iGov, Ethan Porter and David Kendall’s latest Democracy brainchild, was featured on the front page of Politico‘s website on March 12. Porter and Kendall’s editorial, “Explaining government’s role,” outlines the argument from their feature essay in our Spring 2012 issue, “Introducing iGov.”
Porter and Kendall argue that our mistrust of—and dread of—interacting with government could be mollified by a system that allows people to see what government actually does for them throughout their lives. This system, called iGov, would take advantage of the power of the Internet and social media to aggregate a wealth of data across agencies and provide a full and accurate picture of government’s role:
We believe that iGov would serve at least two functions. It would make clear the extent to which government plays a foundational role in all our lives. Call this the illustrative function. At the same time, iGov would emphasize that, despite our myriad political divisions, we still have government itself in common. Call this the commonality function. The two functions would work together to identify the stake each of us have in government and its operations…Via technology already widely available, iGov would outline the way in which our overlapping communities sustain the government services that we often take for granted but without which we could not lead our everyday lives.
iGov’s launch comes on the one-year anniversary of the taxpayer receipt, proposed in Democracy’s Spring 2011 issue [“Seeing Where the Money Went”, Issue #20] by the same authors. The taxpayer receipt has since been embraced by politicians from both sides of the aisle, and the Obama Administration has set up a version of it online.