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3rd International conference on De-Growth

Next 19th of September I’ll attend the 3rd International conference on De-Growth. I’ll participate in the workshop titled “The role of technology in a degrowth society” presenting a paper on frugal eco-innovation in emerging markets.



What is innovation for?

Everybody talks about innovation. How to foster it, how to finance it and how to increase innovation capability. But what is innovation for? I’ve always thought that innovation should improve our life through an increase of efficiency and productivity. In a nutshell, more innovation would be equivalent to more leisure time. However this is contradicted by the reality. In our society an increase of productivity does not imply a decrease of work time. On the contrary, the present crisis is bound to threat even the current work rights. The crisis, we have been told, will require us to work more and for less money. It is pretty clear that innovation is not fulfilling its original purpose….

“Let us take an illustration. Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacturing of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. There is, in the end, just as much leisure as on the other plan, but half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a universal source of happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined?”

Bertrand Russel, In praise of idleness

India invests in a new Science and technology plan for inclusive innovation

Indian Prime Minister

India will press science and technology into serving a national policy of more inclusive, sustainable and rapid growth for its people.

Addressing the 99th Indian Science Congress, the country’s largest annual gathering of scientists, this week, the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, said the occasion demanded looking anew at the role of science in a country “grappling with the challenges of poverty and development”.

Singh emphasised that “the overriding objective of a comprehensive and well-considered policy for science, technology and innovation should be to support the national objective of faster, sustainable and inclusive development”.

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