Sustainability has become a key issue in managing natural resources together with growing concerns for capitalism, environmental and resource problems. We hypothesize that the ongoing modernization of competitive societies, which we refer to as "capitalism," affects human nature for utilizing common pool resources, thus compromising sustainability. To test this hypothesis, we design and implement a set of dynamic common pool resource games and experiments in the following two types of Nepalese areas: (i) rural (non-capitalistic) and (ii) urban (capitalistic) areas. We find that a proportion of prosocial individuals in urban areas is lower than that in rural areas, and urban residents deplete resources more quickly than rural residents. The composition of proself and prosocial individuals in a group and the degree of capitalism are crucial in that an increase in prosocial members in a group and the rural dummy positively affect resource sustainability by 65% and 63%, respectively. Overall, this paper shows that when societies move toward more capitalistic environments, the sustainability of common pool resources tends to decrease with the changes in individual preferences, social norms, customs and views to others through human interactions. This result implies that individuals may be losing their coordination abilities for social dilemmas of resource sustainability in capitalistic societies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)