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Michigan Governor Wants 'Open Source' Economic Model

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the for-some-values-of-open-source dept.

Open Source 237

An anonymous reader writes "Incoming Michigan governor Rick Synder spoke in Kalamazoo, MI today and says he wants to use an 'open-source economic development model' to help repair the battered down state. Perhaps during his time as president of Gateway he saw a benefit to the open source model, but can it really be successfully applied as an economic model?"

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237 comments

The Real Title: Kalamazoo (1, Informative)

dch24 (904899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943104)

I know editors don't actually Read the Fine Article, but this one is about Kalamazoo. Only later does he mention "Open Source".

Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943160)

I thought Kamalozoo was a fictional danish word invented by Norwegians?

Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943576)

I was born in Kalamazoo.

Used to have a t-shirt that said, "Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo."

And I don't know about Danes or Norwegians, but that's Dutch country down there in South-West Michigan.

Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943602)

I thought the cat was named Kalamazoo...

Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (0)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943732)

It might have been, but no one could determine if it was alive or dead.

Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (1)

Wansu (846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944290)

The Gibson guitar plant used to be there. There was also a company that made band saws for cutting metal parts.

Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943976)

Unfunny truthy note: It's an indian word meaning "boiling water"

Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943182)

They plan to look at the way each region of the state does things, and implement the best plans. Kalamazoo happens to be one place that the governor feels is doing things right, and should serve as a template for other areas. But you are correct in that this is not really about "open source" government at all, which would allow anyone to contribute. This is about taking the best policies and procedures already out there, and using them in places that are not yet doing so.

Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943216)

"Open source" is a buzzword that has nothing to do with allowing anyone to contribute; you can vehemently protect your code base, and someone else can copy it and take it somewhere else and do their own thing while not fucking with you. "Open source" also applies to programs with source code, or perhaps architecture and engineering and CGI (source blueprints, source CAD, source animation files, etc); this is just an "open system with transparency."

Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943626)

And in the intelligence community, "open source" means a publicly available source of information.

Since it's almost a requirement that you're an addle minded bozo to be accepted in politics, it's could be he has a number of meanings of the term wrapped up together.

Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (1)

Libertarian001 (453712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943378)

...But you are correct in that this is not really about "open source" government at all, which would allow anyone to contribute...

Isn't that democracy?

(or do you really want to debate it and get into the finer points of a representative republic?)

Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944338)

Haha, I'm not one of those folks who prattle on about "It's not a democracy, it's a republic!" Yeah, uh, the states are democracies that democratically elect representatives to join the governing bodies of the republic.

Unfortunately, we do not allow just anyone to contribute. Try writing a bill and getting it before congress. But that really wasn't what I was talking about, most of government is not decided on by votes of any sort, it is set as policy. I think this story is more about governmental operational procedures, which are decided by department heads, who all tend to protect "their" little fiefdoms and would never dream of doing something someone else in another department did.

Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943648)

Kalamazoo happens to be one place that the governor feels is doing things right

Two things:

  • Free college for anyone who attends Kalamazoo Public Schools (https://www.kalamazoopromise.com/)
  • LGBT equality (http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2009/07/kalamazoo-mi-unanimously-passes-glbt.html)

Mr. Snyder must be referring to something else that Kalamazoo is doing right since unless hell froze over, there's no way a Republican would ever consider free anything or LGBT anything.

What he means (5, Funny)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943106)

Maybe what he means by "open source" economic model is that he wants state workers to work for free.

Re:What he means (4, Informative)

dch24 (904899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943128)

From the article:

Snyder mentioned a concept called "open-source economic development." He said the state is going to look at every region and see which area is the best at a certain practice and ask if the community is willing to share it with the rest of the state.

Applying best practices around the state is not about getting credit but rather uplifting the state for all, Snyder said.

Re:What he means (1)

quickgold192 (1014925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943736)

Snyder mentioned a concept called "open-source economic development." He said the state is going to look at every region and see which area is the best at a certain practice and ask if the community is willing to share it with the rest of the motherland. Applying best practices around the motherland is not about getting credit but rather uplifting the motherland for all, Snyder said.

In all seriousness, though, the "open source development model" (not necessarily a Mozilla Foundation version of that, but rather a GIMP version) is a viable economic model, one that is called communism (Think early-Christian communism, not soviet communism.) And everyone here will tell you that it'll work on paper until you account for human nature. Will communities be willing to share their abilities with the rest of the state simply because they're part of a family? Unlikely, since Michigan is a state, not a family.

Re:What he means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34944300)

Nah, I don't think it even works on paper, except in the most simplistic sense.

Re:What he means (2, Funny)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943146)

Maybe what he means by "open source" economic model is that he wants state workers to work for free.

Time for them for fork and start their own state.

Re:What he means (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943290)

I've already moved to Gnulamazoo, those KDE fags can keep their crappy city. Yea sure, our infrastructure is half finished, no one's ever bothered to draw a map and all the buildings look like someone smeared shit all over them, wait, where was I going with this again?

Re:What he means (3, Funny)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943252)

Or give the cars away for free but charge for service :)

Re:What he means (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943406)

If all the software is free, then what is the point of money? It sounds like a communist principle got used... "From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs"

'm not sure he is really advocating the (peaceful) Anarchist economic model either however. People do what they enjoy (some people enjoy working on Linux and giving it away), and only work when they feel like it. It is an interesting concept if we are modernized and automated enough to pull it off across most of the economy. All mail will be e-mail, harvestors will use GPS to collect crops, sensors will process them, trucks will be automated to take the food to the store...

