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jerryking : government   49

After the SNC-Lavalin affair, we must strip the influence of political staffers - The Globe and Mail
Omer Aziz was a policy adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

From the outside, our government is a democracy with duly elected parliamentarians. From the inside, it can feel like an autocracy, with power concentrated in very few hands. There is a single node of power and all the channels run through it. That’s why the Prime Minister’s Office is colloquially referred to as “the Centre.”....At Global Affairs Canada, political staffers meet regularly with stakeholders, including human-rights groups, corporate representatives and anyone else who might be affected by our policies, and signals regularly came from above on how to manoeuvre on a certain file. If a message comes from “the Centre” to your office, you can bet that everyone will drop everything and make sure they are meeting expectations. Refuse, and well – these people hold your future in their hands.

It would be no stretch to say that most of the important decisions made by the Canadian government are made by only a handful of people. This has led to preventable errors and bad policy outcomes such as Justin Trudeau’s India trip or the SNC-Lavalin affair. As with too much accumulated wealth, too much accumulated power is ultimately bad for democracy.

There are more than 600 political staffers in Ottawa. These jobs are not publicly advertised and are notoriously difficult to come by if you’re not already well-connected. It’s no wonder that diversity is such a problem in government – and this includes viewpoint diversity as much as ethnic and racial diversity.

Pull back the curtain and it turns out the people in the backrooms mostly resemble one another. Within the political staff itself, there exists a hierarchy, with senior staffers in the Prime Minister’s Office at the top. This is where the real decisions are made.

We need to seriously scale back the influence of political staffers and legislate what the parameters of their jobs really are......The biggest problem with concentrating political power is that it leads to hubris and arrogance, and eventually to critical errors. It leads people to believe that they can overstep boundaries in the name of the Boss.

Absolute power not only corrupts, it is fundamentally corrupting to the entire operation. This is not how a parliamentary system of government is supposed to work. These people are not the mafia. The government does not belong to them.

We could cut the number of staffers in half and Ottawa would run better than it does now. There should also be a formal, publicly acknowledged policy process so Canadians can trust that the system of democracy is working from within and decisions that might shape the future of the country for decades are not being made by a cloistered elite.
centralization  Ottawa  PMO  political_power  SNC-Lavalin  politicians  political_staffers  Canada  Canadian  government  institutions  partisanship  GoC 
february 2019 by jerryking
Why boring government matters
November 1, 2018 | | Financial Times | Brooke Masters.

The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, by Michael Lewis, Allen Lane, RRP£20, 219 pages.

John MacWilliams is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker who becomes the risk manager for the department of energy. He regales Lewis with a horrific catalogue of all the things that can go wrong if a government takes its eye off the ball, and provides the book with its title. Asked to name the five things that worry him the most, he lists the usual risks that one would expect — accidents, the North Koreans, Iran — but adds that the “fifth risk” is “project management”.

Lewis explains that “this is the risk society runs when it falls into the habit of responding to long-term risks with short-term solutions.” In other words, America will suffer if it stops caring about the unsung but vital programmes that decontaminate billions of tonnes of nuclear waste, fund basic scientific research and gather weather data.

That trap, he makes clear with instance after instance of the Trump administration failing to heed or even meet with his heroic bureaucrats, is what America is falling into now.

We should all be frightened.
books  book_reviews  boring  bureaucracy  bureaucrats  cynicism  government  Michael_Lewis  public_servants  risks  technocrats  unglamorous  writers  short-term_thinking  competence  sovereign-risk  civics  risk-management 
november 2018 by jerryking
Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove - The New York Times
Andrew Ross Sorkin
DEALBOOK APRIL 17, 2017
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Steve_Ballmer  government  Andrew_Sorkin  databases  data  measurements  economics  indicators  real-time  forecasting  economic_data 
april 2017 by jerryking
Trump offering a timely cautionary tale on trying to run government as a business
Mar. 31, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | ADAM RADWANSKI.

