Sustainability in the economy

Nachhaltigkeit bedeutet soviel wie „auf Dauer angelegt.“ Ein Wirtschaftsgeschehen auf Nachhaltigkeit anzulegen verlangt daher es so zu gestalten, daß es im Prinzip in einer gewissen Weise für immer so fortgeführt werden könnte. Oft wird dabei eine gewisse Autonomie unterstellt, also eine Unabhängigkeit von Tauschbeziehungen mit anderen Business entities.

The concept of sustainability guides decisions in economic units, the aim of which is to be able to live independently in the long term. In many cases, it can be derived from physical and technical laws whether a measure promotes sustainability or not. The principle of sustainability is therefore mainly demanded by representatives of ecology who recognize the limits for the area that could be designed purely from an economic point of view.

The usual economic doctrine is based on exchange relationships between economic units. Barter deals and markets generate “values.” In the usual economic theory, the goal is no longer the independent continued existence of an economic activity, but the creation of values.

The principle of sustainability, on the other hand, manages without any economic value formation. The goal of economic activity is not to utilize the result in markets and thereby to realize as much added value as possible, possibly by giving up one's own existence.
From the perspective of economic values, it does not make much difference whether an entrepreneur continues his company or whether he has liquidated it and keeps the money invested in the financial markets.

The goal of sustainability, on the other hand, is one's own continued existence, as independently as possible of the need to enter into exchange relationships with others. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to dismiss the principle of sustainability as "uneconomical". Economists are often not aware of how often they postulate "securing long-term existence" as an objective for a company and thus switch to the principle of sustainability, away from the objective of increasing market value. Sustainability is a postulate for the design of economic activity that competes with value management.

Welche von beiden Leitideen die „richtigere“ ist, hängt vor allem von einem Punkt ab. Die Frage lautet, ob alle für das Tun und die Entscheidungen wichtigen Aspekte durch Märkte ökonomisch richtig bewertet werden. Dort wo die Landkarte der Ökonomie weiße Flecken hat, ist es klug, sich so zu verhalten, daß man langfristig in Unabhängigkeit überleben kann. Dort, wo es funktionierende Märkte gibt, erhöhen Tausch und Division of labor die Wohlfahrt.

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