Social systems, complex organizations and the "responsibility" principle: looking for a new development model. The (crucial) question of sustainability.

«… the character of sustainability implies the return of part of the value produced: to a territory, to the community in which we live, to future generations. After all, sustainability is nothing more than the answer to the question: "Whose product value is it?". In a circle that reconstitutes social ties and renews a debt bond that is never extinguishable and, therefore, paradoxically liberating. The principle of sustainability requires the adoption of a time horizon not crushed in the short term, capable of going beyond pure exploitation and mere speculation" (M.Magatti, C.Giaccardi, 2014)

"But, at the basis of our work ... also another intimate conviction: that ethical communication and widespread (open) knowledge, locally and globally, really represent the fundamental pre-requisites for the realization of the "project" ... of a more equitable, inclusive and supportive global society, which once again bases the "values" of the human being (neohumanism) and the rights of global citizenship" (P.Dominici, 2003)


We cannot fail to note how the attention dedicated, not only in terms of media coverage, to the issues of ethics and responsibility in all fields of private and public life, has grown considerably in recent years; even if, not only with reference to the slippery terrain of public politics and ethics, it appears evident in all its radicality, the question of the consistency of behaviors, on an individual and collective level. Add to that that, actually, yes still has the impression that there is a sort of cultural lag on these issues and that terms such as ethics, responsibility, transparency, citizenship, social responsibility, sustainability, sustainable development are often used above all as functional "labels" for building a good picture (at the level of individuals and complex organizations) and/or effective political propaganda… At the same time, however, we cannot fail to consider the encouraging "signals" coming, albeit with a certain slowness, from the business world (even if the road is still long, since the problem is "cultural", i.e. long-term) and by the so-called civil society; in particular, from that world of associations and non-profits, whose evolution constitutes - as argued in a previous post – a valuable indicator of active, inclusive and participatory citizenship, as well as having a significant impact on the complex variable "social capital". As regards, specifically, the concept of sustainability - as known - it was introduced and thematized during the I UN Conference on the Environment in 1972, although we will have to wait for the 1987, with the Brundtland Report, for the objective of sustainable development to be recognized as strategic – defined as a development capable of ensuring «the satisfaction of the needs of the present generation without compromising the possibility of future generations to realize their own» – which, in fact, is configured by that moment like the development paradigm. Subsequently, concepts such as resilience, self-regulation, autopoiesis, vulnerability, perturbation, alterations, balance (->anthropic systems and ecological systems), ecosystem, take on progressively more and more significance; and we become aware of the urgency of a systemic approach to complexity and of the limited rationality that characterizes the systems themselves (1998-2000-2003).

Conceptual categories and a lexicon which – as already written in the past – define the theoretical and operational framework concerning this new complexity which pushes organizations to govern the uncertain through the sharing of an organizational and design culture. The capitalist system of networks therefore reveals itself as one Knowledge based economy cwhich determines an irreversible transformation of knowledge into social knowledge, capable of producing and processing a “shared knowledge”(2003) constantly reusable, which goes beyond the constraints of exclusive proprietary knowledge, introducing numerous discontinuities and asymmetries. The absolute protagonist of the new knowledge economy becomes the horizontal production (1998).

At the same time, recognition of the value of transparency – around which so much rhetoric is often made (once again, behaviors count) – pushes complex organizations to concretely configure themselves as "open systems" (to the stakeholders, the territory and the Community) based on the assumption of knowledge sharing, which is decisive for managing uncertainty in the best possible way: a complexity that is always linked - we want to reiterate it forcefully - to a lack or, in any case, to poor management of knowledge . In this sense, it is necessary to start precisely from the awareness that the structure of the knowledge economy (Dominici 2003) is based precisely on the sharing of this extraordinary immaterial resource; sharing which, contrary to the traditional logic of control and access typical of the old industrial model, constitutes the fundamental prerequisite for the very possibility of producing/processing knowledge -> in this sense, fundamental and full of stimuli, the open source philosophy. Even if - as repeatedly reiterated in our analyzes and reflections - the question of skills remains open and will always continue to be strategic: and if no concrete action is taken, the term "digital inclusion" will be yet another slogan of that uncritical newism that interprets the complex change in a reductionist and deterministic key.

I gladly propose it again – Always cite the sources, thank you and enjoy reading


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