A Multilevel, Multisystems Strategic
Approach to a Sustainable Economy
The global financial crisis of 2008–2009 has been said to have had many causes that occurred at multiple levels of human society. Excessively risky real estate investments, overextended financial portfolios, disaggregated financial instruments, unregulated hedge funds, greedy bankers, and several other explanations for the worldwide financial meltdown illustrate the diversity of factors that may be associated with this complex, global economic situation (shiller 2008). From a sustainability perspective, we might also consider that both the causes and the results of the financial crisis, as well as responses to it, can occur at multiple levels. These levels can include individuals, households, organizations, communities, networks, and societal institutions. applying a model codeveloped by the author, this chapter analyzes the recent global financial crisis at these levels and accounts for natural environment-related inputs, processes, and outputs, as well as other systems-oriented phenomena at each level.
Such an approach is presented here because levels and systems analyses allow observers to adopt multifocal perspectives on societal phenomena. for example, to the extent that one of the many causes of the crisis was that risky home loans were made by financial institutions to homeowners who could not repay them, a sustainability perspective could include macro phenomena, such as continued human population growth and need for shelter, and micro phenomena, such as excessive heating and cooling bills exacerbating home-loan repayment. Similarly, regarding societal responses to these crises, in this case, recovery from economic crises, sustainability approaches might include reductions in overall human population