Thursday, June 7, 2012

Radical Thoughts: A Modern Form of Government

In these days of campaigns, political discussions and tons of political-related posts on my Facebook wall, I've been thinking about the political issues and problems in Mexico from an analytical point of view. I always try to analyze any situation outside the bubble, instead of being part of the bubble and discussing about political parties, candidates, etc. In this case, the bubble is the political system in Mexico.
I'm not studying political science and obviously I'm not a politics savvy; I'm just a guy sharing thoughts and ideas based on personal experiences and things I've read and heard.

Just something to begin with: It all starts with the citizen-government interaction for the issuance of an official document, certificate, licence or permit. The interaction and execution of the citizen's request by the government department is done by bureaucrats. Bureaucracy implements the rules, laws, and functions of a ministry, department or institution. It's typically known to be inefficient for both the citizen's and government's money and time. It's even worse when the rules and laws are also inefficient. Rules and laws created in the middle of the twentieth century with little or no reforms made in the next decades.

With the constitution, laws and rules a system is created. Mexico is a federal presidential representative democratic republic whose government is based on a congressional system. The federal government represents the United Mexican States and is divided into three branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial, as established by the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, published in 1917.
The branch that seems to be and always will be the problem is the legislative power, which is vested upon the Congress of the Union, a two-chamber legislature comprising the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
The legislature, as we all know, is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. And then we have the political parties that add to the problem. It's a very limited number of people that exercises the power of changing and creating law. Plus, every politician (good or bad) has its own personal interests, which are not always for the improvement of the country in general. They tend to be close-minded, corrupt and don't work properly for the benefit of the country. They are part of the system, so they automatically are part of the problem.

The system is flawed. It is an old system that hasn't had significant changes and won't accomplish and meet the needs and level of complexity of the issues and situation of the present and future of a globalized and connected world.

So what can be done to transform and improve the system that will truly enable every citizen to be part of the policy-making decisions?

There's a political philosophy called Open-source Governance.

It basically advocates the application of the philosophies of the open-source and open content movements to democratic principles in order to enable any interested citizen to add to the creation of policy, as with a wiki document. Legislation is democratically opened to the general citizenry, employing their collective wisdom to benefit to the decision-making process and improve democracy.
A wiki is a website [or generally a site] whose users can add, modify, or delete its content via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a rich-text editor. Wikis are powered by wiki software. Most are created collaboratively.
It's just a political philosophy; the practice and methods for the application of this philosophy is much more complex. The beauty of this system is the open-source idea that enables any interested citizen to present a proposal or change in the law or regulation that is inefficient. It also allows the citizens to be part of the decision making of the needs (infrastructure like schools, hospitals, transport system and the training of the workforce) of the city.
There must be a group formed by people related, informed and interested in that specific change or creation of the law or rule, that reviews the proposals and votes for the approval or disapproval of that change. Every citizen interested and willing to change a rule could make an amandment to the articles of that rule and the other participants approve, disapprove or change the context of the article. It's not like a doctor is going to be seriously interested in changing the rules of civil aviation.

This way a continuous evolution of the constitution, laws and rules is maintained for the good of the people of the country, without the need of having a senate and the chamber of deputies. Ultimately without the need of political parties that only oppose to each other, as it happens in Mexico and many countrys as well.
The population is integrated and is part of the decisions that affect the city and country, in the larger scale. It would be the responsable for the well-being of the country. The inefficient process of the creation and amendment of laws and rules is greatly improved. Corruption goes down, transparency and efficiency go up. This system would limit the power to the minorities and corrupt groups, unions and organizations formed because of the flawed system. It would be the people that have the ultimate responsability of the progress of the nation. As an ancient maxim from the Roman law that says “That which affects all people must be approved by all people”.
The only problem that arises is the adaptation of the system to the population of the country. It's a radical and revolutionary philosophy and many will disagree with it. It must be taught throughout school and encouraged in the society. Everything comes to education. When a country has an excellent educational system that supports all the young population, the results are the foundations of an informed and democratic society.

There are many type of modern political philosophies and methods such as e-Democracy, e-Government, Collaborative e-Democracy and Open Government. These pave the way to the future of democracy. A democracy of the 21st Century and the Age of Information.

It would be a great idea to create a website and present this idea in the social media, universities and highschools so that people can unite and organize a real change in the system. The Open-Source philosophy can make a significant change when applied in the political and government system of a country. Maybe Mexico could be a pioneering State that applies a full open-source government.

Open Government from The Academy on Vimeo.

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