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Open data against CBD

December 14, 2015 / maestro / Uncategorized

CBD, Charlatan Based Decisions, are, in the political arena, those decisions taken not because is there any data backing it but just because they sound coherent with an ideology. After a CBD is taken, data about the results are ignored, distorted, manipulated, or, in the best case, only presented those that hardly fit into their predictions. I.e. 51 women die because of gender based violence while 40 die in occupational accidents and 868 gravely injured and 167.000 just injured).

Currently, due to the remarkable impact of climate change we are aware that is compulsory to recycle our goods, be conservative in the use of fossil energy and change our behavioural patterns, etc. Why? Because our global ecosystem is so fragile and our action is causing changes with unknown and dramatic consequences.
Climate is a ‘simple’ but highly non-linear phenomenon. Non-linear means that small changes in any condition  could  cause huge impacts. As an example let me remind you that the global CO2 problem is caused by a concentration of 400 parts in a million in our atmosphere.

However it seems that we have not learnt enough from ecology to realise that our current society, in economic and social terms, is also a highly non-linear system. And that it is, possibly, much more complex. Compared with our static and simple atmosphere, our society, in terms of population, employment, commerce, etc, is quite more complex. On top of that it is plenty of active and emotional beings.  How can we deal with such system?

Any engineer knows that in any actual magnitude curve, if it is analysed close enough, it resembles a straight line. Thus, we would be able to predict (short term) what could be its evolution, and, hopefully, in  short term we could contrast it against our expectations. This simple example introduces that even being complex does not mean to be incomprehensible as long as we pay attention to the data.

In less than a week we will celebrate national elections in Spain. It is surprising, how proudly the candidates show what are the expected results if they would win the elections. But it is hardly available how, their promised results, are they going to evolve during that period (A monthly evolution would be enough, don’t you think so?). Even worse, it makes me crazy to think that those predictions are hardly saying anything about what data are they going to be used to confirm their right evolution (kind of an indicator). What about their policies to release data? See it ciudadanos, psoe, pp, podemos, IU, UPyD, DyL (former CdC), ERC, Bildu, PNV.  And what is the most remarkable of all is that most of the candidates are ‘sure’ to have good solutions for tackling the main problems of the society. OMG there is nobody on the controls. It is like a blind monkey acting as bus driver.

I think that we are old enough to accept facts like living in a complex society. In fact we suffer day-to-day its consequences, even if we were not accepting it. But most of our politicians insist on simplifying it for their audience. Not at all. It is complex and it is getting even more. But there is some hope, now we have much more data and much more computing power to use it. And what is better, there are some people accepting the use of data to solve some political problems. Like the violence in Cali, and later in other parts of Colombia (See R.Guerrero velasco) or fighting against poverty beyond microcredits (See D. Karlan). But what was most remarkable about the Colombia example it that when the law was first introduced the changes were promised to be removed if there were not results in 3 months. Fortunately if worked in less than two weeks.

I would like to find extinct CBD of our politics during the coming 4 years but I am realistic. Just achieving a substantial reduction it would impact dramatically in our daily life. And so, releasing and using data is a critical policy. However I am not seeing political parties on that mood of leaving CBD. I hope to be wrong.

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