The Complexity of Value and the Evaluation of Complexity: Social Use Value and Multi-criteria Analysis

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The “challenge of complexity” is one of the many points of convergence between the Encyclical Laudato si’ and the evolution of post-modern scientific thought. This study aims to analyze how complexity represents the essential element of the profound renewal in the scientific paradigm of the discipline of evaluation, particularly in regard to the theory of value, the categories of value, and the instruments of multi-criteria evaluation. Some contemporary theories of value propose, in fact, a complex source of value, such as surpluses of energy and of information (Ecological Economics) or as the creative and synergistic combination of three surpluses, namely energetic and non-entropic, genealogical-ecological, and scientific-cultural (the “Nuova Economia” of Francesco Rizzo). These theories derive from a new interpretative key founded on the alliance between the natural sciences and the humanities. The creation of new categories of value, the social use value and the total economic value, constitute, moreover, the response of the science of evaluation to the social and disciplinary need to express a complex value that goes beyond both the private use value and the (normal and speculative) exchange value, and which include the multiplicity of values (ethical, aesthetic, economic, cultural, scientific, political, juridical, and equitable) that express the human being as a whole, no longer reduced merely to the homo economicus. The demand for the resolution of complex problems involving public and private territorial assets has led to the elaboration of models of multi-criteria evaluation through which to recompose the conflicting dualities of equity/efficiency, quality/quantity, and local/global into a uni-duality. In these models, the absence of a monetary unit of measurement constitutes an opportunity for re-founding a system of common social values and for allowing the participation of local communities in decision-making processes (Bentivegna 2016). The evaluation discipline, furthermore, may continue to participate directly in the great cultural, spiritual, and educational challenges contained in the Encyclical, to change the style of life and the patterns of production and consumption, making its own contribution in three spheres: scientific-cultural, through studies and research orientated towards the promotion of the culture of complexity, of multidisciplinarity, and of environmental protection; social-territorial, through collaboration with public institutions to elaborate operative instruments (models) of social participation in local decision-making processes; and educational, through the qualification and training of architects and engineers.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine12
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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  • ???subjectarea.asjc.2100.2102???
  • ???subjectarea.asjc.2300.2308???
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