Ecomodernism and the Libidinal Economy: Towards a Critical Conception of Technology in the Bio-Based Economy

Roel Veraart*, Vincent Blok, Pieter Lemmens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we carry out a critical analysis of the concept of technology in the current design of the bio-based economy (BBE). Looking at the current status of the BBE, we observe a dominant focus on technological innovation as the principal solution to climatic instability. We take a critical stance towards this “ecomodernist” worldview, addressing its fundamental assumptions, and offer an underarticulated explanation as to why a successful transition toward a sustainable BBE—i.e. one that fully operates within the Earth’s carrying capacity—has not yet been reached. Bernard Stiegler has developed a philosophical perspective on the concept of economy, broadening it to include the human condition through the notion of desire. This theory can help to obtain a more profound understanding of why ecomodernist strategies are dominant today. Stiegler’s theory of the libidinal economy offers an analysis of controlled and exploited human desire as a primary driver behind modern techno-economic structures. Our hypothesis is that a critique of contemporary technofixism as a critique of libidinal economy is a necessary step to take in the discussion around the BBE as a concept, if the BBE is ever to bring about a system that can truly operate within the Earth’s carrying capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Number of pages23
JournalPhilosophy and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2023


  • Bio-based economy
  • Degrowth
  • Ecomodernism
  • Libidinal economy
  • Stiegler
  • Sustainability


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