The two conversations within the State

“Markets are conversations” point out the authors of the ninety-five conclusions presented by The Cluetrain Manifesto, whose reading I strongly recommend. In the State there are also two conversations which are also carried on: one within the same State and the other one with the citizens.

22 de Diciembre de 2010
Within the public sector, traditional hierarchies are hollowed out by the networks’ rhizomatic essence. He who keeps thinking of a tree-like structure is mistaken. It is not disorder, it is all about complexity. The chart is 'hyperconnected'. The concepts from Professor Landow’s book 'Hypertext 3.0' are also applied to the construction of the vocabulary and agenda of the Public sector. In practical terms, sharing information both vertically and horizontally, even in a national, provincial and local relation, saves time and economizes resources. Therefore, the alignment of organizational structures must respond to the dynamics of results and the institutional engineering must aim towards solutions. A company’s commercial intelligence manager recently told me 'We know more about our clients than they know about themselves and consequently, we can predict their needs and present them an offer on these grounds'. The State must also be a step ahead by anticipating the needs of people by developing services that the citizen will demand. From the standpoint of the conversation with the citizens, Ricardo Lagos, former president of Chile, claims: “A society in which the governing authorities may consult its decisions with the people through Internet” is close to becoming a reality in our countries. Conversing is listening to the other and interchange opinions by using all technological developments available; that is an active listening that allows a deep understanding and returns effective solutions. We have to enter and exit by 'jumping the rope'. We must forget the saying “Let’s play officials. First to move is the loser!”: we hold the duty to work towards an alert State which generates an open and sincere dialogue. Non-state modalities of the “public sphere”, the “civil society” role, the complexation of social relations, the impact of globalization in production and labor, and the digital media in citizen participation go beyond the classical conception of the State and defy us to rethink its responsibilities in the face of the integration into the global system and the internal social coherence, as claimed by Norbert Lechner. New technologies are straightening out the folds of bureaucracy, allowing the number of hidden inefficient representatives and officials to gradually decrease. Citizens connected to the network know more about the State’s services than the State itself; they send each other SMS’s, send their comments to forums, blogs, Facebook, Sonico and/or Twitter. The tools of digital democracy –a concept coined by the political scientist Gianfranco Pasquino– allows 'the opening of doors and a citizen to come in'. For that reason, we must not be afraid of asking questions. The Administration should maintain a realtime dialogue with the State services users and put public policies under permanent debate. Without hesitation, we must make consultations through public opinion studies by taking into account letters and comments from the readers or telephone calls made to radio stations, or by directly contacting their authors in writing, and presently participating in conversations on every social network. In addition, it is believed that the influence of social networks will increase within the media and they will impact on the news, taking part of the agenda-setting process studied by the theory of the public opinion construction. The 'sitting humanity' –a concept developed by the anthropologist David Le Breton– demands standing institutions which encounter the person with certainty and sensitivity, beyond the range of technology. From the political science point of view, it becomes self-evident that the Public sector is regulated by its own logic, but in the presence of modernization it cannot stand still waiting for changes in society; it must get connected there –where voters converse on a regular basis- and seek recognition, since the virtual world is becoming real. Recent international economic crises have shown that the State cannot limit its presence to a subsidiary role. The 'shy State' is now becoming part of the past. By Roberto Reale, Political Scientist. Chairman of Fundación Ciudad Política and Assistant to the Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mr. Daniel Scioli. http://www.ciudadpolitica.com/
By Roberto Reale, Political Scientist. Chairman of Fundación Ciudad Política and Assistant to the Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mr. Daniel Scioli