Abstract: This article explores the socio-environmental implications of two different value models currently competing for dominance in the digital economy: the neo-feudal cognitive capitalism (NFCC) and the hypothetical case of mature peer production (HMPP). Using a systematisation that considers environmental effects of information and communication technologies as direct, indirect and structural, this article discerns the future socio-environmental scenarios indicative of each value model. We argue that the two value models share the same type of direct environmental effects associated with a similar technological infrastructure; however, their indirect effects differ in prospects of consumer behaviour, environmental awareness and product design. Likewise the difference in structural effects is significant as the NFCC is based on profit maximisation and an accumulation of capital, whereas the HMPP is agnostic to growth and oriented towards the commons. Hence, the latter is considered as the socio-environmentally auspicious choice, but comes not without transitional challenges of its own.
Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions; Available online 4 September 2015; In Press, Corrected Proof