Can a complementary currency help end poverty? A Q&A with John Boik on Shareable

What role do complementary currencies play in alleviating poverty, creating income equality, and building sustainable communities? According to John Boik, a vital one. Founder of the Principled Societies Projectand author of the book Economic Direct Democracy: A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being, Boik designed a multi-faceted framework for local democratic systems of which a complementary currency is a key element. A computer simulation model that describes the book’s proposed local-national currency system saw median and mean take-home family income more than double, income inequality nearly eliminated, and the unemployment rate drop to 1 percent over the 28-year simulation period. Shareable connected with Boik to learn more about his framework, the role that the complementary currency plays in it, and what needs to happen for real-world application of the model.


43 citizens help shape Melbourne City Council’s $5 billion, 10-year financial plan

Professor John Dryzek, from the University of Canberra, is   a world expert on deliberative democracy. He says there’s been an “explosion” of citizens’ forums in the past decade, and experience has proven lay people worthy of the task. “All you need to do is give people time,” Dryzek says. “Give them access to information, enable them to ask questions of the experts and people really can get their head around incredibly complex issues.” Via

15 Participatory Budgeting projects that give power to the people

“To create vibrant communities, people need to share in the decisions that affect them. This is true for neighborhoods, cities, and beyond. Participatory budgeting, in which people decide together how a portion of a government’s (or organization’s) budget is spent, is a proven way to give decision-making power to the people. It enables citizens to play an active role in shaping their community and creates more transparent governments.”

The Tragedy of the Private, the Potential of the Public

Hilary Wainwright argues that now is the time to turn back the tide of public services privatization. As local authorities around the world begin to reincorporate public services outsourced during the Reagan and Thatcher years, anti-privatization activists have an opportunity not just to accelerate the trend toward public recapture, but also to democratize public services providers from within. Published by Public Services International and the Transnational Institute.

~ via Shareable.

From Spain’s 15-M Movement: The Charter for Democracy 

The ‘Charter for Democracy’ is an inspiring, thorough text on what politics should be. It proposes a politics for the people: squarely grounded in environmental realities and social justice, based on the Commons, defended from corporate interests and neoliberal dictates.
 “Chaos and dictatorship are not the only alternatives to the current democracy. A democracy created among all people is possible – a democracy not reduced to merely voting, but founded on participation, citizen control, and equal rights.
This Charter emerged from the desire to contribute to this process of democratization. In this sense, it contributes from a place of joy, from the energy of citizen mobilizations, from politics happening outside political parties, speaking in first person plural and trying to build a life worth living for everyone. No doubt the impetus is democracy itself. People have the ability to invent other forms of governing themselves and living together. This text was created with the assurance that today’s struggles are the basis of the coming democracy.
In essence, this Charter calls for opening a new process of debate, leading to a political and economic restructuring to guarantee life, dignity, and democracy. It’s presented here as a contribution towards establishing a new social contract, a process of democratic reform in which the people — the “anyones”— are the true protagonists.”


National Theatre Wales’ Assembly programme is developing into a new, three-year programme of work called The Big Democracy Project, which will explore how art and creativity can play a part in helping communities across Wales re-engage with the democratic process.
For the first year of the The Big Democracy Project, National Theatre Wales will work across Wales holding four Assemblies as it has previously done: proposed and organised by local communities, voted for by the public – and at their core will be a discussion on how we can create the Wales we want. But where previous Assemblies could be on any subject dear to the bidder’s heart, the Big Democracy Project will focus on local political issues with a national, or even global relevance.
Assembly proposals could explore issues like cuts and austerity measures, immigration, climate change, or education. And crucially, an emphasis will be made on action – what can we do to move us closer to the Wales we want?
All four Assemblies will be streamed online, meaning a UK-wide and international audience will be able to follow and even engage with each conversation. For the Big Democracy Project, National Theatre Wales aims to: ask big questions about our democracy; help Wales imagine the future it wants; make a real change to the lives of people in Wales and beyond; instigate action through art.