The GovLab Index: Measuring Impact with Evidence Please find below the latest installment in The GovLab Index series, inspired by the Harper’s Index. The GovLab Index: Measuring Impact with Evidence highlights the need for and current scarcity of evidence in decision-making practices. Previous installments include Open Data, The Data Universe, The Networked Public, Participation and […]
It should be standard to evaluate, examine and potentially (if the program itself is useful) titrate policies and programs according to the needs within the given society, rather than the desires of the politicians. Governing is not about the opinions of the politicians, but of the conditions within the society in which the government has legal, legitimate authority.
It is through tending to the actual needs of a given society effectively, sincerely and genuinely that a government is able to maintain its legitimacy and longevity. Otherwise, the society languishes, and the government and its members become suspect, leading to their eventual removal from office through peaceful elections or violent force.
This isn't so much a call for no government, nor is it a simplisitic reading that government is a useless institution. It is, if anything, a call for us to actually make government a more effective, more efficient and better functioning institution for the sake of people, rather than for private interests and people who seem to benefit the most from this confusion and misallocation of funds and priorities. The top level program influences what is produced in the bottom, while the natural laws of the bottom influences what can be done by the top level programs. The software of a computer will effect how the computer runs and operates as well as what operates and what happens. However, the programs have to be written for and according to the natural circuitry that exists within the machine, such that it is compatible and effective in the hardware in which it needs to operate.
As it is with computers, so to is it with societies. Governments influence and effect what gets done and how things are done within a given society. However, what the government can do, how it does it and what results can be realized are determined by the social, economic and environmental hardware that is present.
It's a shame that we're probably not going to reform in time to save ourselves the worst of the hazards that are going to be caused by our current "leaders'" actions, especially since the lessons can be learned without pain and suffering for everyone. But what else is new in this world?
Think about it.