It works on an individual level, I'm not sure it would scale up without some problems. Once AI, robotics, and machinery progress, humans might be obsolete and too expensive. And if there is renewable power that doesn't have incremental costs... it might be feasible for for future generations to live lives where they don't have to work at a job. People will learn about what interests them, people will help others and work on improving their lives.

It sounds like a better business model for Haiti and other poor 3rd world countries. And the government/corporations won't have very much power at all in this system. Only to prevent others from hurting people.

I don't think Michigan is there yet...

Re:What he means (3, Informative)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943440)

I've mentioned this before
http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1377061&cid=29499823 [slashdot.org]

But I've seen the phrase "open source" used all over the place by non-tech people
Particularly when they want to express the idea of a transparent process, one that's open (to debate and democratic reform)

I was hoping for an "open government" model (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943456)

The taxpayers might be able to help out if they can see exactly where their money is being pissed away.

Re:I was hoping for an "open government" model (1)

dorre (1731288) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943662)

A system like this basically opens up a lot of interfaces to share information with. Which sounds good. The shit part is that it takes up a shitload of resources to do this. The guys who are supposed to do something instead ends up reading and writing responses to a lot of shitty ideas without any real insight into the problems.

He's actually repackaging "republican" ideas (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943756)

He is just dropping buzzwords:

"Snyder mentioned a concept called "open-source economic development." He said the state is going to look at every region and see which area is the best at a certain practice and ask if the community is willing to share it with the rest of the state."

More accurately he is just repackaging *traditional* republican arguments (which may or may not resemble some contemporary republicans). Basically the idea is that rather than have some central authority decide upon a solution let lower level authorities address the issue so that we essentially have multiple experiments running in parallel to see what approaches work best. Some republicans and libertarians will further argue that such local approaches also leverage the fact that one problem may have multiple causes and one cause may dominate in one area while a different cause dominates a different area, leading to larger scale one-size-fits-all approaches often favored by central authorities being less efficient.

Let conservatives call this one thing and let liberals call this something else, whatever its called maybe we'll get more effective government if the idea is actually put into practice.

no. you dont get shit (-1, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943792)

asking whether a local community is willing to share something with the rest of the state is nowhere near anything republican.

in republican, which is just another term for ayn randian, everything is left to the private parties to decide. the strongest private party decides everything in proportion to its economic power, and this is considered something good. there is no 'sharing' in that, and there is no regulatory authority involved in that. that is nowhere near what he describes.

please dont sell shit on /.

Re:no. you dont get shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34944278)

asking whether a local community is willing to share something with the rest of the state is nowhere near anything republican.

Communities, both republican and democrat, have shared ideas, plans and processes with others for quite a long time. It makes the local politicians look like leaders beyond their current jurisdiction, perhaps preparing them for higher office.

There is often no option but to share, many budgets and plans are subject to review in a public forum. It is somewhat FOSS'ish in that you can see the "source".

Re:no. you dont get shit (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944352)

you should reread the parent you replied to. there is no relevance in between the two. in republican (ayn rand) mindset, everything is left to private parties, then the strongest of which decide what happens. the decisionmaker here, is not the strongest private party, in this model.

It's already "open source" (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943150)

The problem is the open source license being used. Lots of government bodies use a license similar to the BSD license where "taking without giving back" is perfectly acceptable which is what big business does most of the time.

Re:It's already "open source" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34944122)

The problem is the open source license being used. Lots of government bodies use a license similar to the BSD license where "taking without giving back" is perfectly acceptable which is what big business does most of the time.

Umm, states and localities aren't going broke because of big business, they're going broke because of overly generous benefits and pension plans given to unionized public employees. Why should public employees get to retire at 75% of their pay - fully inflation-adjusted for life, and with full paid-for-by-the-goverment medical coverage after only 20 years on the job?

Given the retirement and benefits available to taxpayers, why the hell should public employees get so much better benefits and retirement plans? To make up for the higher pay and better job security that government workers now get when compared to non-government workers?

That's why states like California and Illinois can't pay their bills.

And when put into the context of what non-government worker get, doesn't the benefits, pay, and retirement plans of public employees better fit your "taking without giving back" meme much better than amorphous "big business"?

So sorry to fuck up your puerile and off-topic bash of "big business". Did you learn how to do that in the decade you spent in elementary school?

Define "Open Source" (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943152)

Here's the pertinent part of the article:

He said the state is going to look at every region and see which area is the best at a certain practice and ask if the community is willing to share it with the rest of the state... He said he's going to give Michiganders a sense of how the state's doing on myriad metrics annually. He also said wants to give residents a road map of where the state is going, by planning a two-year budget and creating an online "dashboard" that tracks the government's progress on different issues.

Now, we can have a lot of pointless dickering about whether the term "Open Source" is being abused. But more importantly, those ideas in themselves sound fine to me. I doubt they'll be enough to solve Michigan's huge problems, but that's another matter.

Re:Define "Open Source" (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943254)

Now, we can have a lot of pointless dickering about whether the term "Open Source" is being abused.

Indeed, because if you aren't talking about software it clearly is being abused.

Re:Define "Open Source" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943334)

Now, we can have a lot of pointless dickering about whether the term "Open Source" is being abused.

