Affiliated Organization

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands


Information society, or network society as it is also called, requires an infrastructure facilitating citizens' large and structurally ever changing (!) variety of informational interactions (sign exchanges). However, developments now labeled as electronic government usually frustrate rather than promote such an infrastructure at the appropriate scale of society as a whole. At least, that is the author's informed analysis of Dutch society. Its government is still failing to adapt to, and genuinely adopt, the general perspective of social dynamics. In actual practice, it prefers instead to continue to rely on its separate agencies (municipalities, provinces, national ministries, et cetera) to improve so-called services, only taking citizens as their respective clients.The literally one-sided emphasis on government services has all but eliminated seriously attending to the public interest. Often, an explicit appeal to public interest promoted development of infrastructure based on earlier technologies. It may have been misrepresented all along, though, as a selected history of infrastructure shows. In this paper, it is argued that a balanced concept of public interest essentially connects it to interoperability as equitable potential for interactions. Indeed, infrastructure is government's key responsibility.