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Academic Special Session: Political Economy of a Digitalized Degrowth Society

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“The intersection of digital technologies and degrowth” is an important but thus far underdeveloped research area. Prior research in the field has mainly addressed specific technologies and their potential for supporting alternative communities. Long-running trends in digital technologies (e.g., Moore’s law and the relentless pace of innovation in computing) as well as recent disruptive developments (e.g. the extreme energy consumption of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, undermining of labor laws through “crowd work”) show that digital technologies such as algorithms, artificial intelligence and big data are more than just helpful tools. They alter socio-economic institutions (which the degrowth movement has been criticising for many years) with unprecedented speed. In this special session we will therefore address the question of how these developments can be made fruitful for a transition towards a degrowth society and what a “degrowth paradigm” might mean for the design of digital technologies and institutions such as cooperatively-owned digital platforms, cryptocurrencies and money creation, computing standards and new forms of production and allocation.