The digitalisation of production and the ‘Internet of Things’, referred to as Industry 4.0 in Europe, is being sold with the promise of ‘clean’ economic growth and resource efficiency in a time of converging eco-social crises.
But although the new technologies making this ‘fourth industrial revolution’ possible might seem sleek, clean – almost immaterial – they are not.
Published by Powershift E.V. the Rosa-Luxemburg Foundation, Yes to Life No to Mining and The Gaia Foundation, The Dark Side of Digitalization: Will Industry 4.0 Create New Raw Materials Demands? sheds light on the interlinkages between new technologies (including renewables), increasing mineral and metal demand and the social and ecological consequences of mining.
The briefing asks critical questions that challenge the assumptions underlying this new technological, political and economic transition, like:
- Is economic growth what we need?
- Is it possible to decouple economic growth from resource consumption?
- Can Earth sustain this new extractive onslaught?
It highlights the critical need for a change of course and makes the case for a future beyond extractivism and the reliance on the expansion of hidden violence against people and planet.