.The enduring appeal of this hoariest of political clichés – some variation of making government run more like a business – is such that it surely seemed to Mr. Trump’s admirers like confirmation of the real-world expertise he seduced them with on the campaign trail....Mr. Trump is already providing cautionary tales. A management style that encourages factions in his employ to compete against each other for his attention is a proven recipe for chaos in government. His blustery approach to negotiations has yet to show many signs of working with foreign leaders. Most consequentially, so far, a lack of attention to detail, which could be overcome when delegating to underlings at his companies, proved devastating in the first legislative test of his administration – the President unable to sell fellow Republicans on his health-care plan, in part because he did not know details about the bill.......The more time one spends in or around governments, the more obvious it is why attempts to bring a Wall Street or Bay Street mentality to them can end badly.

Ethical scrutiny, for all that entrepreneurs-turned-politicians paint capital cities as swamps, is greater than in the corporate world. And because governments get more attention for failures than quiet successes, tolerance for risk is often lower.

Healthy tension with career civil servants can turn unhealthy if politicians and their staffs do not make honest efforts to understand and engage bureaucrats. And the overarching reality is that, in government, goals and outcomes are more complex, abstract and intuitive than when they can be measured by profit margins.

Business titans can triumph in politics – a Michael Bloomberg in New York, a Danny Williams in Newfoundland. And public-sector culture is often stagnant, and benefits from outside eyes. But the disruptors’ success usually involves a willingness to admit (privately) what they do not know about government, and trust people who understand it better.
Donald_Trump  delusions  business_interests  national_interests  humility  clichés  political_clichés  bureaucrats  government  business  public_sector  pro-business  cautionary_tales 
april 2017 by jerryking
In business and government, think differently - The Globe and Mail
MICHAEL SABIA
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, May. 16 2015

here’s the paradox. At a time when creativity is relentlessly driving change in so much of our world, many would limit governments to managing their way through, rather than working with others to solve problems.

It started in the 1980s and ’90s, when we decided governments needed to become “more like businesses,” adopting the metrics – and vocabulary – of corporations. Citizens became “clients.” Compliance replaced creativity.

The job of government was defined in terms of its “efficiency,” and the emphasis was placed on the minimal “must do” instead of the aspirational “can be.”

Of course, governments have to demonstrate good stewardship of public resources. But if all they do is count change, it limits their ability to effect change. The fact is when big problems arise – whether it’s a financial crisis like 2008 or a tragedy like Lac-Mégantic – people’s first instinct is to look to government for a solution.

Yet opinion researchers tell us that people are increasingly disappointed with our collective response to the issues that matter most: income inequality, health care for the elderly, climate change and so on....It’s about different government. This is about government moving away from a manager’s obsession with doing things better to a leader’s focus on doing better things. Think of fostering innovation, being open to new ideas, encouraging experimentation, rewarding risk-taking. And, frankly, accepting failure as a condition precedent to success.
Michael_Sabia  CDPQ  thinking  CEOs  innovation  leadership  experimentation  risk-taking  failure  trial_&_error  government  public_sector  open_source  disappointment  business  stewardship  compliance  replaced  creativity  efficiencies  effectiveness  think_differently 
may 2015 by jerryking
Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper and how our elected leaders meddle with the media - The Globe and Mail
CHRIS HANNAY
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jan. 30 2015

Title Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Your Right to Know
Author Mark Bourrie
Genre Non-Fiction
Publisher Patrick Crean Editions
Pages 386
Price $32.99
Year 2014
PMO  Stephen_Harper  centralization  government  propoganda  books 
february 2015 by jerryking
Why competent city government matters - The Globe and Mail
JEFFREY SIMPSON
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Oct. 29 2014

Everywhere, “densification” of downtowns is the order of the day, which makes eminent sense, provided the increasing density is done properly from planning, lifestyle, transportation, and carbon emissions reductions perspectives (which hasn’t been the case in central Toronto’s condo-land, as one example).