Indeed, because if you aren't talking about software it clearly is being abused.

Why? The term "open source" has been around longer than its its sue in relation to software.

Re:Define "Open Source" (3, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943328)

At this point it would be impossible to tell if the term "open source" is being abused here, there just isn't enough information in this article to know what he means by it (or if it is just a phrase calculated to push the right buttons with people). However, by using it in this context, Governor Snyder increases the public perception of "open source" as a good thing.

Re:Define "Open Source" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943966)

Open Source is not to be confused with 'Open Governing' , which sounds more like what this guy is trying to do.

If you'd like to see a representation of Closed Governing, take a look at Texas and its Governor.

Re:Define "Open Source" (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943586)

It is. Best practices != software, and if he actually means copying coftware solutions you can bet most of it is closed source they'll have to buy more licenses for.

P.S. Most of the time ,this means standardizing on the already most dominant solution. The odds of him throwing out something 90% use for something 10% use is minimal.

Re:Define "Open Source" (3, Insightful)

men0s (1413347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944004)

When I step back at what he says in the article, it just sounds like there's a bunch of "silos" (communities) that don't share information and he wants to try and connect those silos or bridge those gaps or whatever euphemism suits use these days. I imagine that if he put it as simply as that most people would go "duh" and forget about it. Stating it this way might get some people to look at it a second time and in a different way.

What strikes me as odd is that he wants to ask if the community is willing to share it with the rest of the state. Why would you ask? It's a process that is being used at a different level of the same governing body. Just take their ideas and improve on them. That might be the way to "open source" processes.

My first suggestion would be to borrow something from the Commonwealths of Virginia: use a county-based library system rather than having a tiny library for each suburb or city.

One day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943172)

...Detroit will win the desktop.

P.S. The pablum in the link sounds like the same top-down development efforts that have been pissing tax dollars down rat holes and floating chinese debt for decades.

Re:One day... (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943208)

And the SuperBowl, too.

It should also work in the cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943190)

Open-source economics?
Where there is like a publicly known theory behind economic decisions? Like Adam Smiths or Karl Marxs books or something?

he was only talking about sharing ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943236)

hardly an economic model. Go see silvio gesell for that .

Here's my model (4, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943260)

Here's my model:
  1. Spend less than you take in.
  2. When cutting spending, try cutting big ticket items first.
  3. Pay down more than the minimum payment on debts.
  4. Round expenses up and round revenue down.

Re:Here's my model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943338)

I would add that everyone who touches any aspect of finance is obligated to be 100% honest with anyone else involved in any other aspect of finance within that system. By "obligated" I mean there would be severe penalties to enforce this obligation. By "severe" I mean you are removed from society. By "removed" I mean you are executed.

Government and corporate systems could be far simpler if there were not such a culture of obfuscation and deception.

A death penalty for obfuscation and deception would be just about right.

Re:Here's my model (3, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943360)

Because its open source, I'm going to make the following changes to your model and submit it.

1. Spend what ever you feel like, income is a different department anyhow so its their problem.
2. When cutting spending, cut which ever program will cause the most news (good or bad).
3. Borrow more from another source and use it to pay as much as you are required to on existing debts. Excess borrowed funds can be used for what ever (see point 1).
4. Dont round any figure, just add or remove zeros. After all, zeros are nothing!

Re:Here's my model (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943520)

I'm fairly certain you are infringing on the model used by many powerful businesses that patent such models. I hope you like being a revenue source.

Re:Here's my model (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943928)

Because its open source, I'm going to make the following changes to your model and submit it.

Thank you for your submission. After due consideration by the committee, the changes you submitted will not be committed to main_street(). If you wish to make another submission you may want to base it on the most recent code from the current branch - code follows:

Spend less than you take in.

When cutting spending, try cutting big ticket items first.

Pay down more than the minimum payment on debts.

Round expenses up and round revenue down.

Do not create unnecessary obstacles to creating new business & jobs.

Do not make fiscal commitments you can't meet.

Not complying with the guidelines poses serious risk:
Illinois Braces for Tax Increases . [wsj.com]

Facing one of the biggest budget shortfalls of any state, Illinois took the risky step of jacking up income and corporate taxes even as its economy struggles to shake off the recession.

In a deal hammered out by the state's Democratic leadership, the lame-duck legislature pushed through a 67% increase in the state income tax and a 45% increase in the corporate tax....

Republicans blasted the vote. "The General Assembly has found a way to maintain its runaway spending in the short term without addressing the fiscal crisis facing our state," said newly sworn-in state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

Re:Here's my model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943380)

The private sector model when presented with a shortfall is to cut cost by cutting employees.

The public sector model is to hire more people, Economic Development Coordinator, Tourism, Development Director, etc. etc. etc.

Now that I write this down, I realize that neither one is the correct solution. The first works for a short time, the second works so long as the people hired achieve what they are hired to do - ie never in the public sector.

Re:Here's my model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943466)

When cutting spending, try cutting big ticket items first.

Why not raise just raise taxes?

Oh I forgot - taxes are evil and the only good government is one that's smaller than an Asian midget's penis. Those Scandinavian big-government, high-tax, high-growth, high-standard-of-living, high-awesomeness countries are just using voodoo or something.

Re:Here's my model (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943714)

Ever been to a Scandinavian country? I'd hardly call living in a box that looks like it was furnished entirely by IKEA a higher standard of living or high awesomeness.

