Capitalism may be the best system going but there is definitely some problems that are not being addressed by companies nor consumers. In the study of economics we are taught competition is a good thing because the company that utilizes resources the best wins the prize of leading the market or at least staying in business; those who are wasteful will fall by the way side. This concept is great until we consider that resources have to be continually used to make goods that are sold, for a business to survive. This means that it is bad business to create a product that lasts because revenue will be halted once all those who want the product have one. This puts us on an unsustainable path, especially as the population grows.
We can actually observe this principle in observing Apple. They are creating quality products that many do not feel the need to upgrade. Iphone 5 sales have not been able to live up to the hype as many Apple customers are still happy with Iphone 4, and the company is feeling the crunch. If we had to calculate the cost of selling a product that would last for many years then the price would need to be increased substantially for the company to survive; but Americans do not like to pay those types of costs.
The reach for sustainability will cost our economy dearly because it would reduce consumption, which would reduce supply, which would reduce employment. We are on a fast train to continue consumption so that our economy can continue to grow and sustain us, but at some point we have to face the reality of finite resources. We will truly feel the effects of this as oil continues to rise. Shipping cheap goods from China may soon be an expensive proposition that bares no value. Manufacturing coming back to the US needs to happen now even if the price of consumer goods go up; at least then maybe we could start making good products that are good for the economy.