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Is open-source governance a viable model?

Open-source governance, direct democracy, e-participation... there are several concepts that tackle the need for citizens to take charge of their own destiny. Is this what we should all aim for?


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  • Jul 6 2011: Open government may sound very pleasing to citizens, however, it is not viable. First off, the government must control its subjects/citizens in order to protect them from harm. As seen through recent media about wikileaks, many diplomatic ties were severed, and trust between nations, citizens and governments, was destroyed. The consequences of these actions may and most probably went beyond what an average citizen could comprehend. The actions of Julius Assange could have lead to delay of peace in the war, another conflict to arise, etc.

    However, i'm not saying government should keeps its people in the dark; they must find the correct amount of transparency in the system. It wouldn't exactly be safe if people knew where our nuclear missile sites were!
    • Jul 6 2011: "First off, the government must control its subjects/citizens in order to protect them from harm."

      I do agree that his actions have done a certain amount of damage, but I believe he would not have felt compelled to shed light on these documents if the actions of the governments were on the up and up. I do not subscribe to your belief that people must be controlled in order to protect them. Someone brought up Chairman Mao and how he traded grain for missiles, letting 100 million of his people starve. I'm sure his intention was not to starve his people but it was a means to an end and I'm sure that end was to be competitive against other nation's that already had nukes enabling China to defend itself and protect his culture . I do not want that type of protection. That's like protection from the mob and doesn't make me feel protected at all. You are on both sides of the fence here. You say " government must control it's citizen's", yet it must also be somewhat transparent. Which parts should not be transparent and what is actually going on in these hidden portions of the government? I have to tell you, I do not trust any group of people with that much power and the ability to keep things secret. Secrets are untold truths, omissions of facts are lies and lies at that scale are deadly. Don't you think?
    • Jul 6 2011: The definitions behind the various concepts in the introduction do not all necessarily express the same idea. Also, the words "the need for citizens to take charge of their own destiny" may have expressed a different idea than intended. I did not make a case to throw away the concept of a government in charge of implementing policies, but rather to make sure the citizens voice is expressed, heard and taken into account in policy making. Maybe open-source policy describes it a bit better.

      My ideal governance concept is one where the government serves its citizen. In reality though, soon after taking charge, too many government officials focus (around the world) tends to shift towards enjoying power and securing long term personal gain (often in the form of re-election and/or direct earnings). They can't just do "what they want" though... I tend to believe that everyone has a "boss", that "there is always a bigger fish", that they do serve someone. In my mental model, they serve those who put them in charge (because that tends to achieve re-election). In an ideal world that would be us, the citizen. In our current reality, in too many places around the world, things are a little less ideal. Private interests come into play, be it in the form of private fortunes or corporations, other governments, etc. which all have their own agenda.

      Long story short, the case here is for a greater (electronic?) participation of all citizens in policy making (not policy implementation), for transparent (electronic?) elections, leading to governments answering to their citizens, rather than others. Is this where we should all go? Is this a viable form of democracy?
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      Jul 10 2011: dewal, aside from the first eight words of your post, I couldn't disagree more with the rest. I challenge you to provide any valid evidence that "diplomatic ties" or any other useless clothing accessories were harmed by the WikiLeaks disclosures. For the most part, the few citizens of the U.S. who pay enough attention discovered that their government was not nearly as evil and underhanded as they might have suspected. That their diplomats at least had the appearance of actually working in the interest of mankind in many cases came as a shock to many.

      Imagine how truly tragic it would be if they had to remove a nuclear missile because it's location was discovered by the general populace. How awful it would be that you could not burn millions of distant people from that particular hiding place.

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