Re:Here's my model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34944342)

Oh I forgot - taxes are evil and the only good government is one that's smaller than an Asian midget's penis. Those Scandinavian big-government, high-tax, high-growth, high-standard-of-living, high-awesomeness countries are just using voodoo or something.

no, they're just all White and Protestant

Re:Here's my model (1)

cacba (1831766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943510)

Thats an excellent model to survive, perhaps let more forests grow inside of cities.

Re:Here's my model (5, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943558)

But what if borrowing leads to more growth that pays off the debt? What if cutting spending in a depression lowers economic activity and therefore tax revenues? What if interest rates are low enough to make it non-sensical to pay more than the bare minimum?

Your model may work for a household, but not a government.

Re:Here's my model (3, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943620)

The idea that government spending creates "growth" is, at best, arguable. It can be used to maybe prevent a further slide (ie: temporarily paying unemployment when there are mass layoff, so those people have money to eat on, so rent is paid, food is bought, etc.) Government spending is a patch, it isn't an investment plan. Notable exceptions would be in infrastructure and other items that the people can't themselves provide, but even then, too much is too much and the payback time for infrastructure is typically measured in years if not decades.

Re:Here's my model (2)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943922)

The idea that government spending creates "growth" is, at best, arguable... Notable exceptions would be in infrastructure and other items that the people can't themselves provide...

Then the proposition is not "at best arguable", you actually state that it's true. The only thing you're quibbling over is the price tag. Say what you mean, dude...

Re:Here's my model (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943998)

The idea that government spending doesn't create growth is a mantra repeated by many. Unfortunately, few are willing to debate it. I am glad you provided some a counter argument already, let's expand it some more:
When is government spending generating growth?
  • Infrastructure
  • Education
  • Sciences, Research & related

When is it generating little to very little growth?

  • Religion (don't even get me started)
  • Environment (I am not saying it's not needed, it's however very capital intensive and generates little "true" growth; it has potential for some ultra-long term growth defined as future environmental disasters prevention - but it's at least debatable)
  • Social programs and Medicare (again, needed: yes, but not for growth reasons - it's about compassion)
  • Military

It's however IMPORTANT to remember that government's job is not only about growth of the nation or society at all cost. It must also include well being of the current and future members of nation / society. Because, at the end of the day, we all want to be happy (and many of us hopefully also want to see others around us happy). Economic / industrial / social growth is not the ultimate aim, it's just one of the many paths to (or components of) happiness.

Re:Here's my model (1)

iceaxe (18903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944316)

The idea that government spending creates "growth" is, at best, arguable.

I think you're correct, and are pointing out a common mis-conception. A government can't reasonably directly create economic growth, but it can provide an infrastructure and context that promotes private economic investment and growth, and doing so is not usually without cost. The government spending does not directly create growth, but without the necessary contextual factors growth will not happen.

Now, with that said, you are also correct that the proper amount of spending and on what services and infrastructure is indeed arguable, and in fact that's an ongoing grand experiment. Nonetheless, the only people who say that government should not provide such services (a.k.a. 'spending') are ideologue politicians who care only for gaining votes regardless of consequences, and the dupes who believe them.

 

It can be used to maybe prevent a further slide (ie: temporarily paying unemployment when there are mass layoff, so those people have money to eat on, so rent is paid, food is bought, etc.) Government spending is a patch, it isn't an investment plan.

Agreed, and I've not heard any reasonable public official claim otherwise, except as campaign BS.

 

Notable exceptions would be in infrastructure and other items that the people can't themselves provide, but even then, too much is too much and the payback time for infrastructure is typically measured in years if not decades.

Absolutely. There are some things private enterprise is not well suited to organize and administer. Transportation infrastructure is a common example, but I'd also point out that national defense, a legal system, public safety, and fair regulation of competition are further examples of services absolutely essential to economic health, but not readily provided by self-interested organizations. Some aspects may be farmed out on a contractual basis to private concerns, but the administration of such things could not normally be entrusted to bodies answerable primarily to profit-motivated shareholders or private owners.

So, the key issue is to determine what services are required, how much these services will cost, and how to finance them over the long term. Short term thinking is generally unsuccessful in the end, as it is human nature to kick problems down the road, knowing that they'll become worse but hoping that someone else will have to deal with them.

In the US, and in many other places, we are discovering how it feels to be that 'someone else'.

And guess what? The answer is that we will have to spend, though we need to be very careful about how we do that. The people telling you that 'not spending' is the answer are selling you a fantasy.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Will ideologues of one stripe or another grab enough of the power they so hungrily desire to attempt to force reality into the shape of their fantasies, and run things to ruin in the long term, or will we swing in ever increasing pendulum lengths between diverging foolishnesses, but stay balanced somehow through opposing forces, or will rationality win out through long-suffering tenacity and set things back in some sort of tenable order? Only time will tell.

Re:Here's my model (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943924)

It's dangerous to think that spending just for the sake of spending will spur economic activity. Economic activity is only really worthwhile if it produces tangible goods and services with real benefits. Hap-hazard spending will produce the same economic numbers in the short term, but over time it will become ineffective because it failed to produce anything or real value. In the end, you'll be worse off than you were at the beginning because of all the resources that you wasted, worse still if you accumulated debt.

