Crowdsourcing Machines

Democracy, Disintermediation, and Finance

May 5, 2015


This seminar will explore various initiatives aimed at decentralizing the levers of public finance, and increasing the level of citizen and community participation in government budgetary decisions. Questions to be addressed include:

How can public finance be harnessed to address issues such as political corruption, copyright overexpansion and structural racial wealth inequality?

What are the benefits and drawbacks of promoting citizen-level investment through conditional cash-transfer programs?

What are the capacities and limits of participatory budgeting practices?


Dean Baker
Center for Economic and Policy Research
Larry Lessig
Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership
Harvard Law School
Michael Menser
Co-Founder, President
Participatory Budgeting (PB) Project
Alan Aja
Assistant Professor, Deputy Chair - Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies
Brooklyn College (CUNY)

Core Resources

More Money Can Beat Big Money

Lessig, Larry. “More Money Can Beat Big Money.” The New York Times (2011).

The Artistic Freedom Voucher: An Internet Age Alternative To Copyrights

Baker, Dean. The Artistic Freedom Voucher: An Internet Age Alternative to Copyrights.” Center for Economic Policy Research, 2003.

From A Tangle Of Pathology To A Race-Fair America

Aja, Alan, et al. “ From a Tangle of Pathology to a Race-Fair America.” (2014).

Executive Summary: A People’s Budget – A Research And Evaluation Report On Participatory Budgeting In New York City

Projec, The Community Executive Summary: A People’s Budget – A Research and Evaluation Report on Participatory Budgeting in New York City. The Urban Justice Center, 2014.