Cities are on the front line of many issues that transcend their boundaries, climate change being one. Municipal governments have a host of powers – garbage, building codes, development, transit – that directly affect carbon emissions. What they do, or don’t, is consequential for the country’s overall record.

Similarly, how cities integrate newcomers to Canada affects the entire country’s civic life and economic prospects. Thus far, the melding of so many immigrants into the Canadian mainstream has been one of the country’s most significant accomplishments. It happens, overwhelmingly, in neighbourhoods, schools and other urban public places.
cities  mayoral  densification  Toronto  government  Jeffrey_Simpson  urban  urban_intensification  arrival_cities  neighbourhoods  competence  Michael_Thompson  social_integration 
october 2014 by jerryking
Sponsor Generated Content: 4 Industries Most in Need of Data Scientists
June 16, 2014 12:00 am ET
4 Industries Most in Need of Data Scientists
NARRATIVESby WSJ. Custom Studios for SAS

Agriculture
Relying on sensors in farm machinery, in soil and on planes flown over fields, precision agriculture is an emerging practice in which growing crops is directed by data covering everything from soil conditions to weather patterns to commodity pricing. “Precision agriculture helps you optimize yield and avoid major mistakes,” says Daniel Castro, director of the Center for Data Innovation, a think tank in Washington, D.C. For example, farmers traditionally have planted a crop, then applied fertilizer uniformly across entire fields. Data models allow them to instead customize the spread of fertilizer, seed, water and pesticide across different areas of their farms—even if the land rolls on for 50,000 acres.

Finance
Big data promises to discover better models to gauge risk, which could minimize the likelihood of scenarios such as the subprime mortgage meltdown. Data scientists, though, also are charged with many less obvious tasks in the financial industry, says Bill Rand, director of the Center for Complexity in Business at the University of Maryland. He points to one experiment that analyzed keywords in financial documents to identify competitors in different niches, helping pinpoint investment opportunities.

Government
Government organizations have huge stockpiles of data that can be applied against all sorts of problems, from food safety to terrorism. Joshua Sullivan, a data scientist who led the development of Booz Allen Hamilton’s The Field Guide to Data Science, cites one surprising use of analytics concerning government subsidies. “They created an amazing visualization that helped you see the disconnect between the locations of food distribution sites and the populations they served,” Sullivan says. “That's the type of thing that isn't easy to see in a pile of static reports; you need the imagination of a data scientist to depict the story in the data.”

Pharma
Developing a new drug can take more than a decade and cost billions. Data tools can help take some of the sting out, pinpointing the best drug candidates by scanning across pools of information, such as marketing data and adverse patient reactions. “We can model data and prioritize which experiments we take [forward],” Sullivan says. “Big data can help sort out the most promising drugs even before you do experiments on mice. Just three years ago that would have been impossible. But that's what data scientists do—they tee up the right question to ask.”
drug_development  precision_agriculture  farming  data_scientists  agriculture  massive_data_sets  data  finance  government  pharmaceutical_industry  product_development  non-obvious  storytelling  data_journalism  stockpiles 
june 2014 by jerryking
Andreessen Horowitz Bets on a Government Software Start-Up - NYTimes.com
By WILLIAM ALDEN MAY 15, 2014

OpenGov, a start-up that sells software to help local governments manage data, announced on Thursday that it had received a roughly $15 million financing round led by Andreessen Horowitz. It is the first time that Andreessen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s leading investment shops, has backed a company in the business of “govtech,” to use the industry parlance.

Local governments have suffered in the aftermath of the financial crisis, with many forced to lay off workers and cut back on services. But Andreessen Horowitz sees an opportunity in that market.