So you you want to spend a couple billion to develop an atomic bomb that will allow you to spend the next 50 years bullying around less powerful nations, maybe it will pay off for you over the next 50 years in a real way (of course the chickens will come home to roost on that one). But if you want to give everyone a thousand dollars to blow however they want, it isn't likely to pay out in the long term.

Your model may work for a household, but not a government.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, but politicians like to say it's not to justify their irresponsible behavior.

Re:Here's my model (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944044)

Oh, yeah, all that government spending. The bailouts, the 1% during Greenspan and then 0% during Bernanke interest rates, the stimulus packages, the buying out of various private businesses, buying out bad mortgage loans, insuring mortgage loans with no collateral, with no downpayment, giving out all sorts of free money, sure sure, that'll generate economic activity.

If by activity you mean: people will buy more stuff they didn't produce with the given/borrowed money - you are right.

If by activity you mean: people will SAVE that money to invest into businesses and will organize capital and labor to start some sort of production facility, to create goods, etc. Well, you are going against the modern economic ideas pushed by the gov't, that savings is counterproductive and that all that economy needs to grow and to get better is spending to buy all those cheap Chinese goods.

Sure sure.

What if what if what if (3, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944246)

What if the government actually didn't take on debt? What if the government actually had a policy of saving 25% of any budget surplus and returning the rest as a tax refund? What if the government actually had its own private cash reserves with which to do non-deficit spending and lower the need to have discretionary funds in the budget in any given year? What if those cash reserves were stored in local banks that gave out loans in good times? What if the government tried to actually cut out unnecessary spending?

If a private household did the equivalents of those things, it'd be quite well off within several years. After 30-40 years, the parents would have their home firmly paid off and would be able to fold their mortgage payment into their savings and retirement funds.

I'm only 27, but my grandmother remembers when the federal government actually used to be the one doing for the world what China does for us. How the mighty have fallen.

Re:Here's my model (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943638)

5. If the choice is between services not essential to physical survival of the public, and raising taxes, shitcan the services.

Re:Here's my model (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943682)

How did you get modded insightful? I mean, granted your model is technically correct, but everyone already knows it and there's no real insight there. Spend less than you take in? Great, so to meet that goal I need to spend less or take in more. So how should they do that? Cut budgets? Well duh, but which ones do you cut? Everything you cut has a downside, and often the big ticket ones are the ones that really can't afford to be cut because they are too valuable and already underfunded. So take in more? Well, increasing taxes has a downside too.

You might as well just tell us that your model for health care is: 1) Don't get sick, and 2) when you are sick, get better.

Re:Here's my model (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944220)

How did you get modded insightful? I mean, granted your model is technically correct, but everyone already knows it and there's no real insight there. Spend less than you take in? Great, so to meet that goal I need to spend less or take in more. So how should they do that? Cut budgets? Well duh, but which ones do you cut? Everything you cut has a downside, and often the big ticket ones are the ones that really can't afford to be cut because they are too valuable and already underfunded. So take in more? Well, increasing taxes has a downside too.

I doubt you're at risk of being modded insightful. Most budgets that are in trouble are so because it's hard to cut stuff (well, duh, right?). As it turns out, all the big ticket US budget items can be cut. For example, the top three are Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and Defense. Only defense qualifies as "can't afford to eliminate", but it still can be cut a lot. My view is that the only US service that we can't afford to cut is interest payments to parties outside of the US government. It seems reasonable to me to have a collective cutback of everything with some sort of basic triage to cut less things that are deemed important to US interests.

You might as well just tell us that your model for health care is: 1) Don't get sick, and 2) when you are sick, get better.

How predictable that a whine that budget cutting is hard coupled with an irrelevant remark about the necessity of publicly funded health care. Who cares what your model for health care is, if the US can't afford it.

Re:Here's my model (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943696)

Real simple, right? Except, you get voted out of office for cutting services *or* raising taxes, or running on a platform of doing either. That's the rub. People want services, but have a naive disassociation with their tax revenue and funding their government.

Plenty of politicians love to talk in vagaries about how they'll do one or the other, but no one has the courage to campaign that way.

Re:Here's my model (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943968)

Social Security isn't really a service. And it's our biggest expense. Let's cut it.

Re:Here's my model (1)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944212)

Here's my model:

  1. Spend less than you take in.
  2. When cutting spending, try cutting big ticket items first.
  3. Pay down more than the minimum payment on debts.
  4. Round expenses up and round revenue down.

Here's the reality:

Spend as much as you can. People love it when you spend on new programs.

When the stupid people want you to cut spending cut to police and fire first so they will think twice about asking for cuts the next time.

Pay down debts?! Debts show your development! Every successful government is in debt. The more debt the more successful!

Always underestimate the cost of programs to make them look appealing, then overestimate the revenues from anything you do! It makes you look good!

Re:Here's my model (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944224)

2.When cutting spending, try cutting big ticket items first.

The big ticket items in your state budget are the ones that care for the poorest and most vulnerable. The very young and the very old. The sick and the disabled.

The geek keeps his toll free commuter bridge.

The middle class entitlement that costs next to nothing in the larger scheme of things.

Grandma loses her senior van, dental clinic and home care services.

