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What is Economic Sustainability?

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There are many factors that influence the economic sustainability of a country. Before you can even begin to think about sustainability, however, you need to consider a definition of both economic and sustainability. These definitions will guide you through the issues that countries have to face in order to obtain economic sustainability.

Sustainability means to keep something going or alive. When you’re sustaining something, you’re making sure that it has a future and that is able to function in that future. Just as people eat food, exercise and sleep in order to keep healthy and fit (sustain themselves) countries have to take care of themselves too. They need to have the ability to sustain themselves.


In order to understand what economic is, the concept of wealth and resources needs to be examined. Every country has resources (e.g. gold, oil, diamonds, tourism etc.) to help it make money. The more money the country (and its people) makes, the wealthier the country becomes.

Economy is therefore the use of the resources of a country in order to create wealth and well-being.

Economic Sustainability

If you consider the two brief explanations above, it becomes clear that there is more to economic sustainability than meets the eye. In order for a country to make itself economically sustainable, it should be able to use its resources. If the country is at war or there are any other negative factors threatening the country, it will be unable to fully utilize its resources. In fact, its resources may have to be used to counter the threat instead of creating wealth.

It is therefore important that countries have a plan for the use of resources, as well as a contingency plan for the possibility of a threat to the country. However, not all threats are necessarily a disaster. Some countries make a lot of money out of wars (for instance) by supplying the warring countries with weapons. There are other disasters that can also create wealth for a country e.g. famine, hurricane disasters etc. Remember, there is always money to be made when there is a demand for and a supply of a certain resource.

In short, economic sustainability means that a country has to look at its resources. The government and citizens of that country have to decide how and when to use these resources and what they want to achieve by using the resources. Then they have to think about ways of making the resources produce wealth and prosperity to the country and its citizens on an ongoing basis. If they can achieve a healthy balance between usage and money creation, the use of those resources can be described as sustainable. If the resource also produces wealth and prosperity and can continue doing so for the foreseeable future, the resource/development/project that the country has embarked on can be called economically sustainable. This is the desired state that all countries and developments aim to achieve.

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Meet the Author

Anthony Carter currently resides in Fife, Scotland with his wife Lisa, and their three wonderful children. As a senior editor for various publications, if he's not reading and writing, you would find him photographing and traveling to some of the most far-flung locations around the world.


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