The main institutional mission of Diacons is to promote and manage several well-articulated initiatives and develop, especially through the web, tools of information, discussion, action and organization, addressed to the consumer citizens that are active in the market and, more generally, in the economy. Our purpose is to reduce the informational asymmetry between producers and consumers, in order to promote a greater economic democracy and a social and environmental sustainable development.
Diacons is an association whose main institutional mission is to create, promote and manage several well-articulated initiatives and develop, especially through the web, tools of information, discussion, action and organization, addressed to the consumer citizens that are active in the market and, more generally, in the economy. Our purpose is to reduce the informational asymmetry between producers and consumers, in order to promote a greater economic democracy and a social and environmental sustainable development. Consumers are essential members of the market: they represent the demand that determines the production of goods and services. Anybody, thanks to the appropriate tools, can significantly influence economic and manufacturing tendencies through their consumption and investment choices, and through their opinions on goods, services, companies, brands and public administrations.
In the last few years, the development of information technology and web generated important changes in almost each sphere of everyday life. These technologies and applications, which are still far from exhausting their innovation potential, are driving historic changes. This is the context in which we operate with the awareness that the great technological development can provide higher levels of knowledge and participation, while expanding the democratic potential of the market and of the economy.
In particular, we aim to develop an interactive web environment with several platforms, which all citizens can help both generate and develop. In this way, all consumers will be able to use such tools to inform themselves, spread their ideas, share opinions, behaviors, and judgments, both individually and collectively. These initiatives will promote a greater access to knowledge by an increasing number of people, will reduce the lack of informational asymmetries and will foster the participation to civilization and everybody’s well-being choices through a cogeneration of value.
The idea was born from the need to better develop all those opportunities and actions that can make the consumer citizen participate in the choices and guidelines of an economic nature, in the production and distribution of goods and services, in political orientation and in public ethics . For a long time, the strength that consumer citizens could have on the market has been discussed, exercising conscious and active consumer choices and judging products, brands, companies, professionals and the activities and behaviors of administration and public services. The difficulties in exercising a minimum of participatory power organized on certain objectives, including those of rights, have made consumer citizens practically incapable of becoming a considered and politically incisive social subject. According to some, this derives from the intrinsic “lightness” of the consumer as a bearer of weak interests, others argue that the atomism of consumer choices and the induction to purchases generated by advertising make it difficult, if not impossible, to organize and target consumer behavior. However, Zygmunt Bauman believes that: today we live in a global consumer society. Consumer behavior patterns inevitably influence all other aspects of our existence, including work and family life. Stefano Zamagni writes: Adequately self-organized consumers can become an active partner in the production planning process and in the adoption of the consequent strategic choices. Leonardo Becchetti adds: … I want to be remembered with an epitaph on my tombstone, where it is said that I worked and fought for the “vote with the wallet”. That is the enormous power that we have (but still use to a small extent) to influence the market, rewarding companies that are at the forefront of social and environmental sustainability. These and many other economists and sociologists argue that in an economy where the production of material goods is higher than their demand, and the marginal cost of goods tends to constantly decrease (Jeremy Rifkin), consumer choices and consumer citizens’ judgments will be increasingly central and decisive. Now, if this consumer strength on the theoretical level is very convincing, on the practical one, at least until a few years ago, it seemed impossible to achieve. What has allowed in recent years to give concrete development to the new participatory paradigm of the citizen has been Internet 2.0 and in particular the possibility through the various interactive methods of the web and especially of social networks, to be able to interact in an almost unlimited way with a multitude of people and with the administrations and the companies themselves. In the market, through new interactive means, the consumer is practically able to co-generate his own consumer experience and share it with others. Marketing moves less and less with a target (target), instead it measures itself around the forum markets, that is, perceiving the opinions that are generated in the network between people who share the same interest, and companies are forced to define expectations together with consumers, in a value co-generation relationship, in horizontal collaboration with other consumers. If this new model of relations between citizens and businesses tending to involve the consumer in the production, service and consensus choices, is well present in the policies of many businesses and tends to expand exponentially, this practice is still not widespread in policies of public decision-makers, and inexplicably almost absent in large and small social organizations. In fact, social organizations are still modeled culturally and organisationally according to the twentieth-century schemes that interpret the context, condition or interest of individuals in a rigid and fixed way over time, without realizing that today people can count on a multitude of opportunities, they act on different levels of interest with an individual mobile perception, and not very uniform to the opinions and choices of socio-political groups. These socio-political groups still fail to realize that the main new agora is the web. In Italy every day 50 million people have access to the internet on Facebook, over 30 million profiles are registered, and connections with mobile devices have for some time exceeded fixed ones. Practically almost all young people and an increasing number of less young people live a connected life and the smartphone has become a prosthesis of our existence. This situation is not without dangers, without limits (which is not the case to investigate here) and as Umberto Eco says, there are also groups of imbeciles on the net.However, this reality is only the mirror of the varied, multifaceted and complex society and real life, made up of a set of individuals and groups who report their essence and their vision of life on the internet in a free, independent way, often more casual and frank than in normal relationships. The strength of the interactive web lies in giving everyone, at all times, the opportunity to express their desire to be there, to be in relationship with others, to be able to be present in some way, to appear, not to go unnoticed, not to be alone , even at the cost of giving up privacy. This makes the various interactive forms of the internet irresistible tools of personal fulfillment. The challenge therefore consists in identifying and promoting, in this uninterrupted flow of relationships, ideas, opinions and behaviors, ethical reference points, solidarity, equity, responsibility, social and environmental sustainability and organizing these fundamental values to improve the quality of life for all and encourage civil progress.
The “DIACONS” association develops information and training tools and materials, in particular through the web, which are useful for promoting the role of the responsible consumer citizen on the market, in society, towards companies, institutions and public and private bodies. To implement this action and encourage the development of a market and a civil economy, for the common good, the economic, social and environmental sustainability of human activities, encouraging positive, supportive and mutual aid relations, it implements with responsibility and commitment the following ethical choice:
All our actions are carried out with respect for the human person, his dignity and value, without any discrimination and in full freedom.
All our activities are carried out in full compliance with the laws and rules of civil coexistence.
We operate by seeking the common good and the full realization of each person both in our context and elsewhere, both today and tomorrow.
Our behaviors are based on a correct, responsible and balanced attitude towards collaborators, users and interlocutors.
We are committed to working towards real social, environmental and economic sustainability.
We are committed to making all our actions transparent and fair, to give everyone the opportunity to freely judge our work.
We are free and democratic people, respectful of every opinion which in turn respects the opinions of others without overpowering.
Both material and intellectual honesty and moral correctness is registered in our way of being and acting.
It is our commitment to enhance and promote participation, giving a voice to all citizens interested in becoming protagonists in society and in the economy.
Our ethics is inspired by the value and sense of sharing, aware of what, in any case, each of us always owes to others.
The functioning of the Diacons association is governed by the Articles of Association, which can be consulted in full by downloading the following document.
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