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Extra resources for Participatory Governance and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (St Esa Pad Ser.E )

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The first and the most basic of these complementary forms of countervailing power consists in the self-confidence that comes with education and economic security. Poor illiterate people, whose livelihoods are insecure and whose very survival depends on maintaining an obsequious humility in the context of patron-client relationships, are not very likely to participate independently or assertively in the conduct of public affairs. To the extent that they do participate, they will do so mainly to lend their numerical strength in support of their patron’s interests.

The common people for their part must be willing to devote the time and energy needed to take control of the development process in their own hands instead of leaving it completely to others. 37 Manor (2007) gives a cogent explanation of why government must play the most critical role in promoting effective participation. 51 The inter-relatedness of these multi-dimensional conditions may seem to make the task too daunting for the goal of participatory governance to be anything other than an abstract utopia.

In order to assess whether this reflects merely a change from the old type of patronage-based governance to a new one in which patronage is lavished on supporters of the ruling party, Baiocchi (2003) looked for statistical correlation between the distribution of Workers’ Party’s voting strength and geographical investment patterns, but could not find any. The success of Porto Alegre has been impressive enough to encourage widespread emulation all over the world. In Brazil itself, over 100 municipalities as well as several states have taken up participatory budgeting practices.

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