Friday, March 21, 2008

Governance 2.0 - Wiki Way of Governance

Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig Bets 'Wikipedia' Approach Will Transform Congress |
Lessig, known for his decade-long role in trying to loosen the entertainment industry's vice-like grip on popular culture by shaping copyright law, is betting that the energy and dissatisfaction exhibited by voters against the status-quo in Washington DC, and the emergence of collaborative software that enables vast numbers of geographically-dispersed citizens to become politically active on their own schedule, will enable a new kind of transparency and accountability in political campaigns. "The problem we face is ... the problem of crony capitalism using money to capture government," he said on Monday during the launch of his project in Washington, DC. "The challenge is whether in fact we can change this. The political experts tell you that it can't be done, that process always win over substance." Lessig and Joe Trippi hope that their project will bring the beginnings of this change by getting voters to challenge their members of congress to commit to Change Congress' four pledges. The project will rely on engaged voters to record and map both the responses by, and the positions of candidates who are running for open seats. The idea is to make what seems like an abstract idea visually tangible through a Google mash-up. The professor wants legislators to promise to do four things which he says will reduce the influence of money on policymaking: To promise not to accept money from lobbyists and political action committees; support public financing of elections; commit to passing legislation to permanently ban the funneling of money to their districts' projects of questionable worth; and to commit to "compel transparency in the functioning of congress." Candidates can signal their intentions to take any one or all of the pledges by filling out a form at the organization's web site, which then formulates code that provides a graphic that the candidates can then place on their election campaign web sites. The Change Congress project hopes that citizens will track congressional candidates' positions on these issues by reporting on them at the web site.

Will this effort have real impact on governance? Or, will it have only a symbolic or pressure group like effect?
Would this kind of effort be successful in India?

Change Congress Homepage
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