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The convergence of digital commons with local manufacturing from a degrowth perspective: Two illustrative cases

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... Thus, organizations must fundamentally change product development to promote product design changes that integrate the conviviality concept (Lizarralde and Tyl, 2018) and enhance longevity (see e.g., Bakker et al., 2014), repairability and are not subject to fast-fashion trends (Bocken and Short, 2016;Lizarralde and Tyl, 2018). Strategies to achieve these targets also include modular product architectures (Hankammer and Kleer, 2018), premium pricing (Bocken and Short, 2016), and co-creation and co-financing of products (Hankammer and Kleer, 2018;Kostakis et al., 2018). ...
... Commons-based peer production facilitates a shift away from profit-oriented organizations towards a community-based approach that produces knowledge and goods for its members according to their needs. Commons projects, such as hackerspaces or fablabs, share their knowledge and support their members in the design and production of goods (Hankammer and Kleer, 2018;Kostakis et al., 2018). This could enable autonomy and conviviality of local communities and individuals in the sense of the idea of a 'convivial society' proposed by Illich (1973), in which everyone is granted a high degree of access to use tools to creatively and literately carry out their own aims (Hankammer and Kleer, 2018). ...
... Commons-oriented productive model; community-orientation; conjunction of global design collaborations and the relocalization of production; commons-based peer production and desktop manufacturing Kostakis et al. (2018) The convergence of digital commons with local manufacturing from a degrowth perspective: Two illustrative cases ...
Article
Economic growth is generally seen as a central economic and political goal. The critique of this view has increased recently. In this context post-growth concepts, such as sustainable degrowth, emerged as an alternative paradigm focusing on ensuring human wellbeing within planetary boundaries. Since business activity is a key driving force behind economic growth, the role of corporate organizations in a transition towards a post-growth society is a particularly challenging question. It is still unclear, for instance, what business models for organizations approaching degrowth could look like. Therefore, our study aims to contribute to understanding guiding principles for organizations approaching degrowth. In this exploratory work, we use a two-step approach: First, based on a systematic literature review, we derive principles for a conceptual framework composed of business-relevant claims in the degrowth discourse in order to assemble and synergize fragmented findings. The resulting conceptual framework serves to describe and assess organizations with respect to their approximation to degrowth. Second, we apply the framework to four organizations certified as B Corps based on qualitative content analysis of interviews with corporate representatives and additional company data. Overall, our findings show that B Corps rather successfully implement numerous degrowth-approaching principles in their organization within our current economic system, while none of the organizations is seen as fully degrowth-conform. With our analysis we uncover significant tensions regarding growth-orientation and identify further needs for empirical and conceptual research.
... Johanisova et al., 2013), and commons-based peer production (CBPP) 1 organisations (see e.g. Kostakis et al., 2018;. CBPP organisations represent a special case in the above list of alternative organisations as CBPP also represents an alternative mode of production (Bauwens et al., 2019). ...
... CBPP organisations represent a special case in the above list of alternative organisations as CBPP also represents an alternative mode of production (Bauwens et al., 2019). CBPP as a mode of production is theoretically claimed to be indifferent to growth and does not require profit incentives for innovation (see Kostakis et al., 2018). This thesis therefore sets its focus on CBPP as a mode of production as well as an alternative form of organisations that could potentially fit and help to achieve degrowth. ...
... To help reproduce a counter-hegemony (such as degrowth) economic organisations must align with an alternative mode of production (alternative to the capitalist mode of production) that fits the counter-hegemony. Kostakis et al. (2018) as well as argue that CBPP can be a fitting alternative mode of production for degrowth. This PhD echoes this insight but expands upon the argument that CBPP organisations (i.e. economic organisations using CBPP as their mode of production) can therefore theoretically align with degrowth counter-hegemony. ...
Thesis
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This thesis identifies a research gap on the role of economic organisations in connection to degrowth and problematises that past research fails to view economic organisations as encompassed by capitalist structures. The thesis seeks to contribute to the degrowth discourse by filling part of this research gap by researching the role of economic organisations in achieving degrowth and the resulting implications for these organisations. The thesis makes use of Gramsci’s conceptualisation of hegemony and counter-hegemony to define degrowth as a counter-hegemony seeking to overcome the capitalist hegemony. The thesis finds that economic organisations must operate in line with a mode of production that can fit degrowth (such as commons-based peer production) and aim to shape society’s superstructure to help enable a degrowth transition. The resulting contradiction of aligning with an alternative mode of production is further unfolded using Luhmann’s social systems theory together with the concept of counter-hegemony. This theoretical investigation highlights that organisational social systems aligned with degrowth counter-hegemony face a paradox in having to embrace uncertainty in their social systemic reproduction. The thesis’ empirical findings show that economic organisations (on the example of commons-based peer production organisations) can align with degrowth through awareness of the afore mentioned contradiction and aiming to overcome it. These economic organisations require a strong alignment with degrowth counter-hegemony in their decision premises, particularly cognitive routine (the conceptualisation of the organisations system environment). The thesis highlights that such an alignment might only be achieved and ensured by keeping a relatively small organisational membership. The concept of scaling-wide is therefore proposed to create degrowth aligned networks of economic organisations that could further help to ensure counter-hegemonic reproduction. Ultimately, the thesis also makes a plea to the degrowth discourse to take charge of research on economic organisations in connection to degrowth to ensure counter-hegemonic alignment.
... First, we searched our sample of publications for information about technology adoption processes by users. For this, we also considered information on user requirements, which form the basis for (2012) IT-PE-100, SP-500 Peru Kamp and Vanheule (2015) Piggott turbine Kenya Kostakis et al. (2013) Helix_T Kostakis et al. (2018) Piggott turbine Greece Latoufis ( T. Reinauer and U.E. Hansen adoption decisions. 3 We coded this information based on the four a prior categories of our analytical described above (Section 2). ...
... Our sample of publications contains a number of estimates of upfront capital costs, offering further insight about their attractiveness to users (Fig. 5). However, it should be noted that these usually do not include labour costs in monetary terms, which range between 144 and 500 person-hours per machine (Hosman, 2012;Kostakis et al., 2018;Latoufis et al., 2015a;Latoufis, 2012). This means that relatively intense effort is needed, which can reduce the willingness of user to self-manufacture such turbines. ...
... For example, many authors emphasize that open-source SWTs are specifically designed to be accessible to users, as they can be built using widely available tools and materials Kamp and Vanheule, 2015;Latoufis et al., 2015a;Mishnaevsky et al., 2011), including recycled materials (Latoufis et al., 2018a;Mishnaevsky et al., 2011;Monteiro et al., 2013;Rodrigues et al., 2016;Schoden et al., 2019). Furthermore, some authors stress that their construction requires no advanced training (e.g., Bassett and Semple, 2012;Latoufis, 2012) and that they are based on simple designs, reducing complexity in manufacture and maintenance Al-Bahadly, 2009;Kostakis et al., 2018). Others argue that technology adoption is aided by the fact that there are robust, tried-and-tested base designs that users can replicate and, if need be, adapt to the particularities of their project contexts (Ferrer-Martí et al., 2012;Latoufis, 2012;Sumanik-Leary et al., 2014). ...
Article
The successes of open-source software raise the question of whether technological hardware that has been developed based on an open and collaborative mode of innovation can achieve similar levels of diffusion. While some expect such open-source hardware (OSH) to lead to transformational changes in the ways technologies are produced, the available empirical evidence suggests that, to date, the diffusion of most OSH applications has been modest. In this paper, we focus on the limited uptake of OSH and study factors that help explain its adoption by users who replicate available open-source designs. Given our limited understanding of this topic, we present an in-depth study of small wind turbines based on open designs. Through a systematic review of the case-specific literature, we identify and analyse 60 documents, including case studies, construction manuals, market analyses, and technical assessments. We find that the adoption of available open-source wind turbine designs by technology users depends on a number of factors that are currently underemphasized in discussions on the potential of OSH. This includes the quality of OSH self-manufactured products, the particular motivations of adopters to engage with OSH, the availability of adequate production inputs for local manufacturing, and the resources available through open-source communities.
