Mongolia Gets McLaughlinized
Date: Friday June 13 2003, @08:01AM
Topic: Laugh (or Cry)
Andrew McLaughlin, a senior fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University Law School, and lately vice president and chief policy officer of ICANN (and last I looked on the ICANN budget for 50% of his time), is in Mongolia as a Geekcorps representative for a fortnight. The aims of the project are laudable, and Mr. McLaughlin is writing up his impressions for Slate. Here's part one, part two, and part three. The commentary is a pleasure to read. It does raise a churlish question or two, though...
As the first article notes, Mongolia needs help:
Mongolia appears to be retreating from the reforms of the 1990s and sliding toward the more familiar—and more depressing—pattern for developing countries: Small-scale corruption and nepotism are widely thought to be increasing throughout the government. Moreover, Mongolia's democracy is still fragile: The ruling (ex-Communist) party so dominates the parliament (72 out of 76 seats) that there is little incentive for openness and transparency in the dealings of the executive branch. As the rot of corruption seeps deeper into Mongolia's masts and rafters, the question is whether it is too late for the country to chart a new course.
Is an ICANN architect who you would pick to help with the "creation of clear, predictable, objective, and independent regulatory procedures"? Especially since ICANN folks have dealt so well with their free and open elections and their nepotism problems?
Then again, who could argue with the statement in part two that,
Properly understood, the role of a regulator should be to reduce risk by following open and transparent procedures, generating clear and certain rules, and eliminating barriers to market participation.
If only this applied to ICANN too! Maybe in a year or two, if this mission succeeds, we can get the Mongolians to sort it out for us....
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