Values for Transformation

Promises of quick technofixes and ground-breaking digital innovations saving the world as we know it are persisting narratives in climate change discussions. These beliefs are based on values of competition and innovation leading to development and unlimited economic growth. Yet, almost daily floods, wildfires and droughts, hitting the Global South the hardest, are proof that these beliefs are flawed. In addition, the division of societies through microtargeting and other digitally perpetuated structural disadvantages is advancing online, e.g., on social media, digital platforms, and alike. Despite these challenges, a digitalisation that respects ecological boundaries, promotes human rights and strengthens social cohesion is feasible. Exposing current pitfalls, as we did in Chapter 1, is a first step towards this end. What is needed next is a shared foundation, that guides decision-making and enables behavioural change: a moral compass. But can such a value-based digitalisation overwrite the growth paradigm and monopolistic trends, that hold our data and human rights hostage? In this chapter Völkle and Lindinger explore how feminist thinking can shape a just and future-ready digitalisation, counteracting current power asymmetries and social inequalities. Further, Franke and Pentzien challenge the unsustainable practices and paradigms of the platform economy by demonstrating what platforms based on federative structures and cooperation can – and cannot – do to reverse capitalism’s harm. Frick et al. and Hasecke and Hierweck reveal the vulnerability of our data in the hands of monopolies. They call for digital sovereignty and the democratisation of digital infrastructure to overcome BigTech dependencies and community capitalism. Finally, Wijers ends on a practical approach to assess and re-value our own digital infrastructure.

Patricia Jankowski
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