Participatory Budgeting as foundation for Participatory Democracy

In this video

Digital Democracy

The transformational potential of new Digital Democracy technologies and models, like those of Mivote, is best conveyed, in practical terms that will be meaningful to most of the public, when exemplified through the field becoming very popular in Scotland: ‘Participatory Budgeting’.

This growth follows the government policy that local communities have more say in their own spending, which is based on years of research.

It has quickly become a well documented expertise, via organizations such as PB Scotland, who run an annual conference, and where they specialize in that topic alone, others such as The Democratic Society focus on it as part of a general improvement in democratic engagement overall. CitizenLab offers this detailed guide on citizen participation.

It’s also a fertile ground for tech entrepreneurs, servicing a demand such as local councils deploying voter management software, indeed by its nature of course the practice is best achieved through innovative, engaging web sites; for example as the Democ Society demonstrates their theories in action via their engagement portal ‘Oor Bit‘ for Cowdenbeath, based around this core theme of discussing local spaces:

Community Led Transformation

Numerous innovative public ideas are submitted, such as providing Geocaching as a fun childrens activity, the pros and cons of which are then debated.

This example highlights the primary benefit of this approach is i) real community needs and ii) creativity – The open ‘ideation’ process is key to harnessing the tremendous intellectual capacity of your own local constituency, not just for the practicalities of providing for its needs, but in terms of unlocking its much greater social and economic potential too.

A bottom up approach of this nature goes far beyond simple community improvements, it offers massive potential for bringing the wholesale national transformation that the Scottish Government wants to achieve.

All forms of political economic strategies stem from top down actions, the worst example being “trickle down economics”, when the reality is concentration and hording of resources and financing, hence why the most deprived communities at the bottom of this direction of travel end up benefiting the least from them.

Purposely injecting the cash directly into the community and empowering that community to match them to their own needs, and repeating this nationwide, is thus how an entirely new economic model and associated benefits can be achieved.

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