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Towards a Green Global Golden Age? : ICT enabled cornucopian sustainability and a suggestion for its reform

Wagner, Kai Christian LU (2017) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20171
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
This conceptual thesis analyses Carlota Pérez vision of a ‘Green Global Golden Age’ that is supposed to reconcile the tension between economic growth and sustainability (Pérez, 2016b). Aiming to address the pressing issue of continued unsustainability, Pérez’ proposed solution is based on the assumption that technological innovation in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can successfully decouple economic growth from unsustainable levels of raw material consumption and environmental pollution. This shall be achieved by a combination of circular economy principles and dematerialized consumption patterns. The feasibility of Pérez’ proposal is analysed from a sustainability science perspective. This is done via... (More)
This conceptual thesis analyses Carlota Pérez vision of a ‘Green Global Golden Age’ that is supposed to reconcile the tension between economic growth and sustainability (Pérez, 2016b). Aiming to address the pressing issue of continued unsustainability, Pérez’ proposed solution is based on the assumption that technological innovation in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can successfully decouple economic growth from unsustainable levels of raw material consumption and environmental pollution. This shall be achieved by a combination of circular economy principles and dematerialized consumption patterns. The feasibility of Pérez’ proposal is analysed from a sustainability science perspective. This is done via applying a systems perspective on the implications of Pérez’ assumptions regarding ICT with a particular focus on sustainability. The analysis of Pérez’ proposal, its discussion and the later normative extension is structured with the help of the reinterpreted three-dimensional research matrix by Jerneck et al. (2011) that has been appropriated for this thesis. Based on a literary review, Pérez’ proposal is found to present significant trade-offs between the objectives of economic growth and sustainability. With the aim to contribute both, a critical analysis of the sustainability implications of Pérez’ ‘Green Global Golden Age’ and a normative discussion of its potential reform, the second part of this thesis is focusing on the identification of Pérez’ overarching objective and alternative strategies to achieve them. In this analysis, Human wellbeing is identified to be this underlying objective. In contrast to the mainstream operationalization of wellbeing as the number of goods and services an individual enjoys, Amartya Sen’s work on ‘Development as Freedom’ (1999) is introduced as an alternative operationalization of human wellbeing. Following the objective to provide an alternative economic paradigm that unites environmental concerns with human wellbeing in the sense of Sen, Kate Raworth’s (2012) idea of doughnut economics is introduced. Linking back to the review of ICT and its effects on sustainability, the last part is concerned with the critical discussion of Pérez’ Cornucopian perspective on technology. As a result of this discussion, it is made clear that technology plays an important role in the transition towards a sustainable future, but only if its limitations are acknowledged. The thesis concludes with a short summary of the different chapters, and two possible directions for future research. (Less)
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author
Wagner, Kai Christian LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
green growth, rebound effect, human development, doughnut economics, sustainability science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2017:018
language
English
id
8912373
date added to LUP
2017-06-08 15:23:47
date last changed
2017-06-09 04:09:11
@misc{8912373,
  abstract     = {This conceptual thesis analyses Carlota Pérez vision of a ‘Green Global Golden Age’ that is supposed to reconcile the tension between economic growth and sustainability (Pérez, 2016b). Aiming to address the pressing issue of continued unsustainability, Pérez’ proposed solution is based on the assumption that technological innovation in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can successfully decouple economic growth from unsustainable levels of raw material consumption and environmental pollution. This shall be achieved by a combination of circular economy principles and dematerialized consumption patterns. The feasibility of Pérez’ proposal is analysed from a sustainability science perspective. This is done via applying a systems perspective on the implications of Pérez’ assumptions regarding ICT with a particular focus on sustainability. The analysis of Pérez’ proposal, its discussion and the later normative extension is structured with the help of the reinterpreted three-dimensional research matrix by Jerneck et al. (2011) that has been appropriated for this thesis. Based on a literary review, Pérez’ proposal is found to present significant trade-offs between the objectives of economic growth and sustainability. With the aim to contribute both, a critical analysis of the sustainability implications of Pérez’ ‘Green Global Golden Age’ and a normative discussion of its potential reform, the second part of this thesis is focusing on the identification of Pérez’ overarching objective and alternative strategies to achieve them. In this analysis, Human wellbeing is identified to be this underlying objective. In contrast to the mainstream operationalization of wellbeing as the number of goods and services an individual enjoys, Amartya Sen’s work on ‘Development as Freedom’ (1999) is introduced as an alternative operationalization of human wellbeing. Following the objective to provide an alternative economic paradigm that unites environmental concerns with human wellbeing in the sense of Sen, Kate Raworth’s (2012) idea of doughnut economics is introduced. Linking back to the review of ICT and its effects on sustainability, the last part is concerned with the critical discussion of Pérez’ Cornucopian perspective on technology. As a result of this discussion, it is made clear that technology plays an important role in the transition towards a sustainable future, but only if its limitations are acknowledged. The thesis concludes with a short summary of the different chapters, and two possible directions for future research.},
  author       = {Wagner, Kai Christian},
  keyword      = {green growth,rebound effect,human development,doughnut economics,sustainability science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Towards a Green Global Golden Age? : ICT enabled cornucopian sustainability and a suggestion for its reform},
  year         = {2017},
}