Nov 052010
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I’ve been working a lot lately to imagine what Government 2.0 might look like. One of the most inspiring and thought-provoking stories I’ve read recently might not look like a Gov 2.0 story, but it is: Island DIY: Kauai residents don’t wait for state to repair road.

Their livelihood was being threatened, and they were tired of waiting for government help, so business owners and residents on Hawaii’s Kauai island pulled together and completed a $4 million repair job to a state park — for free.

We’ve gotten used to what Frank DiGiammarino of the National Academy of Public Administration recently called “vending machine government” – the idea that we put in our taxes and fees, and get out services: $28 for a driver’s license, $1 million for a mile of interstate highway, $1 Trillion for a war or a financial rescue.

In fact, governments, like corporations, are vehicles for collective action. We pay a government, or a business, because it’s an efficient way to tackle projects that are larger than a single person or group of friends can take on. But let’s not forget that we ourselves are the raw material of collective action.

Traditional communities still remember how to do a barn raising. Those of us who spend our time on the internet celebrate wikipedia, but most of us have forgotten how to do crowdsourcing in the physical world.

The internet provides new vehicles for collective action. A lot of people pay attention when social media is used to organize a protest (as with the recent twitter-fueled protests in Moldova.) But we need to remember that we can organize to do work, as well as to protest!

Read more . . .

  • Island DIY: Kauai residents don’t wait for state to repair road (
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