The popularity of government 2.0 could be also seen as yet another way to downsize and privatize government. For example, according to some studies, government should simply publish data online, while citizens and companies will build great services on top of it.

I’ve long criticized this approach arguing that public vs private service delivery is not a zero-sum game. For example, the A-76 circular in the US posits that whenever government had a job to do, it should be done by whoever (private or public) could do it more cheaply. Is  gov2.0 the same?

I argue that one important difference is in the premises of the sentence: “whenever government had a job to do”. This assumes that governments have static and explicit demands. In fact, much of gov2.0 is innovation that government would not recognize either as a need nor as an opportunity. Much of the success of the first open data challenges was in coming up with solutions for problems that were not even thought about by government.

This is a positive sum game: private citizens do not substitute government, but rather augment it.