Government software is “kind of old,” Balaji Srinivasan, a partner at the venture capital firm, said. “So we think we can do a lot there.”
Andreessen_Horowitz  open_data  start_ups  government  OpenGov  government_2.0  gov_2.0 
june 2014 by jerryking
Privy Council Office (Canada)
The Privy Council Office's role is different from that of the Prime Minister's Office, which is a personal and partisan office. It is understood that the Prime Minister should not receive advice from only one institutionalized source. To that end, the PCO serves as the policy-oriented but politically-sensitive advisory unit to the Prime Minister, while the PMO is politically-oriented but policy-sensitive.
wikipedia  Canada  Canadian  GoC  government  PCO  PMO 
may 2014 by jerryking
Federal government cloud adoption will triple by 2013, report says
By Jon Brodkin, Network World
April 30, 2009

The INPUT report divides cloud computing into three general areas: Web-based applications (software-as-a-service), storage and computing (infrastructure-as-a-service), and application development (platform-as-a-service).

Software-as-a-service is driving adoption of cloud computing within government agencies. For example, state and local government spending on software-as-a-service will grow from $170 million in 2008 to $635 million in 2013, according to INPUT.

It’s already common for government to use cloud-based e-mail, payroll, Web conferencing and sales applications, Peterson say
SaaS  cloud_computing  spending  local  government 
may 2012 by jerryking
Charles Schwab: Every Job Requires an Entrepreneur - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 28, 2011 | WSJ | By CHARLES R. SCHWAB. Every Job Requires an Entrepreneur
Someone took risks to start every business—whether Ford, Google or your local dry cleaner.

What's the potential power of the entrepreneur's simple leap of faith? The success of a single business has a significant payoff for the economy. Looking back over the 25 years since our company went public, Schwab has collectively generated $68 billion in revenue and $11 billion in earnings. We've paid $28 billion in compensation and benefits, created more than 50,000 jobs, and paid more than $6 billion in aggregate taxes. In addition to the current value of our company, we've returned billions of dollars in the form of dividends and stock buybacks to shareholders, including unions, pension funds and mom-and-pop investors.

The wealth created for our shareholders—a great many of them average Schwab employees—has been used to reinvest in existing and new businesses and has funded a myriad of philanthropic activities. We've also spent billions buying services and products from other companies in a diverse set of industries, from technology to communications to real estate to professional services, thereby helping our suppliers create businesses and jobs.
entrepreneurship  risk-taking  editorials  entrepreneur  government  policy  regulation  job_creation  Charles_Schwab  large_payoffs  mom-and-pop  leaps_of_faith  wealth_creation 
september 2011 by jerryking
9/11 and the age of sovereign failure -
Sep. 10, 2011 | The Globe & Mail | Michael Ignatieff.. One
of the tasks we ask govt. to perform is to think the unthinkable. Yet on
9/11, govt. institutions failed...A sovereign is a state with a
monopoly on the means of force...It is there to think the unthinkable
and plan for it. A sovereign failed that morning.... There has been a
cascade of failure: (1) No WMDs found in Iraq; (2) The failure of the
levees & New Orleans civil authority following Hurricane Katrina;
(3) the 2008 mortgage bubble and govt. regulators; (4) the failure of
govt. regulators to catch BP before the Spring 2010 oil spill. ...While
there are a lot of things a govt. might do, there are a few things that
only a govt. can do: protect the people, rescue them when they are in
danger, regulate against catastrophic risk and safeguard the full faith
and credit of their currency. Sovereigns matter. And rebuilding their
legitimacy, their capacity and their competence is the political task
that matters most......It is always good to be skeptical about what governments tell us. But we are beyond skepticism now, into a deep and enduring cynicism. There will come a day when they are not crying wolf and we will not believe them. Then we will be in trouble. Some trust in government is a condition of democracy and security alike. That trust has been weakened and can't be rebuilt until sovereigns say what they mean, mean what they say and do what they promise.
cynicism  Michael_Ignatieff  failure  government  9/11  low_probability  catastrophic_risk  priorities  unthinkable  sovereign-risk  legitimacy  capacity  competence  skepticism  oil_spills  policymaking 
september 2011 by jerryking
Unboxed - Governments Embracing a Role in Innovation - NYTimes.com
June 20, 2009 | NYT | By STEVE LOHR. Innovation policy, to
be sure, is an emerging discipline, lacking crisp definitions or
metrics. What is the appropriate government role in creating industries
and jobs in today’s high-technology, global economy?...John Kao, a
former professor at HBS and founder of the Institute for Large Scale
Innovation....innovation policy is an attempt to bring some coordination
to often disparate government initiatives in scientific research,
education, business incentives, immigration and even intellectual
property....governments are increasingly wading into the innovation
game, declaring innovation agendas and appointing senior innovation
officials. The impetus comes from two fronts: daunting challenges in
fields like energy, the environment and health care that require
collaboration between the public and private sectors; and shortcomings
of traditional economic development and industrial policies.
innovation  large_companies  Finland  government  John_Kao  industrial_policies  shortcomings  scaling  policy  state-as-facilitator  global_economy  policymaking  innovation_policies 
december 2010 by jerryking
There is an entrenched culture of mediocrity in government and the private sector
Nov. 4, 2010 | Stabroek News | Sherwood Lowe.

