I loved the most recent EconTalk podcast with Russ Roberts interviewing Eric Raymond about Open Source software. Eric explains why it works and why it works better than closed source.
I think we need to take the discussion to the next step and talk about open source Government. One of the keys of open source software is the idea of “forking” the code. If someone wants to go a different way, they can make a copy and do their own thing with it. I suppose the idea of “state’s rights” is like forking the code on a governmental level.
One thing they talked about regarding open source development is that it works best (especially graphical user interface development) when there is a “dictator” who approves the changes. We’ve come to think of dictators in government as being a bad thing. Maybe it is a matter of scale. If the dictator role is moved down the the smallest level of government, maybe the the analogy could work. But certainly not at a national leve.