RMS Is in Control Now (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943302)

The venerable Richard Stallman was given complete control of the Kalamazoo government today at which point he announced that -- in order to battle pollution -- the oak leaf will replace the dollar bill inside city limits and the city council's podium will now have timeslices of 15 ms handed out to members (or 'threads' as the new law worded it) that will be violently and forcefully switched out by very strong bailiffs (or 'schedulers'). All city buildings are to be rebuilt in glass to improve the ability to see what goes on inside and very expensive, cancer causing X-ray devices will be issued to citizens so that at any point in time they can check any government official to verify first hand that the official in question is not a member of the lizard people elite that rule the United Kingdom.

After cracking a very strange grin, RMS promised the people they would experience open source in new and profound ways starting today.

Re:RMS Is in Control Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943468)

The venerable Richard Stallman was given complete control of the Kalamazoo government today at which point he announced that -- in order to battle pollution -- the oak leaf will replace the dollar bill inside city limits and the city council's podium will now have timeslices of 15 ms handed out to members (or 'threads' as the new law worded it) that will be violently and forcefully switched out by very strong bailiffs (or 'schedulers'). All city buildings are to be rebuilt in glass to improve the ability to see what goes on inside and very expensive, cancer causing X-ray devices will be issued to citizens so that at any point in time they can check any government official to verify first hand that the official in question is not a member of the lizard people elite that rule the United Kingdom.

After cracking a very strange grin, RMS promised the people they would experience open source in new and profound ways starting today.

That's not the Richard Stallman I know.

He would call it Free Software.

Re:RMS Is in Control Now (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943830)

the sarcasm you describe above, seems to be the exact thing we need in order to solve corruption on this planet.

Real open source (1, Troll)

sheepofblue (1106227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943346)

Real open source would be making it a right to work state and getting rid of union control. Real open source would be to get rid of the government control and let people figure things out. What he seems to be proposing is nothing more than leveraging best practices.

Re:Real open source (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943480)

But "open source" is a cool buzzword. He has to use it to look hip.

Re:Real open source (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943580)

Real open source would be making it a right to work state and getting rid of union control. Real open source would be to get rid of the government control and let people figure things out. What he seems to be proposing is nothing more than leveraging best practices.

There is not enough information in the article to know what all he means by the phrase. However, do not be so sure that he will not attempt to make Michigan a right to work state.

Not Open Source, but Constitutional Model (3, Informative)

iinventstuff (1888700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943362)

Open source has a lot of excellent qualities, but applying it to finance may not be good. What is needed is a "Constitutional" model whereby all the rules are known in advance, solidified, and very difficult to change. This will keep opportunists from changing the rules to help them gain, financially. Even if all the rules are not perfect, being able to plan on them creates an environment of stability. The US financial model is not as stable as it was, because those unwilling to make difficult calls have chosen to simply print more money as a way of masking the problem and hoping it will go away. Now, business is trying to keep up with these non-sensical debt fetishes by the Fed decision makers. When we can get our leaders to calm down, survey the situation, and make slow and calculated changes according to established norms, then things will get better. If the Michigan Gov wants to make things better, then it is best to *not* try an use all the power that the office allows; rather restraint is more prudent.

Re:Not Open Source, but Constitutional Model (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943652)

You make a very good point. The term I have seen used to describe what you are talking about is "rule of law". The laws are known, they are understandable, they apply the same to everyone and they change infrequently with substantial advance warning. The closer a political unit is to true rule of law, the better it does economically. The longer a political unit functions according to something that closely approximates the rule of law, the more likely it is to have some variation of a truly democratic government.

Re:Not Open Source, but Constitutional Model (1)

Biggseye (1520195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943828)

I disagree completely. What This state needs is to first of all make the entire state, including all government agencies, a right to work state. This can be done by passing a law or as I prefer, a Michigan Constitutional Amendment. This will open up Michigan to be competitive with southern states. Michigan has lost out to the Right to work states repeatedly when it comes to manufacturing. This must change. Second, the state must re-write the civil service code to allow governmental agency to ignore the current unionized thugs that populate the state employee rolls. They work little and cost thousands more than they are worth. Firing or at least having the ability to fire them would make them more responsive to the needs of the citizens. Third cut all State employee pay/benefits/compensation to a level that is equal to the level the average in the state as a whole. This would stop them from regulating business of of the state. Reduce the outrageous impediments to business in this state, The the government itself. We do need regulation, but not to the degree we have it. Mayor Bing has the right Idea, Reduce the size of the City to a manageable size. We can not reduces the size of the state, but we can reduce the impact of Govenrment. Every regulation, every existing law, every governmental office should be reviewed and eliminated as needed. Many State Governemnt functins should be contracted out.

ha. (1, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943864)

and did that 'constitutional' model help ANY of the bullshit we have experienced in the last decade ? ranging from soldiers shooting at students to monsanto killing entire agriculture ? AND on top of it, these being called freedom and economic prosperity ?

http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html [ucsc.edu]

despite the distribution of income has become worse than the disparage in between medieval serf, and baron in middle ages. (33% serf, 33% church, 33% lord).

excuse me, but you seem to come off sounding like a right wing nutjob. using the word 'constitution' to excuse all kinds of bullshit.

Re:ha. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34944356)

care to tell where in the US constitution are the Federal Reserve, subsidies for the chosen, bailouts for buddies, running a military empire and stretching the commerce clause to include *everything* mentioned?

it's not the fault of the constitution that everybody wipes his ass with it.

What it takes (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943400)

An official 13% unemployment rate, which means something north of 17% real unemployment [michiganmessenger.com] . Crashing property values and utterly blighted urban areas. That's what it takes to get voters to finally shed the leftists and elect people [detnews.com] who are willing to spend some time thinking about what must be done to achieve some level of prosperity.