an entrenched culture of mediocrity in government and the private sector. Guyana does not have a performance-oriented or results-driven society and economy.....
mediocrity  Guyana  private_sector  government  organizational_culture  performance 
november 2010 by jerryking
Who Creates the Wealth in Society? - NYTimes.com
May 21, 2010 | New York Times | By UWE E. REINHARDT. From the
comments "Wealth creation requires a set of legal principles and a legal
framework that protect individuals and their property rights. The "who"
is this respect is well-functioning, independent and non-courrupt
judicial system that is able to enforce such rights. This is where
government plays its most significant and valid role; however, in terms
of the size of government in the economy it is hardly
measurable."..."Here, I think he has overlooked the most simple and
fundamental truth about the creation of individual or societal wealth:

Real wealth is created by individuals and societies who are willing to
postpone immediate gratification for longer-term benefit. If everything
produced is immediately consumed, no net wealth is created. If, instead,
more is produced than consumed, not only is wealth created, but so is
the capital needed for future wealth appreciation."
value_creation  wealth_creation  government  delayed_gratification  rule_of_law  justice_system  infrastructure  legal_system  property_rights  institutional_integrity  long-term  instant_gratification  capital_formation  capital_accumulation  indepedent_judiciary 
september 2010 by jerryking
The PNM-Wikistrat connection
June 22, 2010 | Globlogization | Thomas P.M. Barnett. Four
20-something entrepreneurs have created a start-up (incorporated 6 mths.
ago) that seeks to adapt the Wiki platform to a
competition-of-the-fittest-style generator of strategic planning within
organizations (companies, government agencies, etc.)...Strategic
consulting in the private sector requires--more than ever--some
connectivity to solution-delivery, meaning almost nobody is paying the
old top-dollar for PPT slide decks and reorg charts--only. Instead,
companies want your interaction to come with some technology solution
that simultaneously empowers them to deal with the issue in question.
Advice just isn't enough anymore.