... 1. deal with the above contradiction of an alternative mode of production/organisation within capitalist economic and social structures 2. potentially influence/transform their surroundings and, ultimately, society's superstructure This article also acknowledges that counter-hegemony must be addressed at the level of production itself. However, it is our belief that CBPP (i.e. the mode of production) is theoretically closely aligned to degrowth in terms of the parameters of the mode of production (see Kostakis et al. 2018;Robra, Heikkurinen and Nesterova 2020), which is why CBPP has been dubbed a natural ally to degrowth (see Kallis 2018). This alignment is currently based on thin theoretical and empirical foundations. ...
... Contrastingly, CBPP employs commoning (Bollier and Helfrich 2015;, that is, the capacity to contribute to and benefit from the commons, based on community-defined rules and norms. Commoning can resist capital accumulation, thus transfusing CBPP with a counter-hegemonic affinity that has been connected to degrowth (see Kostakis et al. 2018). Kostakis et al. (2018) argue that CBPP is a potential mode of production for degrowth because it enables production and innovation without being primarily driven by profit maximisation. ...
... Commoning can resist capital accumulation, thus transfusing CBPP with a counter-hegemonic affinity that has been connected to degrowth (see Kostakis et al. 2018). Kostakis et al. (2018) argue that CBPP is a potential mode of production for degrowth because it enables production and innovation without being primarily driven by profit maximisation. One configuration of CBPP that builds on the conjunction of a global knowledge commons with local distributed manufacturing capabilities exemplifies its potential for material production. ...
Article
Full-text available
Capitalism is evidently the main cause of ecological degradation, climate change and social inequality. Degrowth as a counter-hegemony opposes the capitalist imperatives of economic growth and capital accumulation and radically seeks to transform society towards sustainability. This has strong political economic implications. Economic organisations and modes of production are essential in overcoming capitalist hegemony. This article investigates two commons-based peer production (CBPP) organisations in a qualitative case study by asking how they could align with degrowth counter-hegemony to help overcome capitalism. Social systems theory is used as an organisational lens to empirically research decision premises and their degrowth counter-hegemonic alignment. The results show that this alignment is possible in relatively small organisations. However, to help degrowth succeed, CBPP needs to be more widely adopted, for which larger organisations seem better equipped. Future studies focusing on the concept of scaling wide in CBPP networks in the context of degrowth counter-hegemony are suggested.
... Termed commons-based peer production (CBPP), it was first observed in the unrestricted collaboration of individuals across the globe to coproduce free and open-source software [11] and later in physical manufacturing too. Studies have tracked its manifestation in applications, such as computer hardware and research equipment, farming tools [12], renewable energy systems, prosthetics [13], and even buildings [14]. In some of these instances, such as agriculture and small-scale electrification, it builds on the concept of appropriate technology [15], which aims to produce technologies suitable for local socio-economic conditions. ...
... Overall, proponents of cosmolocalism highlight the sustainability and affordability potential of such a production mode, as it presumably reduces reliance on obfuscated global supply chains built on economies of scale, and enables on-demand, localised production, which utilises a shared physical and digital infrastructure [13,19]. Applied to energy production, it could potentially enable local communities to tap into designs for technology available in these digital commons, as well as create designs that are suitable for their local market availability for materials, and environmental conditions and capacities. ...
... 10). Using basic workshop facilities and open designs shared as a digital commons [13,23], nonexperts can manufacture, install, and maintain small wind turbines. Around the world, practitioners produce such 'locally manufactured small wind turbines' (LMSWTs) in sizes ranging from 1.2 to 7 m rotor diameters [24]. ...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we explore the sustainability potential of an alternative commons-based mode of production called cosmolocalism. Cosmolocal production combines global knowledge production with local physical production. Such a production mode has been applied across the globe for locally manufacturing small wind turbines (SWTs) for rural electrification. We assess the sustainability of such cosmolocal SWTs in a case study of electrifying a rural community in Ethiopia. In this context, the life cycles of five SWT alternatives have been compared, ranging from conventional industrially produced turbines to open-source locally manufactured and maintained ones. Our case study indicates that the local manufacturing and maintenance of SWTs offer significant advantages and may redeem small wind turbines as a sustainable component for rural electrification. Specifically, the fully cosmolocal alternative (A1) performs better than any other alternative in technical, environmental, and social criteria, while it is close to the best-performing alternative with regard to economic objectives. For this solution to be implemented, the institutional burden cannot be neglected, but can rather be considered a sine qua non condition for locally manufactured and maintained SWTs. A set of generic institutional interventions to create favourable conditions for cosmolocal production is proposed, which needs to be elaborated in a context-specific manner.
... Individuals across the globe have been empowered to collaborate and manufacture locally. Initiatives in multiple productive sectors have appeared, starting from software and content production, with free and opensource software and Wikipedia, and expanding to fields of physical production, like agriculture, medical applications and even space research [27,30,31]. These initiatives can be considered the seedlings for the mode of production known as commons-based peer production. ...
... Moreover, certain communal spaces may be organized to offer the tools for the actual creation. Examples abound, from agricultural machinery and small-scale manufacturing to delicate medical applications and energy production equipment [27,31]. ...
Article
The discussions around the unsustainability of the dominant socio-economic structures have yet to produce solutions to address the escalating problems we face as a species. Such discussions, this paper argues, are hindered by the limited scope of the proposed solutions within a business-as-usual context as well as by the underlying technological rationale upon which these solutions are developed. In this paper, we conceptualize a radical sustainable alternative to the energy conundrum based on an emerging mode of production and a commons-based political economy. We propose a commons-oriented Energy Internet as a potential system for energy production and consumption, which may be better suited to tackle the current issues society faces. We conclude by referring to some of the challenges that the implementation of such a proposal would entail.
... These characteristics are encapsulated in the production configuration described as "design global, manufacture local" or "cosmolocalism". Knowledge is produced and freely shared globally through digital technologies while material production takes place locally on a smaller scale, ideally in open and collaborative spaces with communal manufacturing infrastructure [43,44]. This configuration has been observed in varying types of production activities from small-scale wind turbines and prosthetics [44], to farming tools [45], and even buildings [46]. ...
... Knowledge is produced and freely shared globally through digital technologies while material production takes place locally on a smaller scale, ideally in open and collaborative spaces with communal manufacturing infrastructure [43,44]. This configuration has been observed in varying types of production activities from small-scale wind turbines and prosthetics [44], to farming tools [45], and even buildings [46]. Applied to energy, it would enable local manufacturing communities to not only use global designs for technology available in the commons, but also develop their own local designs adapted to local market capacities and environmental conditions. ...
Article
Full-text available
Transitioning into a sustainable energy system is becoming ever more pressing as the reality of an anthropogenic ecological crisis becomes difficult to ignore. Due to the complexity of the matter, proposed solutions often address the symptoms of the current socioeconomic configuration rather than its core. To conceptualise possible future energy systems, this Perspective focuses on the disconnect between science and technology and engineering studies. On the one hand, this disconnect leads to social science research that passively critiques rather than contributes to tackling societal issues in practice. On the other, it produces technical work limited by the incumbent conceptualisations of economic activity and organisational configurations around production without capturing the broader social and political dynamics. We thus propose a schema for bridging this divide that uses the "commons" as an umbrella concept. We apply this framework on the hardware aspect of a conceptual energy system, which builds on networked microgrids powered by open-source, lower cost, adaptable, socially responsible and sustainable technology. This Perspective is a call to engineers and social scientists alike to form genuine transdisciplinary collaborations for developing radical alternatives to the energy conundrum.
... Design for a specific transmission cable resistance (and a specific AFPMG airgap regulation), which reduces the transmission cable's cost and also increases the, otherwise relatively fixed, rotational speed of the rotor, in order to achieve higher rotor efficiency, 4 and thus improved power matching with the AFPMG, by using the voltage drop created on the resistance of the transmission cable and the internal resistance of the AFPMG. This leads to the design requirement of regulating the transmission cable resistance and the AFPMG airgap, by minimizing the WECS's total cost while maximizing its annual energy production. ...
