After doing my research paper on how capitalism's growth is unsustainable last semester, it became ever more clear to me that not only would an alternative system to capitalism be better, it is necessary for the survival of the planet. It is unlikely these changes would take place within our lifetime, but they are worth keeping in mind because they are the right thing to do.
In the past couple hundred years, the system of capitalism has begun the 6th mass extinction on planet earth, ocean pollution in which plastic is scheduled to outweigh fish in our lifetime, and although we have the capability to make life a lot easier due to the automation of industrial machines, a wealthy few benefit from these advancements and the rest are left working more than is necessary to survive in first world countries where we produce goods not for the sake of using them efficiently, but producing them rampantly so that profit can be generated. While first world countries prosper, the third world still suffers, with the top 8 wealthiest people in the world owning more than the bottom half of the world.
Here is how the society would function in a non growth based economy, to my recollection. What would basically happen is you would get rid of shareholders, and make each person in the company the owner of the means of production. A factory, a shop, etc. They make the full value of their labor, and since you eliminate shareholders there's no need to give them a return on their investment by expanding the company. Capitalism has apparently expanded 16 times since the beginning of the 20th century because of this growth based model. If you switch to a non-growth based economy you could eliminate this dichotomy
The workers would vote on decisions that the company does, because they are the ones who own the company, not the shareholders. In capitalist society, the shareholders are the ones who vote on decisions that the company makes. This is the reason why you see so many companies moving their production over seas. Because the motivation is to make profit at all costs, when worker wages start being too much for capitalists to afford, they need to move the company somewhere where they can pay workers less. Since a democratic workplace doesn't rely on growth, there isn't a need to cut workers when the workers wages threaten to undercut the profit motive.
I do hope that people can have their jobs replaced with robots more and more, and people can be supplemented with what the robots produce so they don't have to work as much. The industrial revolution could have been a means of reducing work for all people, because machines do most of the work. However, instead of subsisting on what the machines produce, human beings need to make more, otherwise this undercuts capitalism's constant need to grow, due "the tendency of the rate of profit to fall". So they create unnecessary products, and extract unnecessary resources from the earth. Profits must be made and continue to grow, otherwise there will be an economic crash. Eventually the economy cannot grow any more, the tendency of the rate of profit to fall causes an economic crash, and the planet was sapped of it's resources in a failed attempt to keep this inefficient model from crashing again.
These are all problems intrinsic to capitalism. The tendency of the rate of profit to fall, the need for endless growth, the undercutting of wages when they threaten the companies profits, the destruction of the environment, and the concentration of capital into the hands of a few. There is ample reason to be concerned that this system we live in is going to cause massive death and destruction on planet earth and likely fail in the future, and if humanity knew what was best for them they would switch to a non-growth, socialist based economic system before it's too late. Unfortunately, they likely won't. However, it is the right thing to do, and I am happy to stand with the likes of Albert Einstein in believing that capitalism is not the way, and socialism is.