Nerval's Lobster writes: For quite some time, there’s been a theory drifting around that government can be made more open and efficient via the same crowdsourcing and social-networking tools that created such successes out of Facebook, Twitter and Kickstarter. In that spirit, numerous pundits and analysts have advocated the development of “e-government” or “government 2.0.” But what if the idea isn’t as great as it seems? That’s the angle embraced by Evgeny Morozov in a recent essay for The Baffler. Structured as a lengthy takedown of open-source advocate and O’Reilly Media founder Tim O’Reilly, the piece veers off to fire a few torpedoes at the idea of making government more responsive and transparent through technology (the latter something that O’Reilly readily advocates). “One of the main reasons why governments choose not to offload certain services to the private sector is not because they think they can do a better job at innovation or efficiency,” Morozov writes, “but because other considerations—like fairness and equity of access—come into play.” If O’Reilly himself argues that a government “stripped down to its core” into a form more transparent and collaboration-friendly, Morozov counters with the idea that the “participation” envisioned by most government 2.0 scenarios is limited, little better in practice than the comments section at the bottom of a corporate blog posting.
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