I have been doing some work recently with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, and have just published the first of a number of working papers, entitled “A Critique of Techno-Optimism: Efficiency without Sufficiency is Lost”. An abstract is posted below and the full paper is available here.
ABSTRACT: “Technological optimists believe that humanity will be able to solve environmental problems primarily through technological application and advancement, while continuing to focus attention on economic growth. From this widely held perspective, sustained growth of the global economy will eliminate global poverty and raise living standards for all, without destroying the necessary ecosystems that sustain life as we know it. There can be no doubt that this promise of technology is seductive – material abundance for all, while solving environmental problems. But is this promise credible? If not, what are the implications? This paper presents an evidence-based critique of techno-optimism, arguing that the vision of progress it promotes is unrealisable due to the limits of technology and the inherent structure of growth economics. The considered application of technology is, without doubt, an essential part of any transition to a just and sustainable world, but it is argued that there must also be a value-shift away from growth economics toward a ‘post-growth’ or ‘steady state’ economy based on material sufficiency.”
Full working paper available here.