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The information society: environmental policy perspective and beyond

Pekka Jokinen (University of Tampere, Department of Regional Studies and Environmental Policy, PO Box 607, FIN‐33101 Tampere, Finland)

Foresight

ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 1 April 2000

Abstract

This article discusses prospects of strengthening new increasingly global economic activities and environmental governance by focusing on the institutional relationship between information society policy issues and environmental policy issues. These two sets of issues have some common denominators insofar as they are both comprehensive and go beyond traditional sector policy rationalities, as illustrated by the notions of “sustainable development” and “ecological modernization” in the case of environmental issues, and neither can avoid the problem of governance subjects such as social legitimacy and institutional dynamics between the main actors. The article also identifies a more functional relationship between these issues and discusses challenges common to both as well as asking whether there is institutional potential and capacity to find “synergy” by integrating environmental policy elements into moves towards information society and vice versa. The case study of Finland reveals that information society strategy lacks environmental policy objectives and discusses the factors behind this failure. The lack of integration of different policy areas is an issue of organizational power with policy actors showing no real interest in radically changing prevailing bureaucratic institutions and socioeconomic structures. Beyond organizational factors the policy problems seem to be based on the inconsistency of different policy rationalities with information society reasoning being justified by economic‐technical rationality whereas environmental policies are justified by natural scientific rationality, which policy makers do not consider to be in their interests. The article concludes with the assertion that the principles of ecological modernization could potentially unite environmental policies and positive environmental aspects of information society policies.

Keywords

Citation

Jokinen, P. (2000), "The information society: environmental policy perspective and beyond", Foresight, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 173-181. https://doi.org/10.1108/14636680010802627

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

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