selise's blog



March 9th, 2009 by selise

Looks like this is going to be Transparency Week at FDL.

Jane says:

Before Congress approves any more funds, the public needs to know where all our money has gone. The government needs to tell us what happened to the AIG money and open the books on its other lending facilities. They need to move swiftly to re-regulate a system whose rules have been written by bank lobbyists for their own benefit, and until they do, there will be no public confidence in our financial system. Restoring that trust is critical in getting our economy back on its feet, and additional funds should be forthcoming until that happens.

We’ll be having guests on FDL to talk about their views on the need for transparency this week.

Hugh says:

Re Bush, Obama, Geithner, Paulson, Bernanke, Kashkari, Kohn, etc., I don’t think transparency means what they think it means.

So, I wonder, what do we mean when we use the term "transparency" — in relation to government, banking or in general how we organize ourselves and work together?

From wikipedia (more at the link):

Transparency, as used in the humanities, when used in a social context, implies openness, communication, and accountability. It is a metaphorical extension of the meaning a "transparent" object is one that can be seen through. Transparent procedures include open meetings, financial disclosure statements, the freedom of information legislation, budgetary review, audits, etc.

Below are some of my thoughts.

Transparency requires:

  • being informed of exactly and in detail what is being done with the money and what we are getting in return – who, what, where, when and how
  • being informed of any known conflicts of interest, biases and even the possible appearance of a conflict of interest
  • the absence of any secret side deals or understandings
  • being informed of all the alternative options that were considered and why they were rejected
  • being informed of how the decisions were made and by whom – including all the people who had any role in the decision making process

Transparency is NOT:

  • substance free happy talk
  • misinformation, spin
  • superficial information that does not get to the heart of what is listed above

What does transparency mean to you?

x-posted at oxdown