In the video below, Prime Minister Cameron talks about the principles that enable open economies and open societies to thrive, including the rule of law, the absence of conflict and corruption, the presence of property rights and strong institutions. He says that the innovative use of web and mobile technologies by government are absolutely vital in developing the transparency and accountability, putting power in the hands of people and enabling them to hold their governments to account. PM Cameron states: “By opening up government, millions have the opportunity to change their lives for the better.”
I like the way that Prime Minister Cameron characterizes this, and his principles to enable open economies and societies to thrive. The current global economic condition was precipitated by corruption which created a failure in the free enterprise, capitalist system. The corruption evident in WorldCom, Enron, Tyco, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac are chains of events that lead to the economic crisis we are still trying to pull out of. How can an open economy thrive when the leaders of our major companies are being convicted of crimes from insider trading to concealing debt to fraud and grand larceny? Many people who understand that the odds are weighted in favor of investors with inside knowledge do not want to invest in our markets. Millions of people have been swindled out of their life savings and jobs.
There are plenty of ethical leaders, companies and governments out there. I don’t want to paint too bleak a picture. But to me transparency, accountability, and governance are the subjects that must be addressed to steward a sustainable global economy in balance with respect for our environment and ensuring segments of our population are not left behind.