This is actually a great question and one that I think needs more attention right now. The WEF and UN are in a partnership to accelerate the UN’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development. However, the founder of WEF calls the new system they are moving towards Stakeholder Capitalism. Stakeholder Capitalism is neither socialism nor capitalism. It combines the worst aspects of both systems. It redistributes the wealth of the 99% and removes their property rights while the 1% maintains free enterprise between themselves. This is why I’m constantly sharing what they are doing in hopes that people see what’s happening. I don’t want to live in a world like that and I hope most people don’t want that either
I think with socialism the goal is to also to create an equitable society. This value is in line with sustainability thinking, but if in practice the outcome is to make sure everyone in the world is able to consume like those in the developed world then that is definitely not a sustainable model. Instead of ensuring everyone can consume above a baseline, we must also ensure that there is a cap to consumption as well. That is the only sustainable model of consumption, be it capitalism or socialism.
What is a ‘sustainable’ system?
Sustainability here refers to the harmonious interplay of humankind’s means of production and their relationship with the economy, society and environment.
While capitalism or socialism themselves are merely ideologies governing the rules of resource allocation, their application in practice allows for the review of their efficacy in the context of the question of sustainability.
In capitalism do we find the ideas of rugged individualism and the free market of incentives to be more sustainable than that of a planned economy chosen by a democratically elected government to ensure broad objectives of environment and social justice?
The past 50 years have shown us that globally, capitalism has emerged as the dominant economic system that has powered a highly efficient system of value generation and extraction- and that it has led to vast advancements across industries while fabulously enriching many.
However the flip side of that system is an induced climate catastrophe, raging social and economic inequality, adversely affecting man and environment. These problems are not accidental, but are symptoms of fundamental pathologies in its systems of production and consumption.
Indeed, capitalists do attempt to be sustainable and reduce waste and pollution or reuse resources- but only when it is profitable to do so, meaning only when it is in their individual self-interest to do so, often sidestepping any questions of real responsibility to fellow citizens and the collectively owned environment commons.
This leaves many viewing individualistic capitalism by itself to be an ineffective tool with insufficient mechanisms to save the biosphere and future generations and be sustainable.
On the other hand we have socialism, which allows for a governed economy that requires a system in which production is democratically planned and controlled by technocrats. The environment can be sustained by collective stewardship as material needs are securely met by a ‘fair distribution’ and sharing of resources, and our psychological needs are met through an ethos fostering cooperation rather than acquisition and competition.
However in its historical depictions, Socialism’s planned economy has traditionally failed to mimic the magical economic force of the market and inadvertently leads to unique problems of dictatorial and inefficient resource usage leading to “planned disasters” like food shortages, environment mismanagement, overproduction etc. Hence it also fails at many parameters of facilitating a sustainable economy and society.
Taking the liberty to extend your question-
So is a blended economic system most sustainable?
Across history we have seen combinations of Capitalism and Socialism play out with varying results- from America to China to India etc. - these are all blended economic ideologies with a respective dominant and passive force.
In theory and practice, the model of government that hopes to address the inefficiency of the market and state will blend the power of the market in the economy productively, while it enacts democratically planned and implemented safeguards ensuring market forces do not leave humans or the environment without a social net- essentially having built a system that prioritizes and galvanizes sustainability in its government and people.