I contributed a piece on PB for the Movement Vision Lab’s blog, which is focusing on participatory democracy this week:

Money Talks: How Participatory Budgeting Can Transform Politics
Josh Lerner
January 28, 2008

Money may be killing democracy, but it can also bring it back to life – if we learn new ways to manage it. Progressives
often complain that the influence of big money has corrupted politics,
leaving us with elite politicians that don’t represent most Americans.
Once in power, these politicians decide how to spend our taxpayer
money, often in unwanted ways. Community groups are forced to fight for budgetary scraps,
be they for social services, housing, schools, health facilities, or
other services or infrastructure. This is an exhausting and often
demoralizing struggle. It encourages competition rather than
collaboration and reliance on politicians rather than democratic
community control. For most people, this struggle is not very
appealing, so they choose not to participate.

It doesn’t have to be this way. [Read more]