Sunday, June 24, 2012

Investigating facts relevant to public policy

We need a 4th arm of government, which has substantial investigative powers and financial resources to vigorously, impartially and openly investigate the facts which are relevant to correct decision making in the other arms of government. I wish I could create that organization and put mathbabe in charge of it.

Only slightly more realistically: As the newspaper business dies, we are left without a mechanism for funding private investigative activities. I have this idea to create a market for investigations. People will propose or support investigations with offers of approximate financial commitment. Journalists, scientists, data analysts, others, will try to put together teams to put more concrete proposals that the informal proposers and others can fund. Willingness to fund would be very much based on the reputations of the investigators. So I envisage that young people would get together to do free or cheap investigations to establish their reputation, as open source programmers do. To set up such an investigation market, it would be valuable to have some high profile people getting it started: including a scientist, a journalist and a data analyst.