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You get our gratitude, plus regular updates on what public budgets are we going to visualise next. In our activity feed we share curiosities and fascinating facts about public budgets that we learn on the way but we also ask for your advice and help. 

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Twice as much gratitude plus a cool virtual badge, the "Conspiracism Tamer".

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Four times as much gratitude, a private wikiBudgets *Lite* plan, plus the next level virtual badge, the "Filter Bubble Shooter".




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About wikiBudgets

We have a concrete and actionable plan for improving democracy: make all public spending easy to find on the Internet.

Let me elaborate. Via direct and indirect taxes democratic governments take and redistribute between 30% and 50% of our income. However, we usually have no idea where exactly the money goes. This has two effects:
  1. Many people are disenfranchised. They think that state spending is somehow secret because "all politicians steal" and "the system is evil". This leads to low participation in elections, or worse, populism and radicalism.
  2. Even if we try to be good citizens, we are forced to make uninformed decisions. We are supposed to choose - figuratively - between a Trident nuclear submarine fleet and 100,000 public teachers without even knowing which one costs more. More importantly, on the hyper local level we cannot efficiently compare the cost of the newly-installed dog waste bins to the yearly dog licence revenue. 
As a result politicians try to appeal to our hearts instead of our heads. 

A personal story: during the Brexit campaign someone on my FB feed shared a charged meme depicting how much we spend on X and how little on Y. I thought it would be a good idea to verify the claim before reacting. I started to Google, but, after a while, I realised that it is impossible to quickly find how much we spend on anything. Later, after hours of research, all I was able to find were puzzling .gov websites, unsearchable PDF documents and CSVs too big to open in Excel, all heavily obfuscated by impenetrable accounting jargon.

Compare it to this: if I asked you to Google the gross revenue of the first movie directed by whoever played Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972), you could probably find the answer (Al Pacino, Looking for Richard, gross $1,361,420) on IMDB in less than a minute. Why can't we have something equally easy for our own money?

And when we say public spending, we don't mean only government budgets - we mean the whole public sector, everything funded by our taxes. Departments, bureaus, agencies, offices, cities, towns, courts, libraries, schools, hospitals, public corporations, etc. If you think about it, there are only three ways how tax coins can leave the public sector:
  1. as a salary to employees, 
  2. as a payment for goods and services from the private sector or 
  3. as a transfer to another organisation or individual. 

We believe we can build a crowdsourced website where exploring public spending will be fun, not a punishment. And, if we succeed, we will hope we will 

Rationalise Politics
Kill Alternative Facts 
Pierce Filter Bubbles
Stop Corruption
$4.52 of $1,000 per month
Our ultimate goal is to track every single coin that enters the public finance universe, all the way through state and municipal budgets, through public institutions and corporations, until it finally leaves the public sector in the form of a salary or as an invoice for goods and services. Obviously, such a task is too big for us or any other single entity - that is why our strategy is to build a WIKI platform, not dissimilar to Wikipedia, that will enable volunteers to gather data and organise millions of public budgets.
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