Fleissner-p1By Peter Karl Fleissner (Vienna University of Technology)

Included in: Coenen, Hofkirchner, Díaz-Nafría (eds.) New ICTs and Social Media: Revolutions, Counter-Revolutions and Social Change, IRIE, vol. 18

Abstract: As contemporary scientific images of the economy by mainstream economists neglect historical changes, a method is needed to deal with the opportunities and possibilities of qualitative change, in particular in a period of evident crises. This paper sketches a methodology of reflecting the economy as an evolutionary/revolutionary process. There are two main reasons for that: The first is that scholars should think of reality in a more appropriate way, taking the fact into account that qualitative changes of the type of the economic reproduction process happened in the past and there is no reason that they will not also happen in future, the second, that new political movements demand a better life for all, not only for one per cent of the people.

Cover of the special issueSpecial Issue of the International Review of Information Ethics edited by

Christopher Coenen (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), Wolfgang Hofkirchner (Vienna University of Technology) and José María Díaz Nafría (Munich University of Applied Sciences; Universidad de León)

This special issue, recently published in the Journal chaired by our colleague Rafael Capurro, compiles among other works the contributions done in the International Event “Social networks: from indignation to change (ethical, political and aesthetical aspects)” held in the summer of 2012 in León, as a result of the cooperation among BITrum, the University of León (Spain), the Munich University of Applied Science and other institutions (hosted within this website). Besides the editorial work of three BITrum members (two acting as guest), the issue collects a good representation of articles authored by BITrum members: Rainer Zimmermann, Peter Fleissner, Julian Marcelo. These contributions delve into relevant aspects of BITrum’s endeavors, in particular regarding philosophical, economic and social dimensions. (more…)

By José María Díaz Nafría (Universidad de León)

Different senses of security and its related assumptions, methodologies and contexts are analyzed by first reviewing the liberalistic notions of security and trust, unveiling, on the one hand, the contradictions exhibited between discourse and practice; on the other hand, the historical strategy of concentration of power behind the liberalistic doctrines. The weakness, limits and implications of the liberalistic notions and methods on security and trust are inquired, and subsequently a genuine horizon of security as sustainable and general procurement of positive freedom is advocated.

The CyberSyn project successfully implemented in Chile, but tragically and prematurely ending under the hard power in the 9/11 of 1973, serves as model of the posed system approach to security. However, the system model is actualized and completed with elements of the general theory of information in virtue of: the increased complexity of societal systems, its ultimate global dimension, its biospherical closure, the increase of information assets and processes, and some epistemological boundaries. These reasons also set the need of keeping – beside the system approach – a critical and ethical stance.

Roberto Gejman (Computer Science Departament, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, CHILE)

An integrated set of definitions and distinctions in the information, communication and knowledge field is proposed.  It is argued that more attention must be given to records, usually confused with information.  Descriptions are shown to be the fundamental facts behind information. Information is defined as an abstract concept, free of material or syntactic constraints.  Information is observer free but it is dependent on the shared ontological background of communities. The world may be characterized as being structured by only six components.  Knowledge is the capacity to act effectively and it is not information. Information quantity and its relation with the entropy of physical systems are shown to be more ambiguous and less important than they are usually thought of.  It is argued that information studies should move on from these old concerns to confront the vital information challenges in this globalized information society with information superabundance.

  • Full article published in Triple C, 7(2), special issue What is really information?
  • Spanish article published in ¿Qué es información?, 2008

Estela Mastromatteo (Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas)

This contribution emphasizes that in order to achieve a real and sustainable human development in Latin America, and for this region to be part of the information society, it is extremely important to create conditions for a free access to information, education for everyone and in a permanent manner, and development in science and technology should be destined to serve society. Access to information and information technology are major promises in this era, but at the same time, become new forms of exclusion. In Latin America the two realities coexist. It is crucial in the solution to rethink the ethics of information and the values that underlie it, respect for human rights, the commitment of societies and our leaders. It also highlights the role of libraries as mediators in the production process, organization and retrieval of information access, in safeguarding the freedom of information and the right to free expression through technology, with ethics and values into a real development in Latin America.

  • Full article published in Triple C, 7(2), special issue What is really information?
  • Spanish article published in ¿Qué es información?, 2008
José María Díaz Nafría & Francisco Salto Alemany (Universidad de León)

This issue poses the question: what information really is. The reality or way of being of information is called into question. Consider for a moment we were to ask what digestion really is. Digestion might be considered as a complex collection of biochemical processes allowing for many distinct levels of analysis in reality: molecular, atomic, quantum… Let d be a coherent complete description of such processes. Is digestion really d? It seems not, since our particular experience of digestion, our digesting, also seems to be part of what digestion “really” is. Moreover, we may ask whether digestion really occurs only within the organism, or rather there are external social phenomena determining what digestion “really” is. Regarding digestion there are also norms, values, indeed also ethical values, expectations and practices that are also part of what digestion “really” is. Reality is many sided and seems to include, from a manifest viewpoint, facts and also further nonfactual elements.


Peter FLEISSNER (Technical University of Vienna)

With the increasing division of labour and the emergence of markets, useful things have started to become sold and bought. They began a new career as commodities. Since Aristotle the dialectic face of commodities, later on in detail elaborated by Karl Marx, is well known, they carry value in use and value in exchange. Nowadays, where we understand the economy as a social construction and are aware of the relativity of value given to objects, we are still confronted with the same distinction and also with the transition of objects into commodities. The commodification process has not come to an end yet.
The paper gives an overview on the processes of commodification and de-commodification of goods and services as a background for analysing developments in the emerging information society on a global scale.
Possible strategies on how to go on from now are presented, among them the struggle and on-going resistance of the European Parliament on the one hand, against the European Commission and the European Patent Office on the other, also the movements of open source/free software and the ideas of copyleft to create new rules for information goods.