Provides a blueprint for more effective government and greater citizen participation.
"Transparency" has become the new mantra of politicians and pundits alike. But what does it mean in practice? In this informative, clearly written book community activist Donald Gordon defines the essential features of a transparent government and makes a convincing case that it is critical for a healthy and maturing democracy and the basic liberties we all take for granted.
Gordon first presents a clear definition of transparency in government and why we should pursue it, followed by a review of the history of transparency in American politics. He then makes the case for how transparency serves as the foundation for active civic engagement.
The heart of the book is Gordon's "Transparency Index." The author examines best practices in measuring transparency and then isolates the critical factors that can be used to assess any type of government and its commitment to transparency. In addition, a scoring system is presented that allows for comparison of government entities.
For anyone who wishes that government were more effective and responsive, this book shows how these goals can be achieved.
About the Author
Donald Gordon teaches political history, civic engagement, and political reform at Northwestern University. Gordon, a community activist for over thirty years in the Chicago area, is planning his second run for alderman. He is the author of Piss ’Em All Off: And Other Practices of the Effective Citizen, which discusses civic engagement based on his years as an activist.
“This is a critical book that anyone who cares if government works well needs to read. It gets to the heart of how democracy should function and provides a blueprint on how to get there.”
—James N. Druckman, Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University
“Too few political scientists try to come up with ways of improving our government. Donald Gordon is an exception. Not only does he diagnose the problem of transparency, but he also provides practical and feasible solutions that citizens and politicians can (and should) actually implement.”
—Andrew Roberts, associate professor of political science, Northwestern University, author of The Quality of Democracy in Eastern Europe