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Mar 15

Are Government Agencies About To Undergo Rapid Evolution?

I recently read an intriguing article in the March 2015 issue of Scientific American. According to Dr. Dennett and Dr. Roy, the increasing amount of transparency will force organizations to undergo a rapid evolution much like the Cambrian Explosion did for Earth’s biological life. Like the Cambrian lifeforms, organizations will develop ways to protect against increasing information transparency. The authors also predict the increasing speciation of organizations.

“Most sheltered from immediate evolutionary pressures are systems of government. . . . State machinery faces little competitive pressure and is thus slowest to evolve. Even here we should anticipate a significant change because the power of individuals and outsiders to watch organizations will only increase.”

This reminds me of the arguments that John Keane makes in establishing his theory of monitory democracy. The difference seems to be that Dr. Keane believes that the evolution of democratic governments will more rapid due to the increasing transparency. Whether Dr. Dennet and Dr. Roy or Dr. Keane are correct in the evolutionary speed, it does seem apparent that government agencies will evolve new forms as other organizations in society begin rapid evolution.

I am also currently making my way through Creating a Learning Society by Joseph E. Stiglitz and Bruce C. Greenwald. It reminds me of Beinhocker’s Origin of Wealth and his arguments that knowledge is the core of the economy. In Stiglitz and Greenwald’s book, they make the case that increasing learning is the best way to increase economic growth. According to Stiglitz and Greenwald, the role of government is to increase the effects of learning for economic organizations. This is complementary to Mariana Mazzucato’s arguments in her book, The Entrepreneurial State.

Some fascinating intersections of ideas on the role of the state.

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