Should We Crowdsource Some Government Services?

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With cities across the countries deep in debt, it's time to use technology to shift some of the government's burden onto the shoulders of communities, argues Clay Johnson, the head programmer for Howard Dean's presidential campaign.

Startups like SeeClickFix let citizens alert the government to problems in their neighborhoods, stressing cash-strapped municipalities. Instead, communities should leverage their own manpower to solve their problems.

As a developer I think technology can play a role in this. I think things like the Neighborhood Watch can be revitalized with new technology. When my alarm system goes off, why does it not send an SMS to my neighbors? Why shouldn't it turn on the flood lights of everyone in the neighborhood? Next to its "I want this fixed too" button, SeeClickFix should have an "I'll help fix this, too" button. It could even keep track of how many people helped their neighborhood. Let's have a ranking of who most helpful neighbors are. And heck, government should reward them with tax incentives.

Read the full story at InfoVegan.

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Niraj Chokshi is a former staff editor at TheAtlantic.com, where he wrote about technology. He is currently freelancing and can be reached through his personal website, NirajC.com. More

Niraj previously reported on the business of the nation's largest law firms for The Recorder, a San Francisco legal newspaper. He has also been published in The Hartford Courant, The Seattle Times and The Age, in Melbourne, Australia. He's also a longtime programmer and sometimes website designer.
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