Govts. as a whole struggle with these problems, and are always looking
for new tools to empower individual workers while connecting them to the
wisdom of crowds, whether it be fellow bureaucrats (where a tremendous
amount of wisdom truly resides) or with the citizenry (their natural
counterparty).
wikis  Thomas_Barnett  management_consulting  start_ups  Israel  Israeli  solutions  advice  counterparties  empowerment  government  tools  bureaucrats  wisdom_of_crowds  citizenry 
june 2010 by jerryking
Gulf Oil Spill's Fallout Widens Debate on Government's Proper Role - WSJ.com
MAY 28, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By GERALD F. SEIB. New
Rules in an Old Tug-of-War. A presidential commission soon will put
the relationship (govt.-offshore oil industry) in therapy. The risk is
that the wrong question may dominate the coming discussion—namely,
whether there was too little regulation of the offshore oil industry.
The better question is less about quantity than quality: Were
regulations smart and up to date? They almost certainly weren't. ...The
broader point is that the BP oil spill is just the latest in a series of
traumatic events forcing a rethink of government's relationship with
business. Bank bailouts, energy plans, auto-maker rescues, Toyota
accelerator problems: All have forced both politicians and average
Americans to rethink the proper role of government in the private
economy.
bailouts  Gerald_Seib  government  private_sector  BP  oil_spills  regulation  event-driven  events  regulators  business-government_relations  politicians  offshore  offshore_drilling  questions 
may 2010 by jerryking
Innovation guru urges Ottawa on
Mar 29, 2004 | The Globe and Mail | by Simon Tuck.
Clayton Christensen, an innovation guru who teaches business
administration at Harvard University, told government officials that new
technologies and an open mind to the delivery of services can -- and
probably will -- help Canada reconcile its dilemma of escalating public
sector costs, combined with a determination to maintain services. too
many companies view their competitors as the other key players in their
sectors, instead of other products that compete to do the same job for
the customer. Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry, for example, may
compete more for the business traveller's spare time with newspapers,
magazines, and CNN's airport news than with other handheld device makers
such as Palm Inc. Poor market research contributes heavily to the fact
that about 75 per cent of new products fail, he said.
Clayton_Christensen  disruption  innovation  GoC  Canadian  government  market_research  ProQuest  Ottawa  open_mind  gurus 
january 2010 by jerryking
National Affairs
The magazine, focuses on the bloody crossroads where social
science and public policy meet matters of morality, culture and virtue.
Recommended by NYT columnist David Brooks.
public_policy  government  popular_culture  economics  politicaleconomy  David_Brooks 
october 2009 by jerryking
Small Business: Three Best Ways to Win a Government Contract - WSJ.com
OCTOBER 15, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by RAYMUND FLANDEZ.
1. Do your homework. 2. Work with others who have experience. 3. Use
other resources to your advantage.
small_business  contractor  contracting  government  Raymund_Flandez 
october 2009 by jerryking
The Quiet Coup
May 2009 |The Atlantic Online | | Simon Johnson
economics  economic_downturn  crisis  IMF  government  U.S. 
july 2009 by jerryking
Unboxed - Governments Embracing a Role in Innovation - NYTimes.com
June 20, 2009 | New York Times | By STEVE LOHR. The rising
worldwide interest in innovation policy represents the search to answer
an important question: What is the appropriate government role in
creating industries and jobs in today’s high-technology, global economy?
San_Antonio  innovation  government  start_ups  Steve_Lohr  PPP  economic_development  industrial_policies  innovation_policies  global_economy  policymaking 
june 2009 by jerryking
Mutual funds that invest in private equity? An analysis of labour-sponsored investment funds.
2007 | Cambridge Journal of Economics, 31(3), 445-487 | by
Douglas J Cumming, Jeffrey G MacIntosh. (2007) and retrieved June 11,
2009, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 1317516691).
government  Ontario  venture_capital  private_equity  ProQuest 
june 2009 by jerryking
reportonbusiness.com: Why can't India do better? A technology entrepreneur blames the state
May 13, 2009 | Globe & Mail | MARCUS GEE. Reviews Nandan
Nilekani's (of Infosys Technologies Ltd. INFY-Q) Imagining India: The
Idea of a Nation Renewed. In it, Nilekani applies his technocrat's brain
to the muddle that is India. The result is an intelligent, common-sense
analysis of India's problems that should be on the bedside table of
anyone who thinks about India - not to mention those who run it.
book_reviews  India  Infosys  government 
may 2009 by jerryking
WSJ Magazine » Print » Desirée Rogers’ Brand Obama
Desirée Rogers’ Brand Obama

Posted By admin On April 30, 2009 @ 10:00 am In The Big Interview
Obama  women  government  marketing  media 
may 2009 by jerryking
Government by Contractor Is a Disgrace - WSJ.com
Nov. 26, 2008 WSJ column by Thomas Frank on the underlying
ideology and results from nearly 3 decades of believing government is
inherently efficient and that outsourcing to the private sector is
automatically the answer.
Outsourcing  government  Thomas_Frank  contractor  accountability 
february 2009 by jerryking

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