Transparency and Duty

(note: this was originally written to explore the titled topics, but I’d not posted it at the time due to other pressing matters. Today’s events make it doubly interesting.)


There has been some talk recently about transparency, authoritarianism and anti-authoritarianism. There have, likewise, been some words spoken about the ‘foolishness’ of transparency, with a seeming presumption that those who favor transparency must be naive ideologues, unable to consider competing ideals or the exigencies of circumstances.

Before we wade into the matter, let me make clear: circumstances always matter, one must sometimes reconcile competing ideals, and that reconciliation will not always be the same. I should also add that I am by no means a philosopher, and that this will be discussed in the context of the State, so please do forgive me if some of the terms are inexact.

You’ll see the phrase ‘mother Mega, father State’ around. Indeed, for many the corporation is an inextricable part of their lives from before they’re even born, with corporate-subsidized genetic testing and editing, educational investment planning, extensive prenatal medical care, and so on. From creche to hospice, from academy bunk houses to pensions and retirement investment counseling, corporate programs are an inextricable part of life, whether these programs are run locally, regionally or state-wide, operating as wholly-owned subsidiary of the Megacorporation, as a smaller organization or even a family corporation.

Raata revivalism has naturally dovetailed with this, given the ages-old obligations of respect and service to one’s elders and ancestors. One’s duty is to one’s family, and who among one’s family would know best? At the same time, ours is no longer the village, but the State, spanning numerous worlds and stars and with a population in the trillions. We have remade our families and our communities as corporations. Our competitiveness, born both out of a need to excel and to survive those early heady days of our secession, or in older days to survive cold winds and harsh winters, continues to drive us, and has driven our embrace of markets as a peaceful means to compete and to excel.

Often, though, we forget this: just as one has duty to elders and ancestors, just as the citizen’s duty is to the corporation, so does the corporation have a duty to the citizen. Just as the worker should recognize the authority of the executive, so must the executive recognize his obligation to the stakeholder: the shareholder, the citizen, those whose pensions and investments rely on effective administration. After all, what is a corporation without its employees and investors? What is a family without progeny and legacy, both valued traditions and the next generation to carry them on?

Transparency is, in its way, a essential representation of the executive’s service to the stakeholder, and the way by which we know that the executive’s actions are truly reaping rewards, whether they are indeed fulfilling their obligation. Whether it’s by quarterly reports and financials, whether it’s by timely news on products, windfalls, or indeed even misfortunes such as factory accidents or embezzlement, whether it is by proper audit procedure or the disclosure of punishment for those whose actions do not represent best practice, transparency is the shorthand for the flow of information that allows for the effective operation of a market, for the true formation of a bond between corporation and citizen. It is not enough to do one’s duty. It must be known to be done. It must be seen to be done.

Mismanagement and criminality can only flourish in an environment where the only message is, “obey your superior.”

Is trust important? Absolutely. But at the same time, trust must be extended in turn.

Secrecy for secrecy’s sake is no virtue. Is it truly rebellious to believe so?


An interesting post, given current matters. And most assuredly, it leaves one much to think about. I will offer little in this post, save for the following:

Trusting someone’s words is difficult. After all, words, to many people, are nothing but exactly that. Trusting their actions can be difficult as well, as many hide behind these simply to be perceived in a certain way.

But, patterns? There is little doubt in these. They shine through the fog of artifice brighter than the light of a thousand suns.


Yes, both duty and trust go both ways. They have to otherwise it does not really work. It’s the same case if it isn’t developed as a partnership, albeit an unequal one at times. It reminds me of the "Wilderness of Mirrors " problem meaning the confusion of the world of intelligence and espionage. The "Wilderness of Mirrors "consists of the myriad stratagems, deceptions and all the other devices of disinformation that intelligence services used to confuse and split their opponents, producing an ever-fluid landscape where fact and illusion merge. The difficulty being that the people living in that world become trapped, unable to trust, or be trusted.

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Is this your way of saying that you will not be handing over your stockpile of research materials to the DED?


ARC has at this time made no formal announcement of its intent, despite a number of pilots expressing opinions either way.

Mostly, I’m finding that this little bit I wrote up some days ago is somehow doubly relevant.

