Gov 2.0 vs. the Beast of Bureaucracy

Freitag, 10. September 2010, 16:30:11 | Andrew McAfee:

If Tim O’Reilly didn’t exist, the technology industry would have to invent him. He knows everybody, can explain anything to anyone, helps us understand where things are headed, and convenes diverse groups of people to think about talk about the big topics.

He does all this while maintaining a sense of enthusiasm that I usually see only among people waiting in line for the next release of Halo. Tim likes technology for its own sake, but he’s more fundamentally enamored of what it can do — how it can open up new territory, improve people’s lives, and address vexing problems. After more than 30 years of running O’Reilly Media he exudes the vibe of “this is so cool” that all of us geeks remember from the first time we sat down in front of a computer (and for whatever it’s worth, I think he’s exactly right; this remains so cool.).

Tim brought a bunch of us together at the Gov 2.0 Summit earlier this week to discuss how the geek toolkit is being used to improve the work of government. A lot of the talks are available online at O’Reilly’s YouTube channel (my talk with Tim is here), and I encourage you to check them out. The best of them, like Carl Malamud’s and Ellen Miller‘s, are inspirational (and yes, that word is terribly overused).

The central impression the Summit left on me was of a dedicated and tenacious group of people waging war on bureaucracy, which Javier Pascual Salcedo defined as “the art of making the possible impossible.” The government doesn’t have a monopoly on bureaucracy, of course, but it does have pretty good market share”. A capitalist theorist would say this is largely because competition culls bureaucracy and other inefficiencies, and governments face few or no competitors for their services. (more…)