Greek Monks and Open Government #gov20 #opengov

Did the Greek Monks Destroy the Country or was it Lack of Government Transparency?

Did the Greek Monks Destroy the Country or was it Lack of Government Transparency?

Reviewing some of the older pieces on the true greek tragedy (in economic terms) and finally read through the whole of the great Vanity Fair article by Michael Lewis (“Beware of Greek s Bearing Bonds“).  The detail in the article is great and Lewis, as always, is an incredible writer.

But the important insight is how this could be fixed.  How we could move from rebel to revolutionary, and start to solve the problem?  Open Government, writ large, is the answer.

The article is about the details that led to the fall of the previous government in Greece and the challenges that resulted when the new government dug into the reasons behind it.  While the immediate cause was certainly the incredibly odd deal that the Greek Monks made to overvalue and trade on the “value” of their land.  The real answer is, as Lewis details, the degradation of civil society in Greece.

Lewis details the challenge:

It’s simply assumed, for instance, that anyone who is working for the government is meant to be bribed. People who go to public health clinics assume they will need to bribe doctors to actually take care of them. Government ministers who have spent their lives in public service emerge from office able to afford multi-million-dollar mansions and two or three country homes.

Apparently tax payments are also an optional exercise in Greece.  There simply is no enforcement mechanism and bribery of tax officials has run rampant allegedly.  The challenge is what to do about it.

Transparency, like sunlight, disinfects the distasteful debris.  Open Government, deployed broadly and enabled through structures that tie the open data to enforcement mechanisms create some interesting outputs.  Stability and Fairness.  Stability that economic growth can be built upon and Fairness that allows for the once vibrant civil discourse to take up arms again.  These two outcomes are worth the pain of enabling transparency in Greece and everywhere else in the world where I have heard story about bribery, corruption and skimming off the top of the government.

I was asked by a friend in one of India’s largest Pradesh what the largest expenditure was in the economic development efforts throughout India.  The answer wasnt land development, infrastructure, education or public health.  Without flinching he told me “corruption”.  That easily 80% of the economic development funds in India never reached individual areas in need of help.  Most of the public money targeted at poverty reduction was the same.

From the monks in Greece to the poor in India, the world deserves more focus on Open Government as a way to build more Stable and Growing nations.  Lets work to make that happen.  What are the SPECIFIC deployments we could push to the governments of the world to free up precious resources and stabilize the world?

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Matt Miszewski has been a leader of incredible teams, that accomplished unbelievable goals - together. From rebuilding an enterprise technology strategy from the ground up as Chief Information Officer of the State of Wisconsin to driving a struggling global sales and marketing team to live beyond their potential and helping take their stock from $45/sh to over $110/sh, I have been honored to take on huge challenges and beat them by building collaborative and high performing teams. I was proud to be a regular speaker on Digital Realty's earnings call each quarter and being able to brief and advise the Board of Directors each quarter. Focusing on our shareholders needs while coupling that focus with the needs of our top customers was the combination the street was searching for and our increase in equity value proves the effort worthwhile. Our focus on total leasing costs, net present value of long term leases, closing the gap on cash performance and elimination of stagnant inventory helped to drive a stalled stock. Most proud of standing up a revenue engine that will be used for decades including a renewed global salesforce, inside sales expertise, demand generation focus, new global Partners and Alliances program, sales operations team and a heightened focus on connecting lead development to sales outcomes (including a new social marketing program, AR/PR, digital presence, brand identity refresh, SEO/SEM and a regular campaigning process). Combining decades of technology leadership with this commercial success creates an incredible package to unleash revenue and hack growth for companies from any industry out there.

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