Government under Google

I upset a few — very few — people with my crack at the end of my NY Post op-ed suggesting that the government would be in better shape in the hands of Google than in those of the bureacrats and politicians who run it now.

Well, maybe it’s not so far-fetched.

When Eric Schmidt spoke to the Economic Club of Washington this week, he said:

It is possible to build a culture around innovation. It is possible to build a culture around leadership. And it is possible to build a culture around optimism. Google is an example, but by no means the only example, of a culture that can be built based on relatively scalable principles. We could run our country this way. We could run the world this way….

So let’s be revolutionaries. Let’s take this opportunity, this huge change that is before us, with technlology, and let’s change businesses, communications and the way we interact, on some new principles that reflect the very best of America.

That’s an apt rallying cry for the Personal Democracy Forum in just over a week.

  • Sounds a lot like “change”, which someone told me was just a cynical political word.

  • I’m with Steve Clancy on this one, Jeff. Innovation – Leadership – Optimism. Sounds a lot like the Barack Obama playbook to me. And it’s a good plabyook ;-) Why are you ga-ga for Google, but not Obama???

    And now that Hillary is officially out of this race and is throwing her full support behind Obama, are you getting behind him as well??? I apologize if you already announced it. I may have missed it, but I read your stuff religiously so I’m thinking not …

  • Jeff –

    It’s counter-intuitive, but as a race, humanity’s not ready for a government capable of designing and executing to plan as efficiently as Google is. (Citations should be made here, but I’m ill-connected as I write this …)

    Even with the checks & balances of smart, capable folks in the ranks, the effective execution of plans from Executive Branch to reality would likely be disastrous.

    If Dr. Schmidt, e.g., decided cracking and publishing credit databases was Good for us, under the rubric of “radical transparency,” his dictate would become reality in short order. Bad Things would ensue.

    Until we evolve more fully into a species who accept Do No Evil at their core (i.e. Not Now – mankind is ill-prepared for such powerful efficiencies), we’ll have to be thankful for the ineptitude of the bureaucrats and politicians who run things now.

    “Luckily,” they are quite efficient at blocking Progress, so we’re quite safe for some time …


  • Jonathan B

    My experience of dealing with Google as a business partner is that they are autocratic, inflexible and make decisions without consulting other parties. That is not my idea of a great government.

  • BryanD

    A good friend of mine who knows Chris Gaither told me about this story the other day and I have to admit that of all the cockamamie political clash of ideas going on, this is one of the few that makes sense. Taking a walk down history lane, you will see that Google was started by a group of, for the lack of the better endearment term, college buddies who were strapped for cash and were looking for a quick buck – and they did it from scratch. A little over a decade, ask anyone you meet and i would say almost 100% will know what Google is. As things grow, things change. That is something we must always keep in check (hence Jonathan B’s comment). The land of the free was a great place to live in on the turn of the century. Sure, there were wars and disputes, but compare that to what we have now. For example, Obama vs. McCain – IN MY HONEST OPINION, I will go Obama: not because I want to believe that he will keep all his promises, but because I have gotten sick enough of it all that I have gotten to the point where I am saying “surpise me”. Would we a have a Google-like government with Obama? Would McCain even entertain such a thought? Well, a quarter plus more and we will find out.

  • Steve Clancy: Obama and Schmidt sound alike on “change” since both, one a politician and the other an engineer, are privileged to have the same job: Spend every day making the world a better place — on a grand scale…

    bob wyman

  • Cooler Heads

    Jeff, we have one of the most innovative governments in the world. Find me a political system with more flexibility than ours.

    But governments cannot simply innovate and leave some customers aside. It should serve all to some extent, or at least most. Of all the people in the nation, how many does Google actually serve well? All? Some? Those wealthy enough to cable modems and computers?

    Your idea that there’s a new world now because of innovation in communication, that leads to networks and more, is a good one. It makes sense and has promise. But you keep pissing it away with these dopey one-liners. It’s like you’re stuck in TV Guide headline hell, making important notions catchy while kind of losing sight of the gravitas of the whole thing.

    yeah, I know. Gravitas doesn’t sell papers.

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  • SteveA

    Dubai, Doha, Singapore and certain places in China are demonstrating that government based innovation and development programs are very effective.

  • Gov’t is force, based on violence. While forcing those who disagree to act against their wills IS VERY EFFECTIVE, history shows that such force is seldom purely benign.

    The obvious tragedy is that, while the US people have gotten richer and, in theory, more “enabled”, they have demanded more “free lunches” from the gov’t. Using Other People’s Money counts as free to them.

    In the program, there’s probably too much on fund raising thru the internet, and not enough on transparancy, open access to gov’t contracts, gov’t laws, gov’t policies, gov’t opening hours.

    A big “direct democracy” project would be this: as you fill out your 1040, you also fill out a one page budget allocation — where do you want your tax dollars to go, among the various gov’t departments. Letting taxpayers decide on more allocation would reduce the power of the politicians, as well as corruption.

  • Google is US government run,veiled by the CAPITALIST ideals,funded by the street-so the rights we are giving away are voluntary
    ,such as