Friday, October 12, 2007


This economic flattening doesn't stop at the corporate world. It's no accident that the Scandinavian countries at the top of the World Economic Forum's "most competitive" list are those that use open-source principles in government. Finland and Denmark, for example, save hundreds of millions of euros a year by emplying open-source systems for jobs like bidding on government contracts. Thailand is moving toward open source after it found that coordination between government agencies and NGOs was hindered during tsunami relief because each group was working on separate computer systems.

This goes beyond code to issues of social and economic inclusion. In the United Kingdom, New Labor has for several years been pushing "joined-up" government as a way of solving the complex problems of the day. Geoff Mulgan, the prime minister's former head of policy, envisions a day soon in which citizens will participate in parliamentary processes online, perhaps even helping to draft legislation.

The ramifications of knowledge sharing are even greater for developing nations. Countries like Brazil, India, South Africa and China opt for open source, in part, because they don't want to run their armies, and everything else, on software made in Redmond, Washington. "By allowing countries to feel more like participants in the commercial process, rather than just customers, it produces a more self-confident society," says Charles Nesson, head of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. "That, in turn, produces a more secure global environment."

Foroohar, Rana - Learning to Share. In «Issues 2006», Nova Iorque: Newsweek, 2005, p. 42

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