Counting on technological innovations can be seen as a rather path-dependent way in the search for ways of mitigating environmental problems and meeting global challenges.
Since around the turn of the century, answers that are more radical are promoted, first from social movements in various parts of the world, and in the past ten years in the scientific community. The hypothesis is that even with a technology-driven modernization of the economies, an absolute decoupling of economic growth from the depletion of natural resources and sink capacities of eco-systems cannot be achieved. In addition, other challenges cannot be addressed adequately either, in the frame of a “growth oriented society” such as inequality and the decoupling of increasing material welfare from personal satisfaction and happiness. What is required are strategies aiming at steady-state economies or even de-growth, related to changing consumption patterns and new values and life-styles.
The first event in November will discuss these more radical paradigms and ask whether and how they can contribute to a more inclusive answer to global challenges beyond disruptive technological innovations. How could both approaches be combined in an intelligent way? The panel will focus on the question whether a fair transition towards a sufficiency-oriented society is possible in a globalized and interlinked world.
Source: Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), October 2019