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Digitalization and Degrowth

Digitalization plays a major role in economic as well as in political contexts. The discourse on digitalization has been dominated for many years by authors who take as a given how digital technologies look like and how it changes economic, social and political processes. In this view, the only question we as a society can address is how to organize the changes of digitalization in a socially acceptable manner (Brynjolfsson and McAfee, 2014). Increasingly there is also a debate however, that it is possible to shape digital technologies and their applications in different forms. This opens up the discussion for various possible “digital futures”. In any case, one basic statement holds true: The impacts of digitalization might very well shape (or disrupt) many institutions and relations of our current society. How those arrangements will look like is a crucial question of the 21st century.

Therefore, social movements need and should engage in the topic. Change always creates winners and losers – and social movements can help to prevent that the less privileged in society bear the costs. In this article, I discuss the relation between digitalization and four important societal aspects: (1) the decoupling of economic growth and environmental throughput; (2) democracy; (3) inequalities and (4) global justice.

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