Conference Paper
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A holistic and multi-disciplinary design approach is developed for small-scale stand-alone wind energy conversion systems (WECS) using locally manufactured small wind turbines (LMSWTs), with the aim of reducing capital and maintenance costs while increasing the annual energy production and energy utilization of such systems. Various subsystems are analysed and modelled, using both sequential and integrated design approaches, such as the rotor, including the airfoil and blade geometries, the axial flux permanent magnet generator including economic, thermal and structural aspects of the stator and rotor geometry, the furling system and the electrical system, including the power transmission cables and the battery bank. The holistic design approach is then applied to a 2.4m rotor diameter LMSWT and the complete WECS is dimensioned. Finally, the designed low cost system is compared to a high cost system using a maximum power point converter, with satisfactory results especially for low wind speeds around the mean wind speed of the site. It is thus concluded that a holistic and multi-disciplinary design approach to small-scale stand-alone WECS using LMSWTs, can lower the cost of energy for rural electrification applications by reducing capital costs, while sustaining the system’s efficiency and annual energy production in low wind speed regions.
... To realize that societies might have to limit their matter-energy throughput to levels equivalent to the carrying capacity of their land base broadly invites solutions that are compatible with a reduction in energy-matter throughput (including radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions). A number of such solutions driven by efforts to redistribute wealth, progressively degrow the economy, and bring technologies into collective ownership are now emerging (see Kostakis et al. 2016Kostakis et al. , 2018. As opposed to a teleologically driven faith in the continued expansion of an advancing technosphere supported by fossil capital, this is now an alternative option emer ging for the future that philosophers, scientists, politicians, and activists would do well to consider. ...
Book
Current debates on sustainability are largely building on a problematic assumption that increasing technology use and advancement are a desired phenomenon, creating positive change in human organizations. This kind of techno-optimism prevails particularly in the discourses of ecological modernization and green growth, as well as in the attempts to design sustainable modes of production and consumption within growth-driven capitalism. This transdisciplinary book investigates the philosophical underpinnings of technology, presents a culturally sensitive critique to technology, and outlines feasible alternatives for sustainability beyond technology. It draws on a variety of scholarly disciplines, including the humanities (philosophy and environmental history), social sciences (ecological economics, political economy, and ecology) and natural sciences (geology and thermodynamics) to contribute to sustainability theory and policy. By examining the conflicts and contradictions between technology and sustainability in human organization, the book develops a novel way to conceptualize, confront, and change technology in modern society.
... In summary, we argue that a future with free electricity based on sharing is indeed possible using the technical approach elucidated in this article, although it might not be practical yet under the current mode of production dominated by market relations. As demonstrated in [39]- [41], commonsbased peer production is emerging across different sectors and, as pointed out in [19], we have all the conditions necessary to make this move in the energy sector as well. ...
Preprint
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Digitalization has led to radical changes in the distribution of goods across various sectors. The tendency is to move from traditional buyer--seller markets to subscription-based on-demand "smart" matching platforms enabled by pervasive ICTs. The driving force behind this lies in the fact that assets, which were scarce in the past, are readily abundant, approaching a regime of zero marginal costs. This is also becoming a reality in electrified energy systems due to the substantial growth of distributed renewable energy sources such as solar and wind; the increasing number of small-scale storage units such as batteries and heat pumps; and the availability of flexible loads that enable demand-side management. In this context, this article proposes a system architecture based on a logical (cyber) association of spatially distributed (physical) elements as an approach to build a virtual microgrid operated as a software-defined energy network (SDEN) that is enabled by packetized energy management. The proposed cyber-physical system presumes that electrical energy is shared among its members and that the energy sharing is enabled in the cyber domain by handshakes inspired by resource allocation methods utilized in computer networks, wireless communications, and peer-to-peer Internet applications (e.g., BitTorrent). The proposal has twofold benefits: (i) reducing the complexity of current market-based solutions by removing unnecessary and costly mediations and (ii) guaranteeing energy access to all virtual microgrid members according to their individual needs. This article concludes that the proposed solution generally complies with the existing regulations but has highly disruptive potential to organize a dominantly electrified energy system in the mid- to long-term, being a technical counterpart to the recently developed social-oriented microgrid proposals.
... The lower prices of 3D printers (even under $100) and materials make these devices and related technologies accessible and useful to many people. Various authors have mentioned that the possibilities of digital fabrication [1,2] are enhanced by a widespread use of technology. It can be predicted that many people will use this technology, generating a lot of waste in the near future. ...
Article
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Technological and material issues in 3D printing technologies should take into account sustainable development, use of materials, energy, emitted particles, and waste. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether the sustainability of 3D printing processes can be supported by computational intelligence (CI) and artificial intelligence (AI) based solutions. We present a new AI-based software to evaluate the amount of pollution generated by 3D printing systems. We input the values: printing technology, material, print weight, etc., and the expected results (risk assessment) and determine if and what precautions should be taken. The study uses a self-learning program that will improve as more data are entered. This program does not replace but complements previously used 3D printing metrics and software.
... Capitalist production tendencies are characterized by long supply chains, economies of scale, and centralization, which leads to significant waste, mainly through overproduction of goods and shipping costs. Distributed micro-production, including peer-topeer (P2P) production, is characterized by on-demand production with short supply chains ( Rauch et al., 2016 ), diversification over specialization ( Gale 20 0 0 ), improved resilience to disturbances ( Freeman et al., 2017 ), commons knowledge and ownership ( Bauwens 2005 ;Kostakis et al., 2018 ) and is generally more sustainable than traditional manufacturing ( Rauch et al., 2015 ). In these ways, P2P production is strengthening emerging sustainable alternatives to mass production systems by providing technological infrastructure that allows for a greater scale and wider reach of localized production. ...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic simultaneously triggered a sudden, substantial increase in demand for items such as personal protection equipment and hospital ventilators whilst also disrupting the means of mass-production and international transport in established supply chains. Furthermore, under stay-at-home orders and with bricks-and-mortar retailers closed, consumers were also forced to adapt. Thus the pandemic offers a unique opportunity to study shifts in behaviour during disruption to industrialised manufacturing and economic contraction, in order to understand the role peer-to-peer production may play in a transition to long-term sustainability of production and consumption, or degrowth. Here, we analyse publicly-available datasets on internet search traffic and corporation financial returns to track the shifts in public interest and consumer behaviour over 2019 – 2020. We find a jump in interest in home-making and small-scale production at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as a substantial and sustained shift in consumer preference for peer-to-peer e-commerce platforms relative to more-established online vendors. In particular we present two case studies – the home-made facemasks supplied through Etsy, and the decentralised efforts of the 3D printer community – to assess the effectiveness of their responses to the pandemic. These patterns of behaviour are related to new modes of production in line with ecological economics and as such add capacity to a broader prefiguration of degrowth. We suggest an adoption of a new “fourth wave” of DIY culture defined by enhanced resilience and degrowth to continue to add capacity to a prefigurative politic of degrowth.
... Against this background, degrowth emerges as a new sustainability paradigm, a social movement, and a field of research focusing on how modern societies can become less dependent on economic growth and more future-proof in a socially sustainable way (Asara et al., 2015;Weiss and Cattaneo, 2017). However, while research on degrowth at the level of organizations is growing, it is dispersed and often builds on case studies that are predominantly explorative, presented in various formats, and set diverse foci (e.g., Bloemmen et al., 2015;Bradley, 2018;Kostakis et al., 2018). ...
Book
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Cite/Reference as: Hoveskog, M., and Halila, F. (eds), (2021). Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on New Business Models: New Business Models in a Decade of Action: Sustainable, Evidence-based, Impactful. Halmstad: Halmstad University Press. http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-44872
... Another important feature is that organizations inside HdM are engaging in commoning space, machines and objects. This supported the decision to conduct interviews in this space, as commoning, i.e. making an entity freely accessible for the public good, is an essential part of the post-capitalist, as well as degrowth agenda (Chatterton, 2016;Gibson-Graham, 2008;Kostakis et al., 2018). ...
