29 July 2008

Contracting & Bias

I agree with what Caliban said: government contracting needs to be more transparent.

But why shouldn't we trust the PLP government? After all, most people (by a thin margin) chose them in the election. Am I implying that they are all dishonest? No -- but I know that they are human and prone to common mistakes and lapses in judgment.

In fact, recent research indicates that people have a tendency to be moral hypocrites, without even realizing it. To quote: “Anyone who is on ‘our team’ is excused for moral transgressions,” said Dr. DeSteno, a psychologist at Northeastern University. “The importance of group cohesion, of any type, simply extends our moral radius for lenience..."

What does that mean for Bermuda? It means that like Caliban said, we need to get serious about improving government transparency through initiatives like PATI, the MPs' register of interests (a UBP initiative), transparent bidding etc. We need to catch up with governments around the world, large and small, who have built structures with checks and balances to catch the mistakes and bad choices made by even well-meaning people.

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