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Trusting a word - or at least, a written word - is a basis for healthy business relations. But if you know a person spreads slanders (and doesn’t have honor and courage to answer for her words) - like a certain author from this thread - trusting them would be highly unwise.

Please do not use my words as a platform for your personal issues with Priano-haani. Thank you.


Please excuse me, Ms. Avala.
But, please tell me, if you were, for example, scammed in Jita and began warning others that certain trader is a scammer, would it be just a personal issue? After all, I am just trying to help.
I am sorry.

Just ignore her, she’ll go away.


Details matter certainly. Transparency is important in some matters – the release of financials by public companies to ensure trust in investment.

I do not think it should be held as an absolute, however. Transparency can be a detriment in market competition. If your deals and plans are made known, then they can be acted against by rivals. If the cost of transparency is the loss of income and jobs of your fellow corporate citizens, then only a fool would open their mouth.

This does not stop the self righteous from giving themselves a pat on the back about the need for freedom of information, while ignoring the impact of full disclosure upon others.


For what it’s worth, I think you should tell the DED to sod off. I’m curious as to just what they’ll do about it.


Gesakaarin summarized my general thoughts and opinions on the topic quite succinctly. Still, I will elaborate further.

It is indeed a very interesting time that you chose to publish such thoughts, Makoto. And so given the circumstances, I will explain my thoughts in relation to the current situation and more generally.

As has already been stated, transparency has its place in the State. Transparency in the form of, for example, quarterly economic reports can provide an indication on the success of a corporation. This success is the success of effective leadership, one might argue. It is also the success of the employees not in the executive positions. Such a report can provide an indication that the corporation, its executives, and its general employees are functioning outstandingly and efficiently. In this sense, the corporation is fulfilling its duty to the citizen just as much as the citizen is fulfilling their duty to the corporation.

In the case where transparency in this context is not readily available, and the corporation crumbles from corrupt or ineffective leadership, in the spirit of competition and meritocracy, a more effective and properly managed corporation may move in to takeover assets, personnel, and operations. Such is the way of things in the State. And in the cases illustrated above, it is then for the benefit of those executives to function in a manner which will see the best success for the corporation, and by extension its “shareholders” and citizens. Failure to do so would result in consequences not limited to: termination, familial and community shunning, fines, imprisonment, and more.

Speaking more to current events, transparency in the form of corporate security affairs is oftentimes detrimental to the safety of everyone involved. For instance, why would CBD openly publish a hacking attack which compromised a shipment manifest to its general employee base and the cluster at-large? What good would it do to the stakeholder - to the CBD citizen - to know that their safety and livelihood may be at risk? How would engendering fear, paranoia, and concern for the sake of transparency be beneficial? In such a case, quite simply, it would not be.

When one openly broadcasts methods and technology for dealing with a cyber attack on fluid router networks which can very easily be monitored by hostile parties, one compromises the safety of those one claims to be trying to help and protect. In this case, transparency is not an ally to general affairs in the State, but an enemy. Those attempting to be transparent for the sake of transparency in such matters thus also fail to fulfill their duty to the corporation, their fellow citizens, and the State.


Mr. Lavius. Let me quote myself.

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From the point of view of someone who works the sharp end of “security”, transparency has a threshold, beyond which it’s major effect is to compromise everything I’m trying to accomplish. Disclosure has its place, selectively, within the bounds of such work, but only when carefully applied under the advisement of those who understand the limitations.

Outside of those boundaries, it tends to get people killed in too many instances, when applied too liberally. However, too much compartmentalization within the effort itself also leads to stupid situations; such as entire internal security forces rendering themselves impotent by clamping down too tightly on the flow of information, preventing crippling circumstances from being addressed by less affected groups.

Information does need to flow. But the public is, generally, the absolute last place it should wind up. Today’s headlines should be, as far as I’m concerned, last week’s operations, at best. The sole exception is when I’m trying to get the media to work for me, and that’s when the filtered facts come out.

So, from this corner, it’s not a matter of ideals at all, but rather a stark reality that must be dealt with whether I like it or not. It doesn’t matter if transparency is pushed due to earnest good will, a sense of duty, or sheer naivete. What it actually accomplishes is the real question.

…That got longer than I expected. Just my two ISK, to be taken with a grain of salt. Or straight. Or not at all. Either way, moitte ti anvatkaa.

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