I fully caveat that I am likely too naive to what we can really accomplish through government and I’m an optimist, even if I’m a skeptical optimist.
I read “intangible asset” as an acknowledgement that what we (however you define “we”) can work on together is greater than anything we could do on our own. Tackling wicked problems like unemployment, energy production and consumption, sustainability, public education, cleaner air, cleaner water, infrastructure improvements, transportation, sustainable and scalable agriculture… the public, be it a commercial sector or private citizens, can only do so much in any given working environment. If you think of the nation as one giant organization, there are lots of arbitrary (and physical) barriers to work through. Government can help set policy, hold meetings, provide infrastructure support to remove or at least work around such barriers.
I’d like to set the goals for citizen involvement to a peak where they are in deed “owning” the solutions created in partnership with government, because (and this is not meant to be political in tone) citizens “own” those solutions by electing officials, paying taxes that fund such solutions. We certainly need to allow for a broad range of engagement (adding joy and removing pain from taxes, fees; making voting easier; continually raising awareness of what’s happening in our agencies, our branches of government, etc) — but I also think we need to look at the abundant opportunities we have for everday citizens and government to both win from the ability to draw in a diverse group of experts to tackle big and really big problems.
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