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Rotten Circuits
October 19th, 2008
01:05 am


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Open Source Nation
I was toying around with an idea the other night, of whether an "open source" government would be a good model - the idea is fraught, mostly depending on how far you take the open source parallel; I think everyone can see the benefit of having government transparency, and also the risks involved with allowing everyone access to modify government (more below). One of the things I couldn't help thinking was "I can't be the only person to have thought about this".

Yesterday, Andrew Ladhe closed his hedge fund, and in his letter mused along similar lines:

"On the issue of the U.S. Government, I would like to make a modest proposal. [...] George Soros, a man of staggering wealth, has stated that he would like to be remembered as a philosopher. My suggestion is that this great man start and sponsor a forum for great minds to come together to create a new system of government that truly represents the common man’s interest, while at the same time creating rewards great enough to attract the best and brightest minds to serve in government roles without having to rely on corruption to further their interests or lifestyles. This forum could be similar to the one used to create the operating system, Linux, which competes with Microsoft’s near monopoly. I believe there is an answer, but for now the system is clearly broken."

To continue from above: my best scenario so far is a version-controlled government. Anyone can make a change to the work-in-progress legislation. Elected moderators then look at and discuss the modifications, and push through the inoffensive and beneficial changes, returning feedback when rejecting a modification. New revisions of the law are rolled out in beta-testing areas (or to selected beta-testers) and if shown to be robust, are released to be used by all.

The biggest problem I see with it is that it's completely open to abuse - it's only good in the spirit that it tries to foster, that of contribution by all who benefit. It would also need an awful lot of red tape to moderate, and ensure transparency. So, is there a better open government model?

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(3 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:October 19th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)
Andrew Ladhe also had a lot of other more inflammatory things to say. :P
[User Picture]
Date:October 19th, 2008 10:49 am (UTC)
He sure did! I haven't read into him too much - it mostly just interested me that he sent this letter the same evening that I was trying to work out what we could take from open source development and apply to government structure and practice.
Date:October 19th, 2008 11:53 am (UTC)
Interesting. I think there is still potential for abuse, in a form that is to law what the Underhanded C Contest is to open source.
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