Sustainability and Financing: “The American Way of Life” – Switching Gears Towards a Sustainable Approach
AbstractThe financialization of society has generated an ethos based on the desire for profit without ethical limits worldwide, leading to the destruction of natural ecosystems and cultures, and poverty and inequality. Moreover, the financial lack of control has led to the crisis of the system itself, not only economically but also environmentally, because financial capitalism is not sustainable, since it needs to grow indefinitely to maintain itself. Naturally, this is not feasible for the simple fact that we live in a closed system, with limits that cannot be surpassed, which is Earth. Therefore, the grounds of this article rely upon the following hypothesis: the strategy against financial capitalism and consumer society resides in the transformation of the “American way of life” into a sustainable lifestyle. First and foremost, the present article aims to describe and offer an in-depth perspective about what, in the specialized literature, is known under the name of “The American way of life”. Our main goal is to pinpoint some of its key features and try to offer, for each one of them, a sustainable counterpart. Hence, a systematic literature review of the subject matter has been carried out with a search for information in various media such as books, magazines, newspapers, and web pages. The main topics pondered were: political and economic news; critical philosophical thinking with capitalism; the history of ecology and current proposals; and conferences of international institutions related to sustainable development. Therefore, the article is structured as follows: the first part of the article aims to review the current situation, based on recent informative data, books on the main theme as well as documents from international organizations. Thus, an analysis of the role of culture in civilization is being carried out, focusing on the cultural model of capitalist civilization and the reasons for its crisis, throughout the literature review. Secondly, we try to explain why there is a global need to move towards sustainable development by analyzing the possibilities of evolution. Finally, we try to advocate for a sustainable-oriented paradigm of doing business, one that can help us redirect and reconfigure our business effort of growing and expanding, underpinning research and practice of sustainability and development. It is therefore essential to adopt a core framework for practice and research on human-environmental systems, to bridge gaps between science and practice – on one hand, and social, ecological, professional sciences - on the other hand.
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