Sustainable technology and the limits of ecological modernization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

107 Downloads (Pure)


This essay addresses the question of how sustainable development is possible, giving special reference to the role of technology. It argues that the dominant strategy for sustainable development that is now operative, ecological modernization, is insufficient, and that the reform of technology and of systems of production alone will not yield sustainable development. After a brief discussion of the notion of sustainable development, the current strategy for sustainability, ecological modernization, is outlined (§ 1). This strategy is then subjected to a critique, because of its one-sided emphasis on the reform of production systems, its belief in a 'technological fix' and its retention of an unsustainable ideal of economic growth (§ 2). Finally (§ 3), it is argued that sustainable development requires a reform of lifestyles and systems of consumption, next to the ecological reform of systems of production. Reform of technology can actually contribute to the reform of lifestyles and consumption patterns, but only as part of a comprehensive reform strategy.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)17-30
Number of pages14
JournalLudus vitalis
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • IR-77264
  • METIS-148571

Cite this