The only saving grace that state has had is a constitutional requirement, established by adults long ago, to balance the budget; at least they can attempt to recover without stupid amounts of debt. Hopefully the new boss will still be in power when all the 'unfunded' public sector union bennies finally come due; a big haircut is needed and it would be great if the powers that be failed to kowtow.

Dear MI, keep it up another 10 years to prove this isn't a fluke and I'll move back. Till then, rot in hell.

Already has 300+ years of development (3, Insightful)

EverlastingPhelps (568113) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943412)

There's already an open source economic model. It's worked great the few places that have implemented it.

It's called the "free market." Michigan should try it.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943544)

They did. That's what got them where they are.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (5, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943572)

I think they did, and the market sent all their jobs to the third world.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943700)

I think they did, and the market sent all their jobs to the third world.

The problem with a market is that if you aren't willing to meet a counterparty at an agreed on price, then no transaction occurs. In the case of Michigan, they simply priced themselves out of the labor and industry markets by imposing too many conditions on businesses.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943816)

I know, like labor and environmental protections. The problem isn't that Michigan priced themselves out of business, it's that places like China treat people like shit and crack down on people who oppose such abuses. Logically, the only way to compete with China would be to reduce costs down to being just under China costs + shipping.

Of course, I doubt many people in the US would be willing to accept such a drop in quality of life, or accept such corporate abuse.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944346)

Of course, I doubt many people in the US would be willing to accept such a drop in quality of life, or accept such corporate abuse.

That's ok, it doesn't need to be voluntary. Many people in the US are getting that drop in quality of life, whether they chose to accept it or not.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (1)

stewski (1455665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944390)

The problem with the current free market is that people treat "shipping" as some minor overhead, like all forms of pollution if it's external to business then it is OK to fly New Zealand lamb all the way to the UK and sell it for less than UK lamb. There is no example of a free market, and it is not some natural state, either.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (1)

cdp0 (1979036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944180)

The problem with a market is that if you aren't willing to meet a counterparty at an agreed on price, then no transaction occurs. In the case of Michigan, they simply priced themselves out of the labor and industry markets by imposing too many conditions on businesses.

So, basically you are saying they should lower their expectations to the level found in, for instance, China, then they can get back into the labor and industry markets ?

You know, there are many countries in the world which impose many conditions on businesses, yet they have labor and industry markets.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944298)

So, basically you are saying they should lower their expectations to the level found in, for instance, China, then they can get back into the labor and industry markets ?

Yes, that is one way to do it which beats what Michigan is currently doing. There are other ways to make the state a place to work and do business again without turning it into a Chinese copy.

You know, there are many countries in the world which impose many conditions on businesses, yet they have labor and industry markets.

Even Michigan has a labor and industry market. But nobody sane would think of starting an industrial business there. And isolationism is rife throughout the world.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (1)

toetagger (642315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943704)

You are right except one part: its not their jobs, its a job. And that's the meaning of open - jobs can go anywhere.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943674)

They would have to leave the US to have a true free market. Doubt they want to do that. So they're stuck with subsidies, buyouts and regulations. Not saying those are bad things, but they do make a free market impossible.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (2)

EverlastingPhelps (568113) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943752)

Yeah, but state interference is like alcoholism. They have to hit rock bottom before they admit they have a problem. Michigan might finally be there, but the rest of us have a ways to fall.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (1)

cforciea (1926392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944296)

At least with government interference, when you've hit rock bottom you can vote people out of office. If you hit rock bottom by having a completely free market, you end up with cool things like hereditary dictatorships and hundreds of years of oppression.

Re:Already has 300+ years of development (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943854)

There's already an open source economic model. It's worked great the few places that have implemented it.

It's called the "free market." Michigan should try it.

Free market is open for a small circle of rich people. That's why they strongly support the idea too.
Free market for a worker mostly means less protection and more insecurity.

yeah it surely did. (1, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943880)

of course, that is if you take open source as 'the strongest dominates', and the distribution and sharing of wealth as something that comes of worse than middle ages

http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html [ucsc.edu]

in middle ages, 33% of the produce from land went to serfs, 33% to church, 33% to lord. that was the law and was observed everywhere more or less.

currently, top 5% of america gets 72% of everything, whereas bottom 85% gets only 15%. that is BEYOND medieval.

not to mention that alan greenspan, the foremost priest of that church have come up in front of senate committee and confessed that 'free market' did not work, openly, and clearly, saying he was wrong. yet, here you are, selling it to us again.

excuse me, but you are selling bullshit. sell it elsewhere.

truth hurts eh. (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944138)

the most intolerant bunch of people on earth - americans. not even able to bear opposing ideas. the difference is that, their radicalism, zealotry comes when 'free market' is challenged. thats their religion.

i gave statistics, i gave numbers, ACTUAL data, i gave history, yet, some moron still modded it down. why ?

religion. nothing else. the difference in between someone in middle east and the american zealotry is the suicide bomb.

