Can technologies help to reduce the physical and human degradation in transition towards a degrowth society?
Pasqua L’Abbate a,b,*, Maurizio Pallante b, Michele Dassisti a
a Politecnico di Bari, Italy.
* Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org (P. L’Abbate). Session: individual paper/presentation
Theme: Environmentally sound economies Sub-category: Technology/ICT
This article outlines the role that technology has to play in order to enable human beings to move towards a degrowth society. Against the background of the problems we face today, the authors E.E. Schumacher, N.Georgescu-Roegen and others have been re-examined. This work also explains the concepts of entropy and emergy and the “fourth” principle of thermodynamics revised in the light of the thinking of Prigogine, Odum and the Maximum Em-Power Principle.
Readings of authors like Shumacher, Tawney, Huxley, Illich and the suggestions from Pallante, with the support of thermodynamics, emphasise the need for a new interdisciplinary approach to technology and eco-innovation.
This study suggests to do an analysis of local systems, and the involvement of the stakeholder, to adapt the technology to the territory, to local needs while respecting the traditions, the knowledge and the “know how to do it” of the population. Absolute dematerialization is extremely important. Waste of material and energy can be eliminated using tools designed to calculate flows of material and energy such as: LCA, IOA, virtual water.
Last but not least, technology has to be careful to its targets. It should help develop a lifestyle which assigns material things to their rightful place – as a secondary, not primary, aim – and it should improve the use of useful material and energy. The Green economy and Circular Economy, are certainly improving in comparison to the Brown Economy, but they are not able to resolve the problems of physical and social degradation, and they continue to create market relations rather than social relations.
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