The Power of Transparency
Working Paper #111
Information by itself is not power. But it is an essential first step to the exercise of political and economic power. Opening up flows of information changes who can do what. That is why there are few more important struggles in the world today than the battle over who gets to know what. But the debate over transparency and access to information is more than a power struggle. It is also a war of ideas about what transparency is good for and when secrecy may better serve the public interest. This is no trivial or arcane debate. The arguments for and against transparency reflect fundamental issues about the nature of democracy, good governance, economic efficiency, and social justice, at levels ranging from villages to global institutions.
About the Author
Director, Centre on Asia and Globalization
National University of Singapore
Ann Florini is the founding director of the Centre on Asia and Globalization at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. She is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., where her work explores new approaches to global governance.