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Why Governments Are Slow to Innovate and Adopt New Tech – Such as Blockchain?

Why aren’t governments better at innovating and adapting new technologies? We won’t keep you in suspense – they simply aren’t built to pivot and be nimble. Government bureaucracies are designed to “stay the course” and are more akin to super oil tankers rather than speed boats.

Regardless if the technology is genomics, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, or blockchain they don’t have innovation encoded within their organizational DNA. Instead, their institutional inertia seems purpose-built to squelch adoption of technology such as blockchain, and here are a few reasons why.

Self preservation

Blockchain is an immutable, transparent, distributed, open ledger that was designed to work without the need of large financial institutions such as banks and lenders. Government agencies are the penultimate arbitrators. If widely adopted by bureaucracies, blockchain technology would put complete agencies out of business by eliminating the intermediaries and go-betweens in Washington, D.C.

Politicians don’t want to solve problems – they want to stay in power

If jobs get created, if wars cease, if people are healthy and living longer, if there’s no civil unrest, if the economy thrives, if people don’t need social services…etc. there’s no justification for politicians to stay in office. There’s no justification for continuous tax hikes, runaway spending, or politician’s pet taxpayer-funded projects for the folks back home to ensure the politos’ reelection. Blockchain tech helps solve problems but problems keep politicians in power. The cycle of legislative delay and political gridlock is intentional to keep their gravy train rolling.

Frequent leadership change

Every newly elected administration typically comes in and fires old appointees in favor of their own patronage appointments. Blockchain could provide immutable consistency in several of these agencies in the face of constant leadership turnover. Instead, this never ending game of political musical chairs ensures a steady reboot of vision, priorities, goals, strategies, and tactics – to the detriment of us all. 

Many public agencies lack a clear mission

While remits for some government divisions are clear such as the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense, there are several cabinet-level departments with much fuzzier reasons to exist. What’s the stated mission of the Department of the Interior? Or the State Department? Or the Department of Commerce? Or the Department of Education? Or the Department of Agriculture? Of course they all do things but many of these issues are mainly managed at state-level such as commerce, agriculture, and education. Frenetic federal-level action is not a mission statement, goal, or strategy – it’s just a waste of taxpayer dollars and fractured federal focus.

Bottom line, governments are not incentivized to innovate or adopt novel technologies such as blockchain because of the risk to their continuation as a bureaucracy, risk to their power base, risk to political gridlock, and risk to the status quo.

On The Flipside

  • Governments could use blockchain to streamline many functions from passports, taxation, food and medical safety, immigration, secure voting and elections, payment of federal assistance and social welfare and much more.
  • However politicians don’t want to improve things, they want things to stay the same or worsen to justify their own existence.

Why You Should Care?

In democratic societies and representative republics, elected officials are supposed to serve the interests of the people who elected them. Unfortunately, too many politicians view their elected office as some kind of entitlement, and that kind of thinking serves no one.

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    This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed to be financial legal or tax advice. Trading Forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs poses a considerable risk of loss

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    Author

    Tor Constantino is a former journalist, consultant and current corporate comms executive with an MBA degree and 25+ years of experience - writing about cryptocurrencies and blockchain since 2017. His writing has appeared across the web on Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fortune, CEOWorld and Yahoo!. Tor's views are his own and do not reflect those of his current employer.