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New book sets out agenda for a sustainable future

13 July 2021

Cover of Sustainable Futures book

ICT is the critical component which will empower us to build a sustainable society, argues distinguished economist Professor Raphael Kaplinsky in his latest book Sustainable Futures: an Agenda for Action.

Building on the work of economists Carlota Perez and Chris Freeman, Professor Kaplinsky said at the book launch on 7 July that the world is at a turning point where the old technological and economic paradigm of mass production is being replaced by the new one of information and communication technology.

It will make it possible for us to consume fewer, more durable and more locally made goods, live closer to our work and build more stable and sustainable economies and communities.

But there are possible negative consequences – such as unemployment, social volatility, ‘fake news’ – and to avoid these and build a sustainable society we will need ‘directionality’, a term derived from economist Mariana Mazzucato and encompassing a clear vision of what we want and how to achieve it.

The most critical elements are: ‘mission-oriented’ policies; a reduction in the power of the plutocracy, the financial sector and the big ITC corporates; and a new green deal.

The book has received some glowing endorsements. Professor Carlota Perez, speaking at the launch, said it was ‘bold, ambitious and very useful‘, ‘easy to read’ and ‘has extended my theory enormously’.

Professor Kaplinsky said he had striven to make the book accessible to a wider audience ‘because I am essentially trying to suggest an agenda for action’.

He said everybody who reads it could play a part in bringing about a more sustainable future.

“A green path is possible, as we have seen with the massive advance of green energy.

“We are all political participants, we have to hold [our leaders’] feet to the fire, and we have to change our own lives as well.”

Sustainable Futures: An Agenda for Action is available here.

You can watch Professor Kaplinsky’s launch presentation and subsequent discussion here.

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