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Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency Hardcover – March 5, 2007
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"Packed with ideas and information, Full Disclosure is, by far, the best book to date on the problem of public transparency. The authors offer a host of indispensable lessons for citizens and policymakers in diverse domains, including education, pollution, national security, and health care. At the same time, Full Disclosure is an important contribution to democratic theory -- and a great read to boot."
Cass Sunstein, University of Chicago Law School
"Sunshine may indeed be the best disinfectant, in Louis Brandeis' words, but only if we know when, where, and how to shine the light. That is exactly the task that Full Disclosure sets itself. This is an important book at an important time, for everyone from mayors to senators to secretary generals."
Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
"The authors have done us all a good service by offering sound analysis and ideas on how to make public policy transparent and accessible for all citizens. As the country heads into the 21st century, more transparent governance is just what we need."
Tom Daschle, Former Senate Majority Leader
"Governmental transparency efforts inform the public about additives in the food we eat, dangerous criminals in our neighborhoods, and the financial support of our political leaders. Full Disclosure offers several important lessons that will help give citizens easier access to vital information through the creation of better, more meaningful transparency policies."
Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico
"Superb...This rich, carefully researched, well balanced, and readily accessible study shows us that good governance, with legislators at the local, state, or national levels in the lead, is surely difficult but far from unattainable. This is hard-nosed scholarship demonstrating, as the authors themselves discovered, that pragmatism about both policy expectations and policy results should prevail among political leaders and citizens alike."
Brian J. Cook, Clark University, Perspectives on Politics
"Full Disclosure provides a wide-ranging and systematic analysis of targeted transparency in the United States...The book makes two key contributions: it clarifies the factors that determines whether policies are effective and it suggests that transparency measures are now entering a new phase when they can be even more useful to the public than in the past."
Paul Starr, The American Prospect
"It is a fantastically researched and excellently written....I suspect it is destined to become the definitive book in the area, and i recommend it to academics..."
Jay P. Shimshack, Political Science Quarterly
"A major contribution to our understanding of targeted transparency as a policy...Fung, Graham and Weil have provided a compendium and reference resource for thinking about how to structure transparency in the new governance..."
Lisa Blomgren Bingham, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
"Full Disclosure is a guide for policymakers, complete with the requisite "10 principles for an effective transparency policy" guide. It ought to make citizens wise to the tricks that commonly turn transparency policies into little more than symbolism."
Lee Drutman, San Francisco Chronicle
"In their thoughtful and constructive book, Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency, Archon Fung, Mary Graham, and David Weil provide an in-depth assessment of government mandated disclosure policies intended to reduce the costs to consumers created by imperfect information."
Clifford Winston, Brookings Institution, Journal of Economic Literature
Full Disclosure is the first analysis of national and international transparency policies-including car safety ratings, nutritional labels, campaign finance disclosure, and toxic pollution disclosures-that aim to reduce serious public risks and improve critical services. Full Disclosure explains why some transparency policies succeed while others fail.
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The authors present their arguments and evidence in a concise and understandable format which will allow ordinary citizens with little or no understanding of economics and governance to find this book a powerful guide and hopefully; after reading, become active participants in the movement for greater transparency in both the public and private sectors. Thus, this is a win-win book for both citizens and policymakers alike.
Lastly, the authors critically examine the advances in information technology like that of the Internet and related technologies such as instant messaging, online blogs, and online book reviews (here), which led to the rise of a third generation transparency systems that differs from the right-to-know and targeted transparency policies, the first and second generation transparency policies, respectively, because of the collaborative information sharing aspects of the new system.
On a side note, this book is right in time as there is a current debate on the medical care quality and cost disparity in the state of Massachusetts, US, which underscores the importance of transparency policies to improve a service quality that have might long term health care impacts for patients. All in all, this one of a kind book will serve as a guide for many generations to come.
With regards to Joel M. Kaufman May 8th, 2007's comment on the authors' limited awareness of corruption at different government agencies, it is possible that the previous commenter did not take into account the multi-layered definition of the politically correct term: "diverging interests of policymakers and other stakeholders of information disclosure," which the authors have reiterated on numerous occasions using similar phrases.
Authors prove own point by missing out on key data on several topics, and merely quote dogma. For example, the supposed dangers of "sodium" meaning sodium ion or salt (pp21,84,111) ignore key data that salt intake affects people both ways, and 10g/day is not that dangerous. See Elliott P et al. (1988). Intersalt: an international study of electrolyte excretion and blood pressure. Results for 24 hour urinary sodium and potassium excretion. British Medical Journal 297:319-328.
Authors quote dogma on high-fat foods and the supposed dangers of saturated fat (p33,53,84,111). See Enig M, Know Your Fats, 1999; Allan & Lutz, Life Without Bread, 2000; Ravnskov U, The Cholesterol Myths, Colpo A, The Great Cholesterol Con.
Authors cite fiber as a good thing (p88), but studies show some forms are beneficial for some conditions in some people, not nearly all, and many people are worse off with higher fiber intake. See Montonen J, Knekt P, Järvinen R, Aromaa A, Reunanen A (2003). Whole-grain and fiber intake and the incidence of type 2 diabetes. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 77:622-629; Fuchs CS, Giovannucci EL, Colditz GA, Hunter DJ, Stampfer MJ, Rosner B, Speizer FE, Willett WC (1999). Dietary Fiber and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer and Adenoma in Women. New England Journal of Medicine 348(3):169-176.
Authors treat Material Safety Data Sheets descriptions of chemical hazards seriously. Try looking up salt, sugar powder and toluene MSDSs. You will see how hazardous these valuable substances are made to look. Then look up the sheet for bromine, which is really dangerous, and see that it is presented in much the same manner as toluene.
Authors call "speeding" a major cause of traffic crashes. Using the definition that "speeding" is driving faster than a posted speed limit, it is obvious that doing so on a road with light traffic in daylight is not dangerous and may prevent boredom. The definitive work was done from 1958-63 where the P. I. was Dr. Alfred L. Moseley working from the Harvard School of Public Health under a USPHS grant, found that fatal and serious crashes had multiple causes, including vehicle failure, weather, road hazards, driver error, but "speeding" was not one of them.
The authors seem unaware of the corruption at many of the government agencies. Just to pick on the FDA see Cohen JS, Overdose, 2001; Haley D, Politics in Healing, 2000; Moore TJ, Prescription for Disaster, 1998; DeGrandpre R, The Cult of Pharmacology, 2006.
Minor fussing over formats and inputs will not give us the clear disclosure we need because of the overwhelming corruption of responsible agencies as well as vendors.