Different uses for voting need different types of voting.

Introducing fair-share funding for projects

Arguments Against
Fair Share Spending

Fair-share funding, chapter contents

Are There Public Goods?

Libertarians claim democracy can exist only until a majority of voters discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury; that democracy evolves into welfarism. That is an argument from theory, not facts. Dictatorships (including business monopolies) are far more likely to be kleptocracies, where a few people abuse institutional power to enrich themselves, while oppressing many others. In fact, a broader distribution of power (via PR) tends to cause a broader distribution of money in a large middle class.

Fair-share rules reduce the opportunities for kleptocracy because one group cannot steal another's share of the public treasury.

Voter Competence

An argument related to free rides is that voters might not know which party deserves credit for their well-being. While Party A funds aqueducts that bring clean water to the city, Party B funds bread and circuses. Which party will most voters support? If Party B ruled under winner-take-all legislative rules, many voters would eventually notice a lack of water. They would then give their support to the provident Party A.

Under fair shares, credit and fault are less clear. (Just as they are unclear under any sort of power sharing: a coalition parliament, a bicameral legislature, a division of power between central and local jurisdictions, or a balance of powers among three branches of government.) But this argument has the same basic assumption as those opposing Full Representation and democracy itself -- that the common citizens are fools, easily tricked and misled. There is a grain of truth to that. But the larger truth is that extensions of equality and democracy have improved governments and led to better conditions for most citizens.

Voter Control

Is PB built to control voters or to give them control?

by Sergio Gregorio Baierle, edited by Robert Loring

“The idea of connecting Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and Participatory Budgeting (PB) sounds good, but there are some risks to be considered:

  • There is a risk of reducing OWS-like movements to a discussion of 0.01% of local budgets. (So full budget disclosure needs to be mandatory at all levels, including military expenditure.)
  • There is a traditional managerial monopoly of PB experiences by government staff, usually politically appointed. (So we need to go beyond the participatory circus organized by the mayor or his secretary of governance.)
  • There is a tendency to reduce all discussions to public money and so not addressing the income generation model at local (city development models), province, national and global. My question has always been: if PB really empowers people, grassroots people, why up to now don't we have a grassroots national or global network of PB participants? Why do we always count on government networks or expert networks? (We need to preserve the questioning of the entire economic model and also preserve the autonomy and the non delegating character of the occupy streets movements, the acampados of Madrid need to survive the winter!)
  • If real democracy means a real redefinition of the famous “social contract” we are supposed to have “signed” once we got our birth certificate as Brazilians citizens, Americans, Canadians... it is not just the case of having an extra seat for street plebeians in parliament. (So we need to address a key question, beyond the democratic methodologies of organizing meetings: what is the deal? Or, better, what is the 'New Deal' in a context of crisis capitalism? If travels to the past are not feasible, what would be? We don't need an answer right now, but we need the question, for sure).”
 Ballot for fair-share spending

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