Thesis
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The capitalist system is increasingly criticized for being ecologically and socially destructive and thus critics start assessing the feasibility of a post-capitalist era. In the current debate on the feasibility of overcoming the capitalist system and transitioning to a post-capitalist alternative, Post-Growth scholars (who believe in such a possibility) are opposed by Capitalist Realists (who do not). Both sides, however, usually centre their arguments around the economic and socio-political facets of capitalism. This debate is not fully integrating scholars that view capitalism as a mind-set, or inherent set of beliefs, involving material as well as mental infrastructures. By investigating post-capitalist organizations (i.e., organizations that have already overcome some economic aspects of capitalism), this thesis tests whether claims for Capitalist Realism hold true on the mental level. Slightly modifying the framework of Mental Growth Infrastructures by Welzer led to the specific investigation of organizations´ perceptions of the acceleration of time, the need to progress and the work non-stop mentality. Semi-structured interviews and field notes were gathered from six post-capitalist organizations and analyzed via a mixed analytical approach of both inductive and deductive coding. Results indicated that organizations do not exactly follow the patterns of Mental Growth Infrastructure as established in the literature. In fact, either organizations exhibit Mental Growth Infrastructures but slightly modify the purpose of adopting them, or critique and re-conceptualize them. This resulted in an Organizational Framework of Mental Growth Infrastructures, which adds Mental Green Growth Infrastructures and Mental Post-Growth Infrastructures. It is also discussed what such framework could imply for organizations within and outside the capitalist economy.
... But the literature offers hardly any scientific assessments of how a large-scale shift towards labourintensive farming would impact yields, food availability and labour requirements (Infante Amate and González De Molina, 2013). Kostakis et al. (2018) suggest that an approach of "design global, manufacture local" could be useful for many aspects of a degrowth economy. Their approach features local, decentralised production using simple technologies or 3D printing, based on designs developed in a global digital commons. ...
Article
Full-text available
In order to avoid environmental catastrophe we need to move to a post-growth economy that can deliver rapid reductions in environmental impacts and improve well-being, independent of GDP growth. Such a move will entail considerable structural change in the economy, implying different goals and strategies for different economic sectors. So far there are no systematic approaches for identifying the desired shape of structural change and sectoral goals in terms of output, demand and employment. We present a novel analysis that addresses this gap by classifying economic sectors into groups with similar structural change goals. Our framework for the classification considers sectoral characteristics along three dimensions, which are (a) the final energy intensity, (b) the potential and desirability for labour productivity growth and (c) the relationship between labour productivity and the energy-labour ratio. We present empirical evidence on the three framework dimensions for economic sectors in the UK and Germany and derive structural change goals for the four sector groups representing particular combinations of the sector characteristics. Our analysis allows us to discuss the specific role of different economic sectors in the structural change envisioned in the post-growth transition and the most important challenges they might be facing.
... To realize that societies might have to limit their matter-energy throughput to levels equivalent to the carrying capacity of their land base broadly invites solutions that are compatible with a reduction in energy-matter throughput (including radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions). A number of such solutions driven by efforts to redistribute wealth, progressively degrow the economy, and bring technologies into collective ownership are now emerging (see Kostakis et al. 2016Kostakis et al. , 2018. As opposed to a teleologically driven faith in the continued expansion of an advancing technosphere supported by fossil capital, this is now an alternative option emer ging for the future that philosophers, scientists, politicians, and activists would do well to consider. ...
Chapter
With severe ecological degradation unfolding, the strong sustainability approach underpinned by ecological economics calls for a post-growth vision of the economy. This chapter adopts a philosophical perspective of critical realism and argues that such a vision of the economy does not arise on its own. It is the result of intentional transformation of structures by agents, the result of sustainable change. The chapter proposes small, local, and low-tech firms as agents of sustainable change. Such agency needs to be operationalized, which should be done via the development of the moral agency of individuals. The chapter warns that sustainable change is not an easy undertaking, since agents are constrained by structures which operate against it. It concludes that it is not merely concrete practices, but moral agency and the values and world views of individuals that need to receive more attention in investigating sustainable change and bringing about a post-growth world.
... Identified AM social impacts Degrowth "The concept of degrowth aims fundamentally at reducing material and energy throughput equitably, while questioning the desirability of further economic growth […] The same applies to the assessment of (new) technologies, such as additive manufacturing, web-based user interfaces for co-creation, and other flexible production technologies that allow for collaborative and individualized production." (Hankammer & Kleer, 2018) (Kostakis et al., 2018) 6 Democratized Production "A second social dimension relates to the democratisation of production that direct digital manufacturing technologies such as AM provides." (Ford & Despeisse, 2016) (Yoo et al., 2016) (Calderon et al., 2014) 7 Design Capabilities "However, AM allows design optimization that can lead to products with the same functionality but having less weight compare to that to be produced using conventional manufacturing processes." ...
Preprint
Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D Printing, is believed to be a disruptive technology, and therefore the assessment of its ensuing sustainability impacts is necessary. The insufficient evidence in extant literature addressing the social impacts of AM suggests that the social sustainability aspect of this technology has received scant attention. The current study addresses this knowledge gap through a critical literature review that leads to the identification of 42 AM social impacts and their association with relevant stakeholders, shaping a social life cycle typology that indicates to what extent each stakeholder is affected by AM. Additionally, a set of illustrative indicators for measuring some of the identified AM social impacts are proposed. Finally, the findings are summarized in the form of a framework that can help future research to holistically investigate the social sustainability implications of AM technology.
... To realize that societies might have to limit their matter-energy throughput to levels equivalent to the carrying capacity of their land base, invites broadly for solutions that are compatible with a reduction in energy-matter throughput (including radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions). A number of such solutions, driven by efforts to redistribute, progressively degrow and collectively commoning the technosphere, are now emerging (see Kostakis et al. 2016;Kostakis et al. 2018;Kallis, 2018). As opposed to a teleologically driven faith in the continued expansion of an advancing technosphere supported by fossil capital, this is now an alternative option emerging for the future that philosophers, scientists, politicians and activists would do well to consider. ...
Preprint
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What is technology? This chapter reviews four major strands of 20th century philosophy of technology and shows how all of them have predominantly thought of technology as immaterial. This suggests that modern people have widely embraced the popular image of “lightbulbs as bright ideas” in relation to technology at large. While research on the biosphere emerged from an understanding of the world as a complex interplay of geological forces and biogeochemical cycles of matter-energy, technology was interpreted as ontologically immaterial, springing forth from human cognition, consciousness, design or semiotic networks. It follows that the interpretation of nature that is today employed to understand the dire state of the planet is broadly absent in the conception of the most favored (technological) solutions. To remedy this discrepancy, this chapter argues that we should understand technology as ontologically material in order to be able to assess and solve environmental problems.
... It doesn't mean walling off the community from the outside world, but using local resources, recruiting local workers, serving local consumers/users and becoming less dependent on imports [39]. Various local low-tech ideas, like wood stoves, pedal washing machines, and small wind turbines that can be maintained by non-experts, have been discussed in the degrowth literature as convivial energy tools [40], since they are self-built and have low material and financial cost. ...
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The energy sector is at the center of the current economic system, and of literature and activism on degrowth, which questions the sustainability of current models of energy use. Local and small-scale energy systems may have the potential to reduce energy and resource consumption and to advance degrowth-related ideals of energy democracy, self-sufficiency, and local production. In the present paper we link a discussion on degrowth and local energy projects, using two case studies from southern European islands, El Hierro in Spain, and Tilos in Greece. These pioneer local energy initiatives have a complex ownership model that includes various public and private actors, and aspirations that go beyond merely electricity production to other economic and social goals. We look into the promise of these initiatives in transforming insular areas and promoting an alternative way of living, comparing attributes of the processes involved to four degrowth principles. We conclude that despite the degrowth potential of these local energy projects, their prospects are limited to revitalizing local economies and empowering local communities, but not necessarily reducing energy use or creating an alternative to the growth orientation of the islands.
