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    Ted Byfied
    - ICANN: Defending Our Precious Bodily Fluids
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    A. Michael Froomkin
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    Milton Mueller
    - Ruling the Root
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    - Dancing the Quango: ICANN as International Regulatory Regime
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    David Post
    - Governing Cyberspace, or Where is James Madison When We Need Him?
    - The 'Unsettled Paradox': The Internet, the State, and the Consent of the Governed

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    - Sitefinder and Internet Governance
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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)


     
    Budget and Expenditures We support privatized governance because it is more efficient...right?
    posted by Mueller on Thursday April 21 2005, @05:50PM

    ICANN's budget: ~$6 million (FY-'03);
    ~$8.3 million (FY-'04);
    ~$15.8 million (FY-'05 Budgeted) / ~$23 million (FY-'05 Actual)

    I wish I could find my prediction, made around 1999 on the Boston Working Group list (I think) that given 10 years ICANN would become as large as the ITU. The reason I enjoy saying "I told you so" in this case is that I recall a very strong reaction of disbelief and ridicule at the time. People thought I was crazy to say that.

    On the other hand, we can't ask ICANN to perform better without strengthened capacity, which can mean a growth in budget. Accountability, transparency, and representation are costly, not free goods.



    A lot of the paranoia and closed-mindedness that accompanied the earliest days of ICANN stemmed from fears for the organization's survival financially. I fully recognize the potential - and actuality today - of bureaucratic growth, but as an example of a budget enlargement I did NOT oppose, I recall when DNSO changed from asking its constituencies to pay dues to having the DNSO staff supported by ICANN's own budget. Self-governance that was based on "pay to play" was dysfunctional, in that noncommercial and even some commercial users had to spend more time raising money and membership than actually developing policy.

    The GNSO Secretariat (Glen) is hard working and competent. Likewise, the recent addition of competent staff people to support GNSO policy development has been a plus (which is not to overlook the existence of some truly awful staff "support" prior to that).

    The root of the issue is that it doesn't matter a whole lot in terms of efficiency whether its a governmental or a private organization. There's no market choice, they can't lose customers, so their incentives are always going to be essentially political.

    If you're looking for fat, it wouldn't be hard to find, look to the consultants they hire to do reports, to politically-inspired travel, to "walking around money" like the proposed "restricted funds" and other ways of buying support around the world. A lot of the "policy" staff doesn't support policy development from the bottom up, it supports staff-directed politicking and policy development.

    The At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) is an example of how odd incentives lead to high expenses. ICANN *should* be willing to support a democratic mechanism for individual voting and participation. But ICANN's managers fear real democracy. So ALAC's bizarre organizational structure asks individual users to devote half of their lives to building organizations that designate representatives who have an entirely indirect and minimal influence on ICANN policy. This is costly. It's interesting to me that the Noncommercial Users Constituency, with an annual budget of about $10,000, raised completely independently of ICANN, has about the same level of membership and participation as ALAC, which consumes about $150,000 of ICANN's budget and is supported by a full-time staff.

     
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      Related Links  
    · ITU
    · At Large Advisory Committee
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    · More Budget and Expenditures stories
    · Also by Mueller
     
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    We support privatized governance because it is more efficient...right? | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 18 comments | Search Discussion
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    Huh?
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Friday April 22 2005, @12:26PM (#14965)
    User #2810 Info
    Perhaps some American (which is to say someone within the USA, I'm Canadian eh?) could explain why the good ol' stars and bars hates the UN (incl. ITU) so much. You invented and created it. Now it represents the world and you can't control it, so it must be dysfunctional, right. Hmmmm, sorta like ICANN. C'mon Yankees, you couldn't do any worse. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    • Re:Huh? by fnord Tuesday April 26 2005, @12:09PM
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