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Ch02 Part 3-1 - Authenticity, Openness and Trust (Research)

Page history last edited by ym@... 12 years, 11 months ago

Chapter 02 Part 3-1 - Authenticity, Openness and Trust





  1. Openness and accountability = foundations of Western culture
  2. Online culture reflects those values which are prized in Western life
  3. Issue of fake blogs


Last three  sections below relevant for this discussion but may fit better in next section re conversation and democracy?


  1. Asian values are different - saving face, greater respect for authoritarian figures
  2. Issues re online engagement in Asia reflect those Asian values eg Burma, China, Malaysia.
  3. Asian citizens struggling for free expression, individualisation nonetheless






# Principles of openness and accountability in Western public life



o American Declaration of Independence - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" - http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/declaration_transcript.html


- Informed consent = fundamental principle of Western democratic model and Western private life.


In terms of national governance: The governed cannot give consent where the government governs in secret and hides pertinent facts from the people. That's why a free press is important as a check and balance to abuse of power.


In private life, a minor cannot give consent to sexual relations = statutory rape; a drugged woman cannot give consent to sexual relations = rape.
- Declaration goes on to list injustices and despotic actions of English King. Culturally, in Europe back then the despotic, authoritarian, feudal model was typical and entrenched. Unrest during next 150 years from French Revolution, inspired by the US,  through to 1848 etc in Europe showed a continent evolving into modern times.
- 200 years later, Europe has come a long way, see European Commission principles of openness and trust below.


 o European Commission principles - The European Commission and Civil Society online paper - http://ec.europa.eu/civil_society/apgen_en.htm - "gives an overview on the Commission’s framework of consultation and dialogue with civil society and other interested parties." This includes the principle of openness and transparency


o Civil Society =  http://ec.europa.eu/civil_society/consultation_standards/index_en.htm#_Toc46744741


"White Paper on European Governance

"Civil society plays an important role in giving voice to the concerns of the citizens and delivering services that meet people's needs. [.] Civil society increasingly sees Europe as offering a good platform to change policy orientations and society. [.] It is a real chance to get citizens more actively involved in achieving the Union's objectives and to offer them a structured channel for feedback, criticism and protest."


"Problems can arise because there is no commonly accepted - let alone legal - definition of the term 'civil society organisation'. It can nevertheless be used as shorthand to refer to a range of organisations which include: the labour-market players(i.e. trade unions and employers federations - the "social partners (7)");organisations representing social and economic players, which are not social partners in the strict sense of the term (for instance, consumer organisations); NGOs (non-governmental organisations), which bring people together in a common cause, such as environmental organisations, human rights organisations, charitable organisations, educational and training organisations, etc.; CBOs (community-based organisations), i.e. organisations set up within society at grassroots level which pursue member-oriented objectives, e.g. youth organisations, family associations and all organisations through which citizens participate in local and municipal life; and religious communities (8).


"So 'civil society organisations' are the principal structures of society outside of government and public administration, including economic operators not generally considered to be "third sector" or NGOs. The term has the benefit of being inclusive and demonstrates that the concept of these organisations is deeply rooted in the democratic traditions of the Member Sates of the Union."




o The Commission adopted, on 11 December 2002, a communication ‘General principles and minimum standards for consultation of interested parties by the Commission’ COM(2002)704. http://ec.europa.eu/civil_society/consultation_standards/index_en.htm#_Toc46744760. Extract below from the European Commission paper on those standards of consultation.


"Openness and accountability

"The[European] institutions should work in a more open manner [.] in order to improve the confidence in complex institutions (19)."


The Commission believes that the processes of administration and policy-making must be visible to the outside world if they are to be understood and have credibility..... /// Thus consultation processes run by the Commission must also be transparent, both to those who are directly involved and to the general public.


It follows that interested parties must themselves operate in an environment that is transparent, so that the public is aware of the parties involved in the consultation processes and how they conduct themselves.

Openness and accountability are thus important principles for the conduct of organisations when they are seeking to contribute to EU policy development. It must be apparent:


  • which interests they represent

  • how inclusive that representation is."
o Threatened by sleaze and corruption scandals, reported widely in global news. One of the "problems" of a free press. Now with YouTube, gaffes and misbehaviour (Sarkozy apparently drunk; US politician blowing a gasket) all get transmitted. Leaders are cut down to size; danger of losing respect and moral authority.

# Business culture in the West 


o non - hierarchical


o openness/ disclosure valued


o but threats from Enron type scandals.


Businessweek article "Can you Trust Anybody Anymore?" Jan 28 2002 - http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/02_04/b3767701.htm - "The scope of the Enron debacle undermines the credibility of modern business culture."


" It is difficult not to contrast the professionalism of modestly paid firefighters and police doing their duty on September 11 with the secretive and squirrely behavior of six- and seven-figure accountants, lawyers, CEOs, bankers, and financial analysts who failed at their duty with Enron."
" Investor confidence is crucial to the success of our economic system. This confidence is threatened by not only the Enron scandal but by the dramatic decline in accounting standards. People increasingly feel the game is rigged."
" What's to be done? Restoring investor confidence in the system of equity capitalism is crucial to the economy's health. The continued deregulation of the economy and the privatization of services depends on the integrity of the financial reporting system. If the investing public is going to participate, it must see a fair and transparent system."

 o UK occupational fraud on the increase - http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.12930 - article "Betrayal of trust" July 2007 British Computer Society (author name not evident on the relevant webpage)

"Occupational fraud, stealing from one's employer, is dramatically increasing in the UK. According to FraudTrack3, the BDO Stoy Hayward annual survey, reported cases had more than doubled between 2003 and 2004 and increased again by eighty percent to £942m in 2005."


oEdelman Trust Barometer 2007 - http://www.edelman.com/news/ShowOne.asp?ID=146 -



In spite of Enron scandals etc, trust in business seems to have recovered since a few years ago, but CEOs still not trusted:

"In the United States, 53% of respondents report trusting business, which marks an all-time high for the survey. This is a recovery from a low of 44% in 2002, which came in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom debacles. In the three largest economies of Western Europe, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, trust in business stands at 34%, which is higher than trust in media and government at 25% and 22% respectively. The 2007 survey marks the lowest levels ever of trust in government across these three European countries."


"“A person like me” is the most trusted spokesperson across the European Union, North America, and Latin America. In Asia, it is second to physicians./// CEOs are trusted by only 18% of opinion leaders in Europe’s three largest economies (the United Kingdom, France, and Germany), the lowest rating ever recorded in the survey within this group of nations. In the United States, 22% of respondents trust CEOs. In the United States, 36% trust an average employee, while in the three largest economies of Europe 28% trust these employees, making rank-and-file employees more trusted than CEOs in both the United States and Europe."


# Fake Blogs




Mention here but discuss in detail in next section re conversation and democracy?


# Asian political and business cultures different from the West



o greater respect with authoritarian model


o saving face



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