By: José M. Díaz Nafría (Universidad de León / Facultad de Educación, Campus de Vegazana León, Spain;  University of Santa Elena (UPSE), Santa Elena, Ecuador; Munich University of Applied Sciences, Germany)

Paper presented in: 2015 Summit of the international Society of Information Studies IS4IS-2015, Vienna, Austria (Extended abstract published in Sciforum)

Abstract: Is needless to insist on the significant increase of the complexity we are living in. Whereas the social order arisen with modernity encompassed –at the level of the nation-states– a reduction of social complexity through cultural normalization, the new social and political order is nowadays to be intercultural, multilingual and even multi-national. National life is more and more entangled with international relations, and cannot be conceived anymore with our backs turned to nature. All this makes that the traditional context of posing ethical questions is rather different. The universality paradigm that pervaded many classical approaches in ethics is not so convincing anymore. Anthropology, ethnography, intercultural ethics has shown the fragility of such pretentious positions. As in any other cultural change, it is quite clear that at the age of information we need a new way of addressing the issues of the proper behavior, the deep question of the good live in the complexity that is proper to our society. We may encounter a way of diminishing the complexity at the level of the human agency, as it was the case of cultural normalization in modernity, but we have to do it in another way. The subsidiarity principle represents a way to decrease complexity at the level of the agents while preserving the complexity at the global level. Something that is equally performed in the living organism or in the organization of decentralized political systems. E-subsidiarity was essayed in Allende’s Chile and thereafter in the organization of multinational corporations and successful cooperative organizations, e.g. in the Basque country. Could it become a new ethical paradigm at the information age?


The modernization of a State cannot be limited to a single sector or branch of knowledge, since government is intrinsically intersectorial and interdisciplinary. A government will only be able to enter the era of knowledge and innovation when the question itself is treated as a priority. Programs, plans and projects involving information technology must be treated strategically. The short-, medium- and long-term efforts these plans imply must become points of “consensus” in the various sectors of society that are in any way involved in the question, because the perspective proposed here is not confined to the strict scope of government and public Administration.