Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, by Beth Simone Noveck

By Beth Simone Noveck

Collaborative democracy-government with the people-is a brand new imaginative and prescient of governance within the electronic age. Wiki Government explains how one can translate the imaginative and prescient into fact. Beth Simone Noveck attracts on her adventure in growing Peer-to-Patent, the federal government's first social networking initiative, to teach how expertise can attach the services of the numerous to the facility of the few. within the method, she finds what it takes to innovate in govt.

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E. O. Wilson The patent system is just one example of how government institutions create single points of failure by concentrating decisionmaking power in the hands of the few, whether legislators in Congress, cabinet officials in the executive branch, or bureaucrats in agencies. Administrative practices are constructed around the belief that government professionals know best how to translate broad legislative mandates into specific regulatory decisions in the public interest. Governance, the theory goes, is best entrusted to a bureaucracy operating at one remove from the pressure of electoral politics and the biased influence of the public at large.

What does collaborative democracy look like in practice? In the old way of working, the bureaucrat might decide to repair a bridge in response to an opinion poll or vote that randomly obtains feedback. Or the bureaucrat might publish a fully developed plan to repair the bridge, ostensibly soliciting comment in response to a notice of proposed regulation, attracting participation by formal interest groups and lobbyists but not ordinary citizens, who can never hope to match the power and influence of corporate interests.

While people can take full-time jobs in government, there is no equivalent of VolunteerMatch to connect a network of doctors to the Department of Health and Human Services or to allow a team of scientists to assist with evaluating climate change data for the EPA or the economist and the physicist to collaborate on modeling economic forecasts for Treasury. More to the point, government is not articulating priorities that enable the venture capitalist and the entrepreneur to build new businesses.

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