Financial scandals, crisis of capital values and market volatility. The international economic system is now looking for new balances for corporate social responsibility.
A geo-political balances in a sway, economic theories eroded away and markets in a turmoil. Might the world scene really be teetering on the brink of the dark ages again? In a context in which we seem to have got our priorities all mixed up, it is pointless to keep asking ourselves whether local is better than global, because the recipe for a fair solution is so hard to imagine. As Lorenzo Sacconi suggests everybody ought to just accept their responsibilities and act according to their own know-how and skills, making conscientious governance a firm point of any new ethics. The fair distribution of resources is something nobody can afford to ignore, even those giants that turned out to have feet of clay like Enron, which, as Luigi Spaventa, points out was the Stock Exchange’s own 11th September, as it hit rock bottom swindling its own investors. But there seems to be no end to all the scandals. So what is to be done? W. Michael Hoffman and Dawn-Marie Driscoll have no doubts that we ought to take recent events as a lesson to be learnt and “not confuse corporate social responsibility with the ethic management of a business”. So local or global? Although not perhaps a priority, the issue is creeping into every sector. But the Noble Prize winner Amartya Sen has pointed out something that cannot be ignored: globalisation must not be confused with westernisation, if we are to steer clear of anti-historical attitudes. Meanwhile a certain tension is also creeping into the building industry.
As we look to the future, we cannot help being excited at what lies ahead and, at the same time, perplexed about how to act without exaggerating in terms of virtual “matter”. Identifying the lines of force of modern-day design is like wading through the universe of composite languages, the chaos of cyberspace where anything is possible provided we free ourselves from a past deeply contaminated by the present in more or less pompous forms, but threatening nonetheless. This means we must choose between the consoling presence of the past, taking refuge in contemplative metaphors, or alternatively accept that the Movement is unstable, which is also the theme of this issue of arcVision devoted to infrastructures. This is what Maurizio Vogliazzo refers to in the introduction when he says that the Future is totally mobile even in terms of thought, whereas there is still a tendency to stand still waiting for who knows what. On the contrary, we should begin from the high point we have already reached ready to take another leap forward. For instance, in the art of working with concrete: “In which –as Vogliazzo writes– we have been overtaken by our more expert European neighbours, whose greater expertise derives from their ability to weigh up the real importance of things”.