Virtual goverment and the power of an invisible hand

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Business and Public Management


School of Business




Martinus, I. (2001). Virtual goverment and the power of an invisible hand. In: Stoney, S., & Burn, J. (Eds.). Working for excellence in the e-conomy: 2nd international We-B conference (pp. 11-19). Churchlands, Australia: We-B Centre, School of Management Information Systems, Edith Cowan University.


This paper investigates the interplay between how much leadership a western liberal democratic Government should play in the information economy. Government Online strategies and mantra are examined with respect to traditional political sociology viewpoints that decry limited Government. The investigation seeks to determine if there is a measurable point at which Government intervention turns into interference with the online economy. The higher level question of the role of Government remains in the background as the argument is built. Adam Smith provides some insight into where the line should be drawn in terms of the laws of diminishing marginal utility of involvement. The most problematic area relating to Government involvement in the information economy is the valuations used to predict the amount ofjobs directly created as a result of Government intervention to stimulate a sustainable economic development. The results of the interview series across Australian local, state and federal Government, and Government consultants gives an insight into how successfUl this first tranche of ePublic Service initiatives might expect to be. Government has to decide its role as business partner or facilitator in this IT uptake drive in what is a new combination of private enterprise and bureaucracy, or 'Privocracy '.