[I posted the following in Finnish on a Facebook comment thread of one of my favorite reps in the Finnish Parliament. I thought the topic was interesting enough to share in my blog. I have enhanced and added to the original comment to build the right context.]
To win the fight against slow bankruptcy of the government through destructive spiral of debt, we need to use drastic measures rather than slow and late tax increases and spending cuts. Given the current dire situation, I think Finland's best chance to win is in aggressive pursuing of rapid digitalization and automation of all possible administrative tasks. I am not only talking about back-office automation, but also offering of all possible government services online as soon as possible. We already have a good start with electronic tax filings and some other government services, but there are plenty of things that can still be completely automated.
An aggressive digitalization strategy would have the following positive effects:
- Every Finnish citizen would learn to use e-services and computer technology early on because of this broad commitment by the government. Access to computers for poor and elderly can be offered in specific locations, including public libraries.
- Finnish software developers would have plenty of new, government financed projects, contributing to the building and nurturing of local software engineering talent. However, this time around, government sourcing managers should be tough enough to require top notch software quality and state of the art technology.
- Finland would remain at the forefront of government usage of technology, which would provide an opportunity for Finnish e-government application startups to succeed in international competition. This will be made possible by the hard-nosed sourcing managers that accept only state of the art technology.
- Algorithms combined with online services will eventually eliminate the need for many, many government workers, drastically reducing the operational cost to run the government, both at municipal and state level.
- High speed internet access for all citizens would remain a priority for the telecommunications regulators and lawmakers, which would help to push and keep the whole country in the cutting edge.
What do you think? How big of an impact can we make with this approach?