The idea of participating in government, and using technology to help individuals do so, has become a legitimate political reality, especially with younger and tech-savvy citizens. There is a robust and growing civic-hacking movement around the world that channels the creativity and problem-solving skills of civic-minded citizens into addressing the challenges of modern governments.
In this thoughtful examination of our democratic roots, the evolving expectations of our government, and the context of our technologically-rich environment today, author Rick Aitken debunks the idea that everyone hates government. “In reality,” he says, “what they hate are broken promises and unmet needs.”
Aitken points to an abundance of evidence demonstrating that, when given a way to interact directly with government, citizens will take the opportunity to do so again and again, with the only reward being contribution. The internet is the tool that allows for this contribution and, along with the growing pool of global data, it represents an alternative to the impossible task of government doing everything for everybody.
Citizens are ready to help share the workload, says Aitken. “Local government will need to be open to, prepare for, and not be overly cautious of the opportunities that will present themselves. Governments that understand the importance of participation, and that protect the rights of their citizens to do so, can capitalize on these opportunities.”
If local governments can see past the risk and the unknown, and are able to look into the future with clear eyes, they just might be able to see that this is a moment of great potential for their communities. In this book, Aitken shows us the path to this future – and the possibilities that lie ahead.
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