Corruption is a huge problem in developing countries. No one wants to invest in a place where all the civil servants, contractors, and vendors are crooks. And without economic investment, you cant solve most other problems. So I wonder if an app can fix all of that.
Im assuming that even undeveloped regions have, or someday will have, enough smartphones and Internet access to make this plan work. You dont need full Internet penetration for this idea to work, so long as most people in the local business class have access to someone who has access to the Internet.
The idea is to develop an app for tracking and identifying corruption anywhere in society. It would be sort of like Yelp for corruption. If you get screwed by someone, you record it in your app, it registers on the Internet, and the rest of the world can see. In time, this would drive out the worst offenders and create transparency for the rest. And transparency might be almost as good as getting rid of a corrupt official. For example, if you cant get rid of an official who demands bribes for issuing building permits, it still helps to know how much the bribe will cost and if it will get the result you need. Whenever you remove uncertainty, business is better off.
Read the whole piece. Would it work in China? It isn’t clear how much leverage public shame has when the entire official apparatus is corrupt. See Barry Ritholz for a recent update on corruption in China and the other BRICs.
PS: might not work in Sicily either.
PSS: Scott Adams has a new post on an Estonia-built app that is similar to his proposal.