Thinking of governments and countries as open source organizations

Just for a moment, think, what would it be like if governments and countries were open source organizations (mentioned as OSO from here on)? The status quo is that governments are synonymous to big black boxes where no one really knows what’s going on unless and until you are part of the big black box. On the contrary, most OSOs are an amazing expression of freedom and openness. Wouldn’t it be great that all the policies would be made in the open, the processes would be listed out in the open and the reason for policies being made would also be available for everyone to understand and reason with.

Understanding the Stakeholders involved

A country can be analogous to the OSO and the government can be related to the core of the organizations. People who work for the government are like the paid staff and the citizens of a country can be seen as the user-base volunteers of the OSO. It is important to note that in most OSOs most of the users are pulled towards being volunteers thus being more involved.

Interaction between the stakeholders

The interesting dynamic in my opinion is that in an OSO, all the governance is in the hand of the core and paid staff, they take enough input from the volunteer community and their users and then make rational decisions in the open. It is to be noted that all the decisions and their reasoning is done in the open for everyone to see and access.

Coming to governments, especially countries in South Asia the status quo is that most of the decisions are done in the dark, most of the negotiations are done in the dark and the implication of it being that the citizens of the country never know why something happened. This moreover gives an opportunity for more corruption and unfairness in the process. Another aspect to be noted is that governance in OSOs are mostly taken care of by industry leaders and people who have enough enthusiasm and knowledge in that field while with governments most of the leaders are highly politically inclined unprofessional people (That’s me being very opinionated here, but holds true for most South Asian countries for sure). A government can learn to be more open in terms of everything from how policies are made to how small decisions are made. How different smaller government bodies decide on tenders. There are matters of national security which should be kept secret when and where required, but overall an open structure does more good than harm.

Its not only that there is a difference in the core, but coming to citizens and users/volunteers, in case of an OSO most volunteers are very active and have an inert enthusiasm to contribute and give back to the cause. One the other hand, in a model of a country, most citizens are relying highly on the government to take initiatives and literally spoon-feed them. This is where I think, we as citizens can learn from OSOs, by being more responsible towards the country, towards our neighborhood, towards the society and eventually towards humanity. It should be understood that we as citizens have a lot that impacts the rulers of any country and can either help them in the process or create problems by being highly dependent on them.

fin.

To wrap up, governments should to learn to function in a much more open manner and integrating the citizens more in the process. We, the citizens should not be used to being dependent on the gov. and should take initiatives as its our society, our environment, our world. The concept of a borderless world is also interesting, but maybe for a different thoughtlet.

P.S.: This is a very random thought experiment and there are lot more stakeholders and interactions between them possible. If one is interested into this then there is a lot of literature available on Open Governance. I came across it while researching for this random thoughtlet.