... Scholars from both subcommunities have developed a growing interest in collectives supporting entrepreneurs (Markman et al., 2019;Soderstrom & Heinze, 2021) and collective entrepreneurship (Wijen & Ansari, 2007a, b), as opposed to the traditional, individualistic and "hero" view of the entrepreneur. This new area includes streams such as community entrepreneurship, and focuses on the relationship between entrepreneurship and the development and protection of the common good (Peredo & Chrisman, 2006) and peer-to-peer entrepreneurship, and includes a growing stream on the role of digitization and the digital commons (Kostakis et al., 2018) in the just transition toward a sustainable future. ...
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... Multiple successful OSTA projects can serve as inspirations and best practices. For example, Kostakis et al. [62] describe how affordable robot hands and prosthetic devices as well as locally manufactured small wind turbines and picohydroelectric plants have been designed and created through open collaborations. Similarly, cheap, customizable, repairable, and durable tools for regenerative farming are being designed, shared and produced through OSTA projects [63]. ...
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... It doesn't mean walling off the community from the outside world, but using local resources, recruiting local workers, serving local consumers/users and becoming less dependent on imports [39]. Various local low-tech ideas, like wood stoves, pedal washing machines, and small wind turbines that can be maintained by non-experts, have been discussed in the degrowth literature as convivial energy tools [40], since they are self-built and have low material and financial cost. ...
... The process of digital commoning was first exemplified by open knowledge projects such as the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and other open-source software projects (Benkler 2006). The second wave is related to open design and manufacturing (Kostakis et al. 2018). In this setting, the design is developed and shared as a global digital commons, while manufacturing takes place locally (Bauwens et al. 2019;Kostakis et al. 2015;Ramos 2017). ...
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Over the last decades, the proliferation of ICTs and capitalist markets has created a new social-historical reality for communication, production and societal organisation, while social inequality has deepened. In this context, alternative forms of organisation based on the commons have emerged, challenging the core values of capitalism. Within this new form of egalitarian and transnational collaborative networks, a new concept of social coexistence has been proposed: cosmolocalism. This article presents the genealogy of cosmolocalism and compares it to previous conceptual universalist reconfigurations, namely cosmopolitanism and internationalism. While the current discourse on cosmolocalism focuses on production and distribution, its political dynamics and limitations remain unexplored. Our ultimate goal is to open a path of inquiry for further reflection and deliberation.
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... This is a new form of coordination of manufacturing systems, called open-manufacturing (Redlich, Bruhns, 2008). Characterized by the "Global Design, Local Manufacturing" model, open-manufacturing is a socio-economic production model, in which products are manufactured in an open, collaborative and distributed manner (Kostakis et al., 2018). This model favors the global exchange of information flows on how to make the product (information, knowledge, design, codes, models, drawings, and so on, via digital platforms) rather than the global exchange of material flows. ...
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This book explores the potential creation of a broader collaborative economy through commons-based peer production (P2P) and the emergent role of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The book seeks to critically engage in the political discussion of commons-based peer production, which can be classified into three basic arguments: the liberal, the reformist and the anti-capitalist. This book categorises the liberal argument as being in favour of the coexistence of the commons with the market and the state. Reformists, on the other hand, advocate for the gradual adjustment of the state and of capitalism to the commons, while anti-capitalists situate the commons against capitalism and the state. By discussing these three viewpoints, the book contributes to contemporary debates concerning the future of commons-based peer production. Further, the author argues that for the commons to become a fully operational mode of peer production, it needs to reach critical mass arguing that the liberal argument underestimates the reformist insight that technology has the potential to decentralise production, thereby forcing capitalism to transition to post-capitalism. Surveying the three main strands of commons-based peer production, this book makes the case for a post-capitalist commons-orientated transition that moves beyond neoliberalism.
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Corporate violence is a form of organised violence motivated or caused by material interest, profit-seeking or economic expansion. It is inflicted on human beings or ecosystems. Complementing a Marxist theoretical frame with literature on ecosocialism and degrowth, we examine how corporate violence is inherent to and has been consistently encouraged by the capitalist mode of production. By drawing on the concepts of primitive accumulation and social metabolism, we visibilise how such violence is manifested within the productive forces of capitalism – natural resources, labour, technology and money. Corporate violence, we argue, may only be countered in a post-capitalist society where the productive forces are radically transformed. We build on degrowth principles to articulate how corporate violence may be countered and how post-growth organising of productive forces may look.
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This article focuses on ‘commons-based peer production’, in particular the way it operates and its potential for material contributions to human activities. The aim is to understand the practices and bases that make it possible, and to better understand which resources are made accessible. This type of production can be an alternative route to collective achievements and an innovative way to meet the needs of a community. From this perspective, two contrasting fields of experimentation are examined: one focused on digital manufacturing and the development of 3D printer projects (such as RepRap), and the other on small-scale food production (the Incredible Edible Network). The analysis begins by clarifying the conceptual framework. Then, the two types of experiments are studied with regard to their genesis, their mode of operation and their output. Finally, the scope of this model is discussed by linking these experiments to the conditions on which they depend.
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Over the last decade, a discussion about the limits of peer production has opened. On the one hand, some scholars consider peer production as a new path of value creation that could lead to an alternative form of social organization. On the other, critics claim that peer production is not emancipatory, but in fact suffers from rigid hierarchies, participation inequality, power asymmetries, and gender imbalance. Moreover, they argue that peer production depends on the capitalist economy for its reproduction and thus that its post-capitalist potential is very limited. This article summarizes and reviews the criticism against the emancipatory potential of peer production and proposes ways in which peer production could still democratize technology and society.
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The starting point of this article is the critique on socioeconomic and environmental implications of conventional construction practices around sustainability. The focus is on exploring the sustainability dynamics of the emerging “Design Global, Manufacture Local” (DGML) configuration with emphasis on building construction. Combined with the concept of conviviality which we identify in aspects of vernacular architecture we explore how it can foster meaningful sustainability practices in the construction sector. We introduce a framework of “open construction systems”, an expression of DGML in building construction, as a way to foster the conjunctive use of the digital commons and local manufacturing technologies for the construction of buildings through three interlocked elements—modularity, sharing and adaptability. We suggest that the “open construction systems” framework may point towards more sustainability in building construction.
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A hundred years ago, a man imagining the future designed what he thought to be the most revolutionary garment of the century. What can be defned as the origin of distributed fashion design, in contemporary terms, was a zero-waste user-centered design, a must-have for your minimalist wardrobe; the trend-setter’s normcore outft. This man was Ernesto Michahelles. Known as THAYAHT, he is mostly remembered for this one-piece suit—the “Tuta”. Rather than sending his design to production, THAYAHT published the design’s layout and sewing instruction in the newspaper for the public to replicate at home, laying the ground for the contemporary open-source design, in an analog world. THAYAHT published a rationale for his Tuta, using four basic principles (Loscialpo, 2018). A hundred years later, in the research, we refected on his theory and confronted it with contemporary issues. A paradigm shift is drawn through these refections; early 20-century design paradigms defned the current concerns of contemporary fashion and can highlight our direction into the future. Accordingly, in the case study presented, design interventions demonstrate updated iterations of the principles and suggest an alternative for fashion making for our times. From what he called the future, we look back at THAYAHT, appreciative yet critical of his creation. Revisiting the Tuta in 2021 raises questions about the hopes and promises of modern design, and foods their disappointing consequences like plastic in the ocean.
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Firm size has an impact on different aspects of business and is regarded as one of the key factors that determine its competitiveness. Large companies have an advantage of economies of scale as well as a higher financial, human, technical potential, while small companies are usually more flexible and innovative. The growing attention to the environmental aspects of business implies the need to study the impact of firm size on environmental sustainability. Giving the multidimensional nature of the latter as well as the lack of necessary data, it is a major challenge to develop an effective measurement framework. The approach proposed in the study is based on the assessment of share of personnel costs in the value of production or turnover, which is associated with the value created without additional environmental pressure. The results of the analysis demonstrate that small firms are more sustainable in manufacturing, construction and related activities, while large companies are better for the environment in resource intensive activities based on the concentrated sources of energy and materials.
