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August 26, 2009

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JoeGermuska

I appreciate your candor about "the venality of politics". In my mind, another facet of "open government" is raising that question honestly.

O'Reilly is coming from a culture of deep pragmatism. "So politicians are venal. OK, they're venal. We'll add dealing with that to the requirements. What else?"

It may be deeply idealistic, but it got us the internet.

Mark

A nice treatment on government and power can be found in Chapter 3 of Around The Cragged Hill by George Kennan.

http://3.ly/ati

David Forbes

Joe:
O'Reilly is coming from a culture of deep pragmatism. "So politicians are venal. OK, they're venal. We'll add dealing with that to the requirements. What else?"

It may be deeply idealistic, but it got us the internet.

So it's a culture that's deeply pragmatic, and deeply idealistic at the same time?

Possibly, but it's also a culture deeply unused to the knife-fight that is politics. In some ways, the particular pragmatism can be a blind spot; as social solutions can't be as clearly measured as technological ones. It's not uncommon for more data-driven subcultures to grasp onto numbers when they dive into social policy, and often those numbers leave out significant angles.

Truly adding "politicians are venal" to the requirements will require better strategies to deal with that perspective, and learn from it. It's at the heart of government, and has to be more than simply another item on the list.

Mark: Thank you for the link.

SteveG

This was a great point-counter-point, by the way, with O'Reilly. I would like to offer, however, that "Wikinomics" author Tapscott has been producing a Government 2.0 syndicated research program since early 2007 and wrote about Government as a Platform nearly 2 years ago, an early report about which can be downloaded here: http://www.ngenera.com/insight/insight/government20_form.aspx

Also, to your comment in the post "Yet no politician is going to want to explain "well we threw $1 million at designing this and it failed..." in a stunning act of honesty (perhaps, momentarily transfixed by camera lights), OMB's Karen Evans - ostensibly the CIO in the Bush administration, before Obama appointed Vivek to teh real deal - testified exactly that last year (see: http://techinsider.nextgov.com/2008/08/omb_agencies_would_lie_about_i.php) that “highlighting problem projects would lead agencies to hide poorly performing ones.”

Which led columnist Charette to remark: "So, OMB admits that government agencies will resort to what amounts to lying about the status of their troubled IT projects if the public spotlight is turned on."

The same OMB report entitled (love it!) “Dismal State of Information Technology Planning in the Federal Government” goes on to say "...OMB determined that 352 projects (totaling about $23.4 billion) [on its Management Watch List] are poorly planned. In addition, agencies reported that 87 of their high risk projects (totaling about $4.8 billion) were poorly performing. Twenty-six projects (totaling about $3 billion) are considered both poorly planned and poorly performing.”

Wow.

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