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Toxic Omissions and Cancerous Growths: Addressing the Unexamined Assumption of Sustainable Consumption in Technologically Innovative Societies

Nguyen, Hue LU (2008) IMEN56 20081
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
This study challenges existing dogma of economists and environmentalists with a finding
that sustainable consumption in industrial societies is impossible within standard models
of growth because the approaches that are being taken to investments (in new
technologies) are linked with and dependent on increased consumption as a requirement
of innovation and as part of ideology in societies. Though slight reductions of resource
consumption are being reported in some societies that have high environmental
standards, existing high levels of consumption in these industrial societies still continue
to overshoot the biocapacity of the earth and technological policies are linked with the
cause of the problem rather than with the solution.... (More)
This study challenges existing dogma of economists and environmentalists with a finding
that sustainable consumption in industrial societies is impossible within standard models
of growth because the approaches that are being taken to investments (in new
technologies) are linked with and dependent on increased consumption as a requirement
of innovation and as part of ideology in societies. Though slight reductions of resource
consumption are being reported in some societies that have high environmental
standards, existing high levels of consumption in these industrial societies still continue
to overshoot the biocapacity of the earth and technological policies are linked with the
cause of the problem rather than with the solution. This speed and rate of reductions in
consumption that new technologies bring is not sufficient to ensure the possibility of
sustainability on the planet. These countries are locked into a situation that cannot be
changed because certain ideologies of infinite economic growth coupled with the
realities of current production practices and political choices currently prevent it to do so.
The study examines existing international data, offers a case study of innovationconsumption
in Sweden and Denmark, offers thought experiments on social change
pathways, and presents a preliminary model of a sustainable technological society.
A radical change in thinking and in policy approaches appears to be needed in order to
continue technological advances within the biocapacity of the earth (and accessible nearearth
resources). The author offers policy recommendations to governments to replace
Ministries of Trade and generate new planning agencies and systems of measuring links
between technology and consumption. It also advises researchers, non-governmental
organisations, civil society and social thinkers to reorient ideologies and the goals of
society and technology towards uneconomic motivations; a major global culture change,
different from the approaches currently offered by those who call for sustainable
growth or even sustainable development . (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Nguyen, Hue LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN56 20081
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Sustainable Consumption
language
English
id
1413804
date added to LUP
2009-06-03 14:01:01
date last changed
2009-06-03 14:01:01
@misc{1413804,
  abstract     = {This study challenges existing dogma of economists and environmentalists with a finding
that sustainable consumption in industrial societies is impossible within standard models
of growth because the approaches that are being taken to investments (in new
technologies) are linked with and dependent on increased consumption as a requirement
of innovation and as part of ideology in societies. Though slight reductions of resource
consumption are being reported in some societies that have high environmental
standards, existing high levels of consumption in these industrial societies still continue
to overshoot the biocapacity of the earth and technological policies are linked with the
cause of the problem rather than with the solution. This speed and rate of reductions in
consumption that new technologies bring is not sufficient to ensure the possibility of
sustainability on the planet. These countries are locked into a situation that cannot be
changed because certain ideologies of infinite economic growth coupled with the
realities of current production practices and political choices currently prevent it to do so.
The study examines existing international data, offers a case study of innovationconsumption
in Sweden and Denmark, offers thought experiments on social change
pathways, and presents a preliminary model of a sustainable technological society.
A radical change in thinking and in policy approaches appears to be needed in order to
continue technological advances within the biocapacity of the earth (and accessible nearearth
resources). The author offers policy recommendations to governments to replace
Ministries of Trade and generate new planning agencies and systems of measuring links
between technology and consumption. It also advises researchers, non-governmental
organisations, civil society and social thinkers to reorient ideologies and the goals of
society and technology towards uneconomic motivations; a major global culture change,
different from the approaches currently offered by those who call for sustainable
growth or even sustainable development .},
  author       = {Nguyen, Hue},
  keyword      = {Sustainable Consumption},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Toxic Omissions and Cancerous Growths: Addressing the Unexamined Assumption of Sustainable Consumption in Technologically Innovative Societies},
  year         = {2008},
}