Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Yes, it's the HOW

Indeed, Ape's points below are well taken. I gave a talk in Media Indonesia two weeks ago, on 2006 Economic Outlook. They asked me what is actually the most urgent agenda for the government to do. As my other blog's visitors might have known, my priors shifted. On the very top of my list now is not cabinet reshuffle. It is a "data project": devote enough resources to conduct extensive ID-ing of the people. We have seen how good ideas meet stonewall just because we fail to identify the targets. It happens in the cash transfer program. It will happen in the implementation of the new tax law. Are we so far from having an "SSN"-type of ID? There's been discussion about this ("nomor identifikasi tunggal" -- single ID number), actually. However, I won't be surprised if people will confront that idea with privacy issue (or skepticism like: "why do the poor need to be ID-ed? -- and it's expensive"). Now, your options are to give up some uncertainty or to be uncertain on who gets what.

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