13 February 2009

How Openness Can Regulate the Real World

Yes, even the really messy bits:

Participatory regulation is arguably the best way to surface and defeat corruption in government and industry. I’ve highlighted a range of impressive efforts below. They range from Transparency International’s more top-down survey and index approach to the bottom-up Wikileaks site where anybody can post documents that uncover instances of corruption.

The post explores several examples: Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index; The Kimberley Process (KP) - a joint government-industry-civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds; and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which is "similar in intent to TI’s bribe payer’s index — it also aims to strengthen governance by improving transparency and accountability in the extractives sector" (apparently the "extractive industries" refer to mining, oil, gas and similar companies).

What's really noteworthy here is that openness is being used to make a difference not in airy-fairy realms of genteel, abstract concerns, but in some of the most brutal, real-world contexts imaginable. Who knows, it might even work for something as corrupt as the British political system.

Update: Simon Phipps has pointed out the new Stimulus Watch, which works on similar principles.

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