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‘Data is the new oil’ is a phrase that is frequently employed to indicate that digital technologies and data extraction have supplanted fossil fuels and geological extractivism as the central driver of the global economy. While this metaphor has been subject to discursive and ideological critique within media, communication and cultural studies, this article conducts a materialist analysis of the connections between data and oil. While claims that data is the new oil typically assume digital technologies to be clean, renewable and sustainable, an infrastructural approach reveals the vast quantities of oil and other fossil fuels necessary for digital capitalism, therefore repudiating claims that data can grow exponentially with no material costs. Consequently, the article explores how metabolic rifts and degrowth offer productive frameworks for outlining the contours of a sustainable and equitable digital future.
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Manufacturing in areas of the developing world that lack electricity severely restricts the technical sophistication of what is produced. More than a billion people with no access to electricity still have access to some imported higher-technologies; however, these often lack customization and often appropriateness for their community. Open source appropriate tech­nology (OSAT) can over­come this challenge, but one of the key impediments to the more rapid development and distri­bution of OSAT is the lack of means of production beyond a specific technical complexity. This study designs and demonstrates the technical viability of two open-source mobile digital manufacturing facilities powered with solar photovoltaics, and capable of printing customizable OSAT in any com­munity with access to sunlight. The first, designed for com­munity use, such as in schools or maker­spaces, is semi-mobile and capable of nearly continuous 3-D printing using RepRap technology, while also powering multiple computers. The second design, which can be completely packed into a standard suitcase, allows for specialist travel from community to community to provide the ability to custom manufacture OSAT as needed, anywhere. These designs not only bring the possibility of complex manufacturing and replacement part fabrication to isolated rural communities lacking access to the electric grid, but they also offer the opportunity to leap-frog the entire conventional manufacturing supply chain, while radically reducing both the cost and the environmental impact of products for developing communities.
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In this paper we present an open-source design for the development of low-complexity, anthropomorphic, un-deractuated robot hands with a selectively lockable differential mechanism. The differential mechanism used is a variation of the whiffletree (or seesaw) mechanism, which introduces a set of locking buttons that can block the motion of each finger. The proposed design is unique since with a single motor and the proposed differential mechanism the user is able to control each finger independently and switch between different grasping postures in an intuitive manner. Anthropomorphism of robot structure and motion is achieved by employing in the design process an index of anthropomorphism. The proposed robot hands can be easily fabricated using low-cost, off-the-shelf materials and rapid prototyping techniques. The efficacy of the proposed design is validated through different experimental paradigms involving grasping of everyday life objects and execution of daily life activities. The proposed hands can be used as affordable prostheses, helping amputees regain their lost dexterity.
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One of the crucial steps in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is access to reliable and affordable energy. The majority of the people without access to clean and reliable energy sources live in rural areas. The advent of renewable energy technologies, such as solar photovoltaic (PV), wind and micro-hydroelectricity has allowed electricity to be generated independently of the national utility grid. The sustainability of such off-grid energy projects is crucial to foster socioeconomic development of these local communities. Many studies have addressed the sustainability of rural electrification projects post-completion using indicators. However, these studies are fairly extensive and do not provide pre-implementation insights into the best rural electrification technology. In this study, we present a more holistic approach to decision making by analyzing two off-grid renewable technologies – solar photovoltaic (PV) and micro-hydroelectricity (MH) using a village in Ifugao Province in the Philippines as a case study. An analysis of social, technical, environment, economic and political (STEEP) dimensions that impact the success of the project is presented. A measure of the technology's potential to bring about positive change, termed total impact (TI), is estimated. Micro-hydroelectricity was projected to be a better alternative in this location.
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This paper outlines a simple, aggregate, descriptive model of what is here termed a “whole economy”, covering all human involvement in the economy, from ultimate means or ecological sacrifices, to the ultimate ends of human satisfaction. The model embraces not only the formal “professional economy” driven by money, but also the parallel non-paid, voluntary economy, here termed “amateur economy”, driven by peoples’ affective motivations.The input of work to the economy plays an essential role in the paper’s analysis of options for reducing ecological sacrifices. Hence, part of the paper is devoted to a brief historical overview of the role of work, including turning points in the 1930s in the United States, when work sharing was displaced by work creation through consumerism, and, in the post-war economy when GDP became the dominant economic indicator.The paper proposes the aim of a happy and sustainable degrowth for affluent countries, implying the transfer of some activities from the professional economy to the less ‘labor’ productive amateur economy. This will tend to reduce overall labor productivity and hence resource throughput, but increase satisfaction and happiness. A key element in the analysis is combining a reduction in consumption with a reduction in production, which is obtainable through lowering either working time or work productivity and turning some of the leisure time into voluntary activities.Economic growth is not a law of nature but the consequence of explicit political decisions taken. Hence growth is also open to new political decisions in recognition of physical limits to growth and the human quest for replacing economic growth with life satisfaction, including increased free time.
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In this paper we present a series of design direc-tions for the development of affordable, modular, light-weight, intrinsically-compliant, underactuated robot hands, that can be easily reproduced using off-the-shelf materials. The proposed robot hands, efficiently grasp a series of everyday life objects and are considered to be general purpose, as they can be used for various applications. The efficiency of the proposed robot hands has been experimentally validated through a series of experimental paradigms, involving: grasping of multiple everyday life objects with different geometries, myoelectric (EMG) control of the robot hands in grasping tasks, preliminary results on a grasping capable quadrotor and autonomous grasp planning under object position and shape uncertainties.
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Degrowth is the literal translation of 'décroissance', a French word meaning reduction. Launched by activists in 2001 as a challenge to growth, it became a missile word that sparks a contentious debate on the diagnosis and prognosis of our society. 'Degrowth' became an interpretative frame for a new (and old) social movement where numerous streams of critical ideas and political actions converge. It is an attempt to re-politicise debates about desired socio-environmental futures and an example of an activist-led science now consolidating into a concept in academic literature. This article discusses the definition, origins, evolution, practices and construction of degrowth. The main objective is to explain degrowth's multiple sources and strategies in order to improve its basic definition and avoid reductionist criticisms and misconceptions. To this end, the article presents degrowth's main intellectual sources as well as its diverse strategies (oppositional activism, building of alternatives and political proposals) and actors (practitioners, activists and scientists). Finally, the article argues that the movement's diversity does not detract from the existence of a common path.
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The aim of this paper is to look at alternatives to the classic for-profit shareholding enterprise and to suggest how such alternatives might be supported within the current economic system. Another aim is to link the social enterprise and degrowth discourses. We first re-define the economy as including non-monetised sectors (the core economy and the economy of nature) and discuss the liminal zone of not-for-profit and not-only-for profit organisations. We then look at social enterprise definitions from a degrowth perspective and explain why the dimensions of scale, place, environment and provisioning patterns need more space in the social enterprise discourse. After that, we define non-market capitals as capitals taken out of the market and placed under local/member/democratic control and explain their importance in a degrowth economy. We give examples of non-market capitals and suggest a model involving mutual support between primary and secondary social enterprises. Finally, we suggest areas where more research is needed in this emerging field of inquiry.
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To date, the use of wind power for rural electrification has been limited. However the fact that micro-wind turbines can be manufactured using only basic workshop tools, techniques and materials, and therefore can be produced locally is often overlooked. Local manufacture has the potential to boost the local economy, build local capacity, reduce costs and produce resilient and flexible energy systems. However, locally manufactured technology must be seen as socially embedded due to the variety of local knowledge, skills, equipment and materials needed to construct and maintain such systems, as well as the organisational structures needed to ensure their long term sustainability. Evidence from successful initiatives suggests that stable institutional support from intermediaries such as the local/national government or NGOs is necessary to foster the development of a wind power industry based on local manufacture. The roles of these intermediaries include identifying and targeting windy areas with favourable environmental conditions, conducting research and development, collecting feedback from end users, creating supply chains for new parts and materials and developing relevant knowledge and skills. In this paper, three case studies of specific initiatives are analysed to draw out the social, economic and technical factors that could facilitate wider adoption of the technology.
