The financial and economic crisis, of which we have heard so much discussion since 2007-8, is only one aspect of a whole series of underlying political trends which have been apparent for much longer: a crisis of (in)equality and of increased precarity of the workforce, a human rights crisis, a demographic crisis, an ecological crisis, a crisis in civil liberties, and above all a crisis in democracy.
The Poitou-Charentes Region is located in the West of France. It has a population of 1.600.000 inhabitants, which makes it one of the most rural regions in France. In 2005, the executive of the Region Poitou-Charentes implemented the first participatory budgeting at a regional level in Europe.
In Recife, Brazil, members of the public have been getting involved since 2001 to help determine how their city develops. Out of a population of 1.6 million people, more than 100,000 adults and young people join local forums or make themselves heard via Internet each year to determine policy making goals, suggest new programs and monitor implementation of municipal activities. The city also organizes forums on specific issues that allow residents to set priorities in 15 different policy making areas such as culture, education, and senior and youth services.