Cyber-Subsidiarity: Toward a Global Sustainable Information Society

Reference work entry


Most attempts to use the potentials of information technologies in benefit of the fulfillment of the democratic requirements from the local to the global levels are based on the power of social networks and the utilization of big-data approaches. However, both the network itself and the portliness of data processing have fundamental limitations that need to be overcome when the size of the population is larger than a reduced group. As to cope with the related complexity, the network provides in certain conditions a characteristic structure which facilitates the emergence of new functional features and consequently a system. It is this structure – the fibers of the systemic relations – and new functionalities concerning the circulation of data what change the portliness of data processing into an appropriate percolation and management of relevant information. By these means, complexity and the corresponding information flow are managed at the lowest possible level, while cooperation and higher-level management is ready to cope just with the excess of complexity the lower level cannot manage properly by itself. But this is the very idea of subsidiarity whose application to the organization of heterogeneous societies has been a foundation of decentralized government since the sixteenth century in many different contexts.

At the age of the global information society, the necessary management of global issues (environment, geopolitics, inequality, etc.) requires both proper levelism and information management from the peoples to communities, to national authorities, and to international institutions. Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model provides a suitable approach to deploy subsidiarity with the backbone of an information and communication infrastructure based on the acquisition, circulation, and processing of relevant information to enable decentralized, democratic decision-making.


Network theory Semantic networks Big-Data Viable system model Subsidiarity Small-World Cybernetics Internet Information divide Biological information Complexity management 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Systems and TelecommunicationsUniversidad Estatal Península de Santa Elena / SENESCYT - PrometeoLa LibertadEcuador
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationUniversidad de LeónLeonSpain
  3. 3.Department of General and Interdisciplinary StudiesMunich University of Applied SciencesMunichGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • David F. J Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.USAUnited States

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