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Electrification systems based on renewable energy have proven to be suitable for providing decentralized electricity to isolated communities. Electricity generated through wind power is one of the technical options available, although infrequently used to date. This article aims to describe the main aspects of technical design, implementation and management of the first small-scale community wind generation project for rural electrification in Peru. This project took place in the community of El Alumbre, in the region of Cajamarca, which is a mountainous area characterized by low to medium wind speeds. This project, implemented by Soluciones Prácticas - Practical Action (Peru), brought electric power to the 33 households (a total of 150 inhabitants) as well as the school and health center of the community.
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Purpose – This study aims to investigate the potential impacts of rapid prototyping systems on the health and safety of operators and the environment, a growing concern given its wide-spread use in industry and academia. Design/methodology/approach – Materials, processing and equipment features were used to identify potential health and safety risks and hazards, as well as environmental effects. Findings – The study concludes with a “best practices” guide for rapid prototyping laboratories and service bureaus. Originality/value – A thorough literature search revealed that Stephen M. Deak, the Rapid Prototyping Department Manager at Hasbro Inc., is the pioneer of the safety and health concerns in the rapid prototyping area. He is the only person to publish papers in this field in addition to these authors’ recent publications. His papers focused on the rapid prototyping laboratory safety guidelines and safe work practices in the rapid prototyping area.
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Purpose – To provide a comprehensive state of the art review of environmental impact assessment (EIA) of existing rapid prototyping (RP) and rapid tooling (RT), and identify prospective research needs. Design/methodology/approach – The sparse literature on the EIA of RP and RT is balanced by that of the comparatively mature field of industrial ecology (IE). Hence, the review emphasizes portable IE measurement and evaluations methods. As RP and RT can also be viewed as design tools and mass customization manufacturing, other EIA may be needed. Findings – The scarcity of research to date combined with rapid technological advances leaves a large number of unresolved issues. In addition, the special character of RP and RT, as design and manufacturing enablers implies that future research is needed. Research limitations/implications – This review is drawn from a technology in rapid evolution. Hence, unresolved issues focus on technologies that already are on the market and the research needs are formulated in terms of state of the art process research. Practical implications – As technological advances multiply, so does the number of unresolved environmental problems. The review of unresolved issues points to a pressing need to assess the consequences of RP and RT while identified research needs point the way to anticipated areas where further assessment methods will be needed. Originality/value – This paper intends to raise awareness about the potential environmental impacts from RP and RT, by presenting the problems associated with current methods for measuring environmental effects and discussing some of the most urgent unresolved issues, specifically with respect to materials. Indirect effects of other uses of RP and RT are discussed only briefly for lack of available data.
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This study projects prosthetic- and assistive-device costs for veterans with limb loss from Vietnam and injured servicemembers returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) to inform the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for these veterans' future care. The 2005 Medicare prosthetic device component prices were applied to current prosthetic and assistive-device use obtained from a national survey of 581 veterans and servicemembers with major traumatic amputations. Projections were made for 5-year, 10-year, 20-year, and lifetime costs based on eight Markov models. Average 5-year projected costs for prosthetic and assistive-device replacement for the Vietnam group are lower than for the OIF/OEF cohort due in part to use of fewer and less technologically advanced prosthetic devices and higher frequency of prosthetic abandonment. By limb-loss level, for the Vietnam group and OIF/OEF cohort, 5-year projected unilateral upper limb average costs are $31,129 and $117,440, unilateral lower limb costs are $82,251 and $228,665, and multiple limb costs are $130,890 and $453,696, respectively. These figures provide the VA with a funding estimate for technologically advanced prosthetic and assistive devices within the framework of ongoing rehabilitation for veterans with traumatic limb loss from the Vietnam and OIF/OEF conflicts.
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A trend analysis of Eurobarometer data shows that attitudes towards science and technology are diversifying in the EU, with enthusiasm clearly losing out to more ambivalent stances. In the past any diversion from unquestioned optimism was interpreted as a bad sign and attributed to the public's ignorance. Today it is often welcomed as a sign of an increasingly emancipated public. In the sustainability sciences, including Ecological Economics, attitudes towards technology also cover a wide spectrum, the formalisation and exploration of which are the goals of this paper. Drawing on social and philosophical studies of technology and insights from Ecological Economics and related fields, we develop a framework of attitudes towards technology consisting of four main categories: Enthusiasm, Determinism, Romanticism and Scepticism. We illustrate the empirical relevance of our framework with a qualitative content analysis of Ecological Economics lecture material. The analysis uncovered and mapped a diversity of views, which co-exist without an open debate. It suggests difficulties of scholars to consistently articulate their techno-attitudes, except for enthusiasm. Our framework could help to amplify underlying vocabularies and visions of research and teaching in Ecological Economics and beyond. It could be applied in both deeper qualitative and broader quantitative analysis.
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This article aims to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on post-capitalist construction by exploring the contours of a commons-oriented productive model. On the basis of this model called "design global-manufacture local", we argue that recent techno-economic developments around the emergence of commons-based peer production and desktop manufacturing technologies, may signal new alternative paths of social organization. We conclude by arguing that all commons-oriented narratives could converge, thereby supporting the creative communities which are building the world they want within the confines of the political economy they aspire to transcend.
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This paper deals with a new understanding of the public character of information, based on the alternative modes of property that came to the fore with the advent of commons-based peer production and the information commons. The case of the ERT digital archive is used to highlight the tension between the traditional understanding of state/public property and a new realisation inaugurated by commons-based peer production. Our objections to its current form are presented and the possibilities offered by peer alternatives are discussed. We conclude that, especially after recent developments in the case, state adoption of policies that conform to this new mode of production are imperative for the use, sharing and protection of public information.
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The growth of desktop 3-D printers is driving an interest in recycled 3-D printer filament to reduce costs of distributed production. Life cycle analysis studies were performed on the recycling of high density polyethylene into filament suitable for additive layer manufacturing with 3-D printers. The conventional centralized recycling system for high population density and low population density rural locations was compared to the proposed in home, distributed recycling system. This system would involve shredding and then producing filament with an open-source plastic extruder from post-consumer plastics and then printing the extruded filament into usable, value-added parts and products with 3-D printers such as the open-source self replicating rapid prototyper, or RepRap. The embodied energy and carbon dioxide emissions were calculated for high density polyethylene recycling using SimaPro 7.2 and the database EcoInvent v2.0. The results showed that distributed recycling uses less embodied energy than the best-case scenario used for centralized recycling. For centralized recycling in a low-density population case study involving substantial embodied energy use for transportation and collection these savings for distributed recycling were found to extend to over 80%. If the distributed process is applied to the U.S. high density polyethylene currently recycled, more than 100 million MJ of energy could be conserved per annum along with the concomitant significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. It is concluded that with the open-source 3-D printing network expanding rapidly the potential for widespread adoption of in-home recycling of post-consumer plastic represents a novel path to a future of distributed manufacturing appropriate for both the developed and developing world with lower environmental impacts than the current system.
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In wind-based rural electrification projects, installing a small wind turbine is only the first step in providing energy access to a remote community. Locally manufactured technology is particularly susceptible to failures and as a result, an effective socio-technical system must be put in place to ensure that it continues in operation for many years to come. The systems created by two non-governmental organisations operating in the Andean region of Northern Peru were investigated and correlated to the post-installation performance of their wind turbines. Whilst both organisations appointed members of the community to operate and maintain the wind power systems, the level of training given to them was very different. The availability of each set of wind turbines was directly related to the amount of maintenance that community members were able to perform on them. Thus, clearly showing the wind power systems' critical dependence on the quality of the socio-technical system constructed around them to ensure its smooth operation after installation.
