What is the ultimate purpose of an economic system? It could basically be defined as a way to produce and distribute the goods and services needed by the society it serves. Okay, but how can we measure the success of the system we choose? Here are some ways: Every individual gets to enjoy the benefits according to their abilities – no one is left out. Major decisions are agreed to by everyone affected. Products are always manufactured for the best possible quality – durable, long lasting, etc. Manufacturing processes are careful to avoid the use of dangerous materials that would harm the environment and its inhabitants. Recycling processes for all materials is intrinsically included in the manufacturing processes. Human activity developments are carefully and well planned to integrate into the environment where they are being built to cause the least impact. Special emphasis is spent to maximize the efficiency of the activities before, during, and after construction. I believe these are the most important, and I don't think it's difficult to understand why we need to do those things if we want a sustainable future for us and our children. Now the question is how successful is our current system performing on these prerequisites? Our most successful economic systems so far (in the industrial age) has been some variation of capitalism and/or socialism. But have these systems performed according to the needs of their society and lived up to the requirements listed above? It is obvious that all of our economic systems have under-performed on many or all of the requirements. Why are we having such difficulty doing what is needed? Well, a point that stands out for me is the way decisions are made. In capitalism, socialism, and whatever other system we use, the people who are affected the most by those decisions have no say in the process. This is critical for a sustainable and fair system of economics! I have written about the workplace decision making process previously in The Economic Advantages of Corporate Democracy. That article discusses the rising numbers of worker owned and operated businesses. Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, at the University of Massachusetts thinks that the workplace relationship between employers and employees is the core of the repeated crisis economies experience. He writes about that in “On the Meaning of Capitalism, We Don't Agree”. Professor Wolff is one of the most articulate economists I've heard, and I agree with him. We will solve these problems when all affected citizens have a say in the decision making process.