What I mean by transparency in finance…
I don’t just mean publishing every contract, but yes, I do mean every contract must be published. Published so I can Google it.
I also mean that, if you are looking after my money, I should be able to know at all times exactly what you are doing with it. If you carry out a business purporting to look after money – as a bank, or a fund manager, before I commit my money to your care and while you have it – I should be able to run a real-time report of your positions in the market. I will need to be able to verify this: so, if you purport to hold so much at the Bank of England, the Bank should be willing to confirm that to me.
I also mean that there must be public APIs that allow crawler bots like the Google bot to read, in real time, your cash accounts and your trading positions. After all, it is my money you are using. I’ll take day-end positions if you like, for now, but let’s aim for real-time.
I also mean that if you are running an industrial company, your shareholders are entitled to know what you are doing with their money. Can I read your current account from your website?
And in particular, you lot in Westminster: yes, that’s my money you’re using to run the country, so I also mean that I must be able to see exactly what you are doing with it, just in case you thought you might like to buy yourself a duck-house or bung a juicy deal in the way of one of those companies that Ashcroft has his fingers in, so I know not to vote for you again. When it comes to open government, I don’t want to have to file an FOI request, I want to be able to Google it – and the numbers to go with it.
We can do this. Technically, it is quite feasible. Money is just matching sets of numbers in a big network of computers. It’s numbers in a computer, and since all computers are interconnectable, those numbers should be world-readable. Not world-writable: I am not quite that anarchic. World-readable, though, is a straightforward ask. There really is no great technological leap to be made,