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The decommodification of work activity is central for conceiving work from a degrowth perspective. Yet personal dependence on paid work is very high, whereas unpaid work activity, such as providing care, community service and subsistence, continues to be neglected by individuals and society. By using the analytical approach related to recognition as employed by Axel Honneth, I argue on the basis of empirical findings that unpaid work can play a significant role in one's personal well-being at the individual level. With regard to the transition process towards a society of degrowth, however, a key seems to be a change in the normative paradigm concerning work at the individual level.
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This article examines the characteristics and applications of 3-D printing and compares it with mass customization and other manufacturing processes. 3-D printing enables small quantities of customized goods to be produced at relatively low costs. While currently used primarily to manufacture prototypes and mockups, a number of promising applications exist in the production of replacement parts, dental crowns, and artificial limbs, as well as in bridge manufacturing. 3-D printing has been compared to such disruptive technologies as digital books and music downloads that enable consumers to order their selections online, allow firms to profitably serve small market segments, and enable companies to operate with little or no unsold finished goods inventory. Some experts have also argued that 3-D printing will significantly reduce the advantages of producing small lot sizes in low-wage countries via reduced need for factory workers.
Book
This book presents a disciplined, qualitative exploration of case study methods by drawing from naturalistic, holistic, ethnographic, phenomenological and biographic research methods. Robert E. Stake uses and annotates an actual case study to answer such questions as: How is the case selected? How do you select the case which will maximize what can be learned? How can what is learned from one case be applied to another? How can what is learned from a case be interpreted? In addition, the book covers: the differences between quantitative and qualitative approaches; data-gathering including document review; coding, sorting and pattern analysis; the roles of the researcher; triangulation; and reporting.
Book
The governance of natural resources used by many individuals in common is an issue of increasing concern to policy analysts. Both state control and privatization of resources have been advocated, but neither the state nor the market have been uniformly successful in solving common pool resource problems. After critiquing the foundations of policy analysis as applied to natural resources, Elinor Ostrom here provides a unique body of empirical data to explore conditions under which common pool resource problems have been satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily solved. Dr Ostrom uses institutional analysis to explore different ways - both successful and unsuccessful - of governing the commons. In contrast to the proposition of the 'tragedy of the commons' argument, common pool problems sometimes are solved by voluntary organizations rather than by a coercive state. Among the cases considered are communal tenure in meadows and forests, irrigation communities and other water rights, and fisheries.
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The low cost wind turbines with timber blades represent a good solution for the decentralized energy production in off-grid regions of developing countries. This paper summarizes the results of investigations on the mechanical testing and choice of timber for wind blades, testing of different coatings and blades as well as installation and practical experience with wooden wind turbines in Nepal. The recommendations on the optimal choice of Nepali timber and coatings for low cost wind blades are summarized. The timber wood blades were designed and tested. On the basis of the recommendations, the wind turbines with timber (lakuri) wind blades were produced, and tested. The turbines with timber wind blades were installed on several locations around Nepal, and their usability was studied. It was demonstrated that the appropriate choice of timber and coatings ensures necessary reliability of the blades and turbines. It was further demonstrated that the low cost wind turbines with timber blades represent a promising and viable option for the decentralized energy production in developing countries, which also opens new areas for businesses.Research highlights► Small wind turbines with timber blades are a good solution for the decentralized energy production in developing countries. ► Properly chosen timber represents a good, strong, reliable and cheap alternative to the traditional composites as the materials for wind blades. ► A program of timber choice for building reliable wind turbines can be realized successfully in a developing country.
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Three decades ago, planned obsolescence was a widely discussed ethical issue in marketing classrooms. Planned obsolescence is topical again today because an increasing emphasis on continuous product development promotes shorter durables replacement and disposal cycles with troublesome environmental consequences. This paper offers explanations of why product obsolescence is practiced and why it works. It then examines the ethical responsibilities of product developers and corporate strategists and their differing responses to this problem. Pro-environment product design and marketing practices and innovative government policies may alleviate the problem over time. However, given the current lack of understanding about consumer replacement and disposal behavior, it is questionable as to whether these practices and policies will be sufficiently informed to be effective. Thus, marketing scholars have a significant opportunity to contribute to sustainable durables product development.
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In recent years the concept of economic de-growth (decroissance) based on the literature of Nicolas Georgescu-Roegen e.g. [1], [2] and [3] has found a revival in France, Italy, Spain and other countries, in the popular as well as in the academic literature. Therein authors took on board Georgescu-Roegens' categorical rejection of a steady-state economy (SSE), as proposed by Herman Daly [4]. They argue that economic de-growth is the only viable alternative goal to the growing economy. This position is challenged in this article and it is concluded that the two concepts are in fact complements. Economic de-growth is not a goal in itself, but the rich North's path towards a globally equitable SSE. Moreover the de-growth literature can benefit from the strong economic historic roots of the SSE and from Daly's macroeconomic concepts, while in return being able to give lessons about bottom-up approaches. This would be particularly important for the population issue, where Daly proposes limited birth licences. Unfortunately statements on demography are inconsistent and underdeveloped in the de-growth literature. Further it is concluded that most criticisms of the SSE are due to a too narrow and technocratic interpretation of the concept. Instead the SSE should be defined as a quasi steady-state, resting in a dynamic equilibrium and as an “unattainable goal”, which can and probably should be approximated.
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As the popularity of renewable energy systems grows, small wind turbines are becoming a common choice for off-grid household power. However, the true benefits of such systems over the traditional internal combustion systems are unclear. This study employs a life-cycle assessment methodology in order to directly compare the environmental impacts, net-energy inputs, and life-cycle cost of two systems: a stand-alone small wind turbine system and a single-home diesel generator system. The primary focus for the investigation is the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) including CO2, CH4, and N2O. These emissions are calculated over the life-cycle of the two systems which provide the same amount of energy to a small off-grid home over a twenty-year period. The results show a considerable environmental benefit for small-scale wind power. The wind generator system offered a 93% reduction of GHG emissions when compared to the diesel system. Furthermore, the diesel generator net-energy input was over 200 MW, while the wind system produced an electrical energy output greater than its net-energy input. Economically, the conclusions were less clear. The assumption was made that diesel fuel cost over the next twenty years was based on May 2008 prices, increasing only in proportion to inflation. As such, the net-present cost of the wind turbine system was 14% greater than the diesel system. However, a larger model wind turbine would likely benefit from the effects of the ‘economy of scale,’ producing superior results both economically and environmentally.
Chapter
Full text available at http://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/6420/ The participatory case study is a mode of research that involves the participants, local groups, or the community in all phases of the research process, from conceptualizing the study to writing up and disseminating the findings. This entry discusses its approach in case study research.
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With the radical changes in information production that the Internet has introduced, we stand at an important moment of transition, says Yochai Benkler in this thought-provoking book. The phenomenon he describes as social production is reshaping markets, while at the same time offering new opportunities to enhance individual freedom, cultural diversity, political discourse, and justice. But these results are by no means inevitable: a systematic campaign to protect the entrenched industrial information economy of the last century threatens the promise of today's emerging networked information environment. In this comprehensive social theory of the Internet and the networked information economy, Benkler describes how patterns of information, knowledge, and cultural production are changing-and shows that the way information and knowledge are made available can either limit or enlarge the ways people can create and express themselves. He describes the range of legal and policy choices that confront us and maintains that there is much to be gained-or lost-by the decisions we make today.
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“Planned Obsolescence” is the production of goods with uneconomically short useful lives so that customers will have to make repeat purchases. However, rational customers will pay for only the present value of the future services of a product. Therefore, profit maximization seemingly implies producing any given flow of services as cheaply as possible, with production involving efficient useful lives. This paper shows why this analysis is incomplete and therefore incorrect. Monopolists are shown to desire uneconomically short useful lives for their goods. Oligopolists have the monopolist's incentive for short lives as well as a second incentive that may either increase or decrease their chosen durability. However, oligopolists can generally gain by colluding to reduce durability and increase rentals relative to sales. Some evidence is presented that appears to be generally consistent with the predictions of the theory.