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Date: 2024-04-20 Page is: DBtxt003.php L070-TA-TRANSPARENCY-ACCOUNTABILITY
Talk about transparency and accountability has no substance unless it is supported by some meaningful accounting and the critical data that shows what is going on. While rule of law is a good idea, there is a lot of 'gaming' of the law so that 'wrong' things are legal. Much of this would be unacceptable to the public at large if the public could see what is going on. This is why the idea of 'transparency' has popularity with the public, and is shunned by many with wealth and power.

The need for transparency and the need for accountability have been talking points for a very long time. To the extent that this idea has been talked about quite a lot in recent years does not mean that transparency and accountability has become of much use. It is time to rethink how to make transparency and accountability effective.

The importance of transparency has been apparent for years ... as many as 40 years .., maybe a lot longer.
The general public are completely unaware of how little they ever get to know. The main flows of information are driven by a very efficient corporate PR system and advertising which has the singular goal of giving incentive to people to consume the products and services they are promoting. Almost everything the general public gets to know about the world we live in is served up to us via some corporate communication. Everything about the corporate world is 'self reported' by the corporate world ... and it is the corporate world that runs almost everything in the economy of the world. This is an unsatisfactory state of affaris and needs to be changed.

The importance of accountability might well be greater than transparency.
Sadly ... accountabilty is almost completely absent from the modern world. In countries like the USA, there is a lot of talk about 'rule of law' but rule of law does not translate very well into accountability.
There was also the wonderful idea embedded in the U.S. Constitution that the media would serve to hold powerful people accountable, but that idea has never worked very well in practice. In the modern world where news has a half life of a few hours and the news cycle is continuous, it does not worlk at all well and the media has little ability to hold people accountable. Important stories do not last but are replaced by new stories in a matter of hours.
While the news cycle is incredibly fast, the legal processes to enforce accountability are very convoluted and slow, making a mockery of the idea that 'Justice delayed is justice denied.'

Modern information technology and computer science is being applied in all sorts of ways in the modern economy, and it is possible to deploy it in ways that will enable radical accountability.
A very large part of the information that flows through the modern economy is in the control of the business world, and they choose how all of the data are going to be used. These data flows have become important sources of economic revenue for tech. businesses that run 'platforms'.
It is possible to build a different sort of platform using similar technology, but in this case building data that describe the actor in the socio-enviro-economic system from a variety of other perspectives.


Unlike conventional financial accountancy, TVM goes beyond the boundaries of the reporting entity and its reporting envelope. Instead of this artificial and very convenient (for the reporting entity) limit, TVM addresses all the impacts throughout the life cycle of a product and all the impacts of all the activities associated with that product. TVM does the accounting associated with everything everywhere for the full lifetime of an individual entity and all entities.

This is a complicated endevour, and people who know mathematics will know that there is no single right answer in a complex system such as the modern socio-enviro-economic system. But getting a single right answer is not what is needed, rather what is needed are any answer that delivers 'better' than the status quo for all the actors in the system. Better yet, there does not need to be a general acceptance of what constitutes 'better', rather better is something that is specific to each and every individual actor in the system.

This is a very different way of optimizing than the one that has been used during the many years of the modern industrial revolution where the simplistic assumption has been that more and more economic growth and profit will deliver the best possible world. Certainly this assumption and delivered a better world in many ways, but certainly not the best possible world.
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