Eh. (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943534)

His use of "Open source" seems so loose as to be nearly pointless to try to comment on in the context of the software concept of the same name. If nothing else(and there are a variety of somethings else), his proposal involves diffirent areas looking at one another's activities and initiating what works. That may well be a good idea; but calling it "open source" seems to imply that those activities would otherwise be proprietary. Unless he is about to inagurate the 'Pan-Michigan mutual abolition of all forms of intellectual property', which I very strongly doubt, the stuff he is talking about is just broad-brush development ideas that have never been proprietary, and for which there is no current or expected near-future support in law for making proprietary. It's basically just a platitude. You might as well describe somebody recommending that you use a mutually-understood natural language to communicate with others as "advocating an open-source phoneme model"...

That said, the basically irrelevant Michigan thing aside, we actually know reasonably well where OSS works and where it doesn't. We can even get a pretty decent idea of which flavors of "open source" will crop up in which areas.

First, of course, the unit cost of reproduction has to be negligible. Second, and related to the first, free riders must not be a serious issue(this doesn't mean that they have to not exist, and they generally do; but it means that they have to cost little or nothing, and something must motivate some percentage of users not to free-ride). If the first doesn't hold, the second generally has a hard time holding. If the first does hold, the second can still fail to hold; but in successful OSS scenarios it does hold.

You have the GPL, and its close associates: tends to apply to software, occasionally to texts, schematics, etc., things where #1 definitely holds. #2's applicability is provided by a mixture of ideological altruists and the fact that 'share-alike' is legally prescribed. While it was designed with ideological purposes in mind, this gives it unexpected utility for the production of what are, essentially, informal development consortia.

LGPL, and similar, fall between GPL and BSD. Typically applied to the same class as GPL and BSD; but derives its resistance to free riders more from economics than from ideologues of either camp.

BSD and similar tend to apply to the same class of things as GPL, for reasons of #1; but obtain contributions from potential free-riders much more heavily from (a sometimes vehemently different set of) ideological actors.

CC:Noncommercial, and similar, tend to apply to non-capital-intensive cultural objects. People are typically willing to share these with other people(and, pragmatically, recognize that other people are unlikely to pay enough to be worth collecting for them); but are suspicious of, and unwilling to allow, their appropriation by commercial interests(who both rub people the wrong way emotionally, and are recognized as having a much higher willingness to pay).

Surprised (2)

cdp0 (1979036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943710)

I am utterly surprised nobody screamed "commie!" yet, considering this is mostly an American forum. I mean "sharing resources" and "planning the economy", even if on a small scale ? I honestly hope he'll have enough support to do it, but I have my doubts, considering all the fears surrounding anything remotely related to socialism in your country. IMO it is a good idea and people might actually benefit from it.

they actually did. (3, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943962)

scroll the thread and see the 'free' market zealots still trying to assert that there has never been a 'free' market on the face of the world up till now. in the brief episode in late 1800s where there was such a condition, almost all of the american asses nearly ended up being owned by 10 individuals (not even corporations). they got their assess off vanderbilt et al, thanks to theodore roosevelt. but, they hate him, because, well, they dont know shit actually.

40% or so of them are hopeless. so brainwashed in their belief in the 'invisible hand' of the market (which is something not only nonexistent, but also never worked), no less than a radical zealot in middle east is brainwashed in his/her holy crusade. two sides of a spectrum, no different than the other.

proposing anything otherwise, makes them berserk.

it would be nice to see government funded software (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944102)

it would be nice to see government funded software open sourced and shared amongst governments. Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, all lobby against this because they like to get hired to implement similar stuff in each town, But even if they started small and non-critical like library systems they might finally see how cheaper it would be to share and customize from there. Yes the first implementers would have to foot most of the bill but they could then hire out some of those developers to help others bring the software online and end up being the experts for the kit. Probably cover costs over time as more and more towns hire these programmers to support them along with keeping them around to keep their own system improving.

Maybe looking at what town or town departments are running the best and spreading that will start the idea of also sharing the software.

LoB

He wants what? (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944130)

Exactly what is an "open-source economics development model"?

Reality Check (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#34944172)

Open source is a fine notion in many things. However we are seeing our government looking like a deer frozen in the headlights with no clue of which way to turn. One reality is that we can never hope to have labor compete with foreign labor. There are so many workers in nations like China that labor simply can not get paid the way Americans do. We also now have huge problems in competing with designs and technologies from several nations. A general lack of education is hurting America bad. We also can't fix that as the schooling in other nations is brutal and Americans won't treat their young that way. Foreign kids tend to be aware that either unusual excellence in performance in schools or grinding poverty are the only two paths they can get.
                Then there is the uber killer. Technology is only about eliminating human labor. Every day more and more people are displaced and devalued by technology. Decent jobs will become more and more rare. That also can not be changed. So we could all jump off a cliff or come to understand the real problem. We must issue good pay to people who do not work. That money earns tax dollars fast enough to more than compensate for the gift. And guess what. The people will spend that money in the businesses that they wish to support. That is a form of democratic action and businesses that are liked by the public will thrive. The government will thrive on the money earned. Now the odd part is that the poor are the best people to get nice checks. They are not savings oriented. Give a poor man a thousand dollars and it gets spent fast. That is a thrill for businesses. Give a rich man money and he will tend to secure it and it will not help either business or labor much at all.
                  What I am pointing at is the only hope for America to survive as a nation rests upon us burying the traditional, conservative economic values in a deep cave forever. Promoting conservative values is a very direct attack upon the survival of our nation. It is a form of treason. Marx had it half right. the better message would have been from each nothing and to each everything. The spender is the joy of civilization. Requiring the spenders to come up with the cash is the real problem.

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