from progressing towards a path where it is greatest for their profits, nor can we stop the market from demanding rarities that hurt our environment. As youths, our hands are too small to be able to stop all of this from happening. The most we can do is to spread awareness and teach the next and maybe this generation about the importance of sustainability. Not everything can be stopped, I am clear about this, as greed blind man’s eyes. Greed and selfishness are the core reasons why all of these are happening. We might not be able to stop it now, nor can we stop it completely, but if we try a little harder, influence more. The next generation might just become better.

In conclusion, does capitalism and the free market prevent us from achieving sustainability? Yes, it is preventing us from achieving sustainability at this moment. Humans’ greed and selfishness are preventing us from achieving the goal we want. But the future is something that we do not know of. A better future might be waiting for us, if we stay certain and continue educating about the environment. A green future that might be the world that we were waiting for.


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