Aaron Schneider published an update on participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre yesterday:
Crisis in the Home of Participatory Budgeting: Technical Accuracy and Hierarchy
"My high hopes are based on ideas and practices that are core to participatory budgeting,even if not always present. The ideas of which I speak include deliberation, which is the
construction of common understandings among citizens to create a self-conscious, independent and innovative civil society. The practices to which I refer include participation, by which civil society organizations are mobilized to support and legitimate state efforts to address pressing social needs, especially those associated with poverty and inequality.
They are being replaced by an alternative idea, technical accuracy, and an alternative practice, hierarchy. I do not argue that technical accuracy and hierarchy have no place in urban administration. Indeed, they are constructed from a proud Brazilian tradition of positivism and rationality, particularly strong in Rio Grande do Sul culture and history. Yet, this reorientation is dangerous in the current context. This was made clear to us in a preparatory meeting in the Northeast Region of the city on Saturday, March 24th, 2007."