Digital Reset.

Redirecting Technologies for the Deep Sustainability Transformation. 

Time seems out of joint. The world society has experienced a centennial pandemic, the global thermometer has displayed a sequence of hottest years on record, and Russia’s war on Ukraine has shattered political order. Unsurprisingly, the economy is severely affected. Governments worldwide hope that digital technologies can provide key solutions. Yet this report shows that digitalisation, in its current and mainstream form, is rather aggravating than solving many of the pressing social and environmental crises at hand. What is needed instead is a deep sustainability transformation that fundamentally reorganizes the economy and all its sectors – agriculture, mobility, energy, buildings, industry, and consumption.

“Digital Reset” shows how digital technologies can support the quest for such a deep sustainability transformation. The report provides a blueprint for the European Union on how to reconceptualize digitalisation so that it first and foremost contributes to achieving carbon neutrality, resource autonomy and economic resilience while supporting equity and fully respecting citizen’s rights and privacy.

The report is the outcome of a two-year international science-policy dialogue, “Digitalization for Sustainability” (D4S), and presents the most up-to-date comprehensive analysis of opportunities, risks and governance options regarding digitalization and sustainability.

Smart Green World?

Making Digitalization Work for Sustainability

In this book, Steffen Lange and Tilman Santarius investigate how digitalization influences environmental and social sustainability. The information revolution is currently changing the daily lives of billions of people worldwide. At the same time, the current economic model and consumerist lifestyle needs to be radically transformed if society is to overcome the challenges humanity is facing on a finite planet. Can the much-discussed disruption potential of digitalization be harnessed for this purpose?

Smart Green World? provides guiding principles for a sustainable digital society and develops numerous hands-on proposals for how digitalization can be shaped to become a driving force for social transformation. For instance, the authors explain why more digitalization is needed to realize the transition towards 100% renewable energy and show how this can be achieved without sacrificing privacy. They analyze how the information revolution can transform consumption patterns, mobility habits and industry structures – instead of fostering the consumption of unneeded stuff due to personalized commercials and the acceleration of life. The authors reveal how Artificial Intelligence and the Industrial Internet of Things pose novel environmental challenges and contribute to a polarization of income; but they also demonstrate how the internet can be restored to its status as a commons, with users taking priority and society at large reaping the benefits of technological change in a most democratic way.

Providing a comprehensive and practical assessment of both social and environmental opportunities and challenges of digitalization, Smart Green World? Making Digitalization Work for Sustainability will be of great interest to all those studying the complex interrelationship of the twenty-first-century megatrends of digitalization and decarbonization.

Smarte grüne Welt?

Digitalisierung zwischen Überwachung, Konsum und Nachhaltigkeit 

»(...) eine kundige Bestandsaufnahme, was dauerhafte digitale Vernetzung, Smartphonisierung und Big Data mit uns machen.« Markus Wanzeck, bild der wissenschaft 
»Alles wird sich ändern!« Dieser prophetische Ruf aus der IT-Branche ist inzwischen zur gängigen Einschätzung über die Tragweite der Digitalisierung geworden. Doch was bringt die Digitalisierung für Ökologie und Gerechtigkeit? Führt sie uns in eine smarte grüne Welt, in der alle vom technologischen Fortschritt profitieren und wir zugleich schonender mit der Umwelt umgehen? Oder steuern wir in einen digitalen Kapitalismus, in dem sich Geld und Macht auf wenige konzentrieren und die Wirtschaft noch weiter über die planetaren Grenzen hinauswächst? 

Steffen Lange und Tilman Santarius analysieren, wie sich die Digitalisierung bisher auf Energie- und Ressourcenverbräuche, Arbeitsplätze und Einkommensverteilung ausgewirkt hat, und entwickeln Design-Prinzipien für eine nachhaltige Digitalisierung. Damit die Digitalisierung die Welt auch wirklich smarter macht. 

Macroeconomics Without Growth

Sustainable Economies in Neoclassical, Keynesian and Marxian Theories 

"This is one of the most important pieces of research to come out in ecological macroeconomics in the last 20 years, alongside Peter Victor's 'Managing Without Growth', and Tim Jackson's 'Prosperity Without Growth'. It is the first and only attempt to systematically work out the conditions for zero growth under different economic models.” (Giorgos Kallis, Research Professor of Ecological Economics, Autonomous University of Barcelona)

"Steffen Lange has provided an amazing piece of work. The book has good chances of becoming a standard work for ecological economists in due course." (Arne Heise, Professor of Macroeconomics, University of Hamburg)

How can we organize our economies without growth? "Macroeconomics Without Growth' provides a comprehensive understanding of how non-growing economies can be sustainable. With this book, Steffen Lange brings new momentum into the debate on post-growth, degrowth and steady state economies. The book delves deep into economic theory to understand how a macro-economy can operate without growth. By applying a highly diverse set of theories - from Neoclassical, Keynesian and Marxian traditions - the book is able to cover a wide range of macroeconomic aspects: Is zero growth possible in a capitalist economic system? What happens to aggregate demand and aggregate supply when economies stop growing? And what role do firms, markets and technological change play in post-growth economies?

Steffen Lange conclusively shows that sustainable economies without growth are feasible from a macroeconomic perspective. However, small changes will not suffice. Rather, key economic institutions and dynamics need to be rearranged: the prices of labour and natural resources, the structures of companies, the framework of markets - just to name a few. 'Macroeconomics Without Growth' is the first economics book to investigate nongrowing economies in a comprehensive manner. It is a must read both for economists who want to use economics for a sustainable future, and for environmentalists who want to understand the economic principles of sustainable transformations.