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Assessing The Claims Of Proponents And Critics Of The Participatory Budget: Lessons From Minas Gerais, Brazil

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Chapter Summary

Three claims emphasize the emancipatory and representative nature of the Orçamento Participativo (OP). For all claims, the author critically assesses their validity in the daily practice of the OP in Brazilian cities such as Porto Alegre, Betim, and Belo Horizonte. Three claims are: the OP is fundamentally popular participation, it is an instrument of empowerment and it constitutes another layer of political representation. The chapter examines four major critiques of the OP: it is unnecessarily antagonistic to the legislative body and to existing representative organizations in civil society, the great majority of citizens never participate in the OP, it is merely a disguised form of party activism and recruitment for the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) and Most 'common' people don't know how to participate in political discussions and decisions and therefore, subject to manipulation by OP administrators. OP proponents argue that it's time for a new concept of democratic efficiency.

Keywords: Orçamento Participativo(OP); Brazilian critique; Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT); popular participation; Porto Alegre; proponents



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