Quality and Integrity

The Quality Revolution (1945-ongoing) changed the world. Now we need the Integrity Revolution (2020-ongoing).

In a world where the public realm is reduced to rubble, like much of the Planet, it is clear that self-interest must be balanced by the counter-weight of public-interest.

Unfortunately, the public-interest itself lies in ruins, hollowed-out by institutions and corporations run with pathological degrees of private interest, or simply  the ‘profit motive.’

This is not entirely true in some social democracies where the public interest is maintained by distinct cultural, or language traditions.

However, it is true for market-democracies, where profit has become the over-riding measure of all value.

This is why a new quality revolution is required.

Not measuring the technical performance of machines, but an integrity revolution. measuring data and information performance.

One  important lesson learned from the quality revolution, was that continous small improvements, led by workers, led to massive transformational improvements over time.

Small continous improvements moved the hub of manufacturing across the world from West to East in less than 30 years.

That’s an enormous change.

It also led to the financialisation of the West.

The take-over of economic planning by a credit-boom that replaced lost manufacturing jobs and industries with a debt-fuelled service economy.

Financialisation in market democracies has now seized hold of government, the media, public resources and institutions and even regulatory processes, to subvert the public realm in the name of profit.

Today, what’s left for the general population of many market democracies, except increased debt, slave-like labour, ‘zero hours contracts,’ the removal of social benefits and great anxiety about the future.

An Integrity Revolution is how the general population may move beyond this precipice.

Information integrity (II) depends on creation and design of standards and frameworks that define the quality, or more accurately integrity — integration with values — of all public data and information.

Part of this equation is putting Human Rights back where they belong. As the baseline for all human conduct, especially that of governments and corporations, which can be held to account against this baseline.

Human rights include the protection of every citizen from penury, ill-health and homelessness as well as protecting the natural world and the common rights of life on Planet Earth.

Today, human rights are recognised by the European Court of Human Rights, for example, but this court, like many others is outdated, slow and costly.

In the ‘information age’ the public-interest is critical.

As people now operate at light-speed, globally 24/7, a new level of governance is required to assure human rights and the quality of life on Earth.

Taking a lesson from the quality movement, where change was identified and managed by small teams working across and within vast corporations, information integrity requires something similar.

Citizen assemblies, perhaps called, to oversight data and information integrity over numerous democratic domains.

From assuring the human rights of every citizen, to protecting the most vulnerable, from policing the press, broadcasters and public institutions of government, to refining the use of artificial intelligence.

Only citizens with no direct interest in governance systems today, can protect the public-interest with the necessary degree of integrity.

Like everybody in the information age — the age of abundance (see blog Information Abundance) — these multi-level citizen groups will be paid.

Although, not through mechanisms that can be subverted by these older, self-interests.

Today, governments, look increasingly like the problem, not the solution.

Too big, too slow, too expensive, too powerful.

Many national governments are overtaken by self-interests, reducing the speed  required for humanity to reach its goals of equity and fairness in face of multiple global crisis.

Any objection on grounds of cost will only be made by those dedicated to a failing present system.

They used to say the same during the quality revolution.

In fact, the trillions of unpayable debt swashing around the speculative bubble of the financial industry describes a bankrupt system anyway.

With trillions more dollars being wasted on wars and fossil fuel exploitation.

These old models of economic and political self-interest are the problem holding humanity to ransom and a massive source of waste.

This same system is also failing due to the ‘fake-news/alternative facts’ equation, which makes more likely an abrupt and bitter end, to a dangerously out-of-control political-economy.

Simply, because no one can be sure of reality, or shared perception of the issues anymore. And this appears to work in the interest of powerful lobbies who use fake-news to cause uncertainty.

Today, what is certain, according to leading scientific predictions, is that climate, ecological, whole earth and other global catastrophic risks (GCR), will bankrupt the current global political-economy in less than twenty years, unless a great change is made.

The Stern Review, sponsored by the UK government made that point in 2007.

Starting today, information integrity is a necessary response to the multiple failures of governance now in full view across our new global digital age.

Information integrity driven by the clear values of human rights protection and the active values of citizens participating in ‘their own’ democracies.

Otherwise, as they say in my home-town, ‘it’s goodnight sweetheart’ but for good and for all.