Alternative Budgets

Budgeting as if People Mattered

By John Loxley  

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Alternative budgets are becoming an increasingly popular form of political action both in Canada and internationally. They are a means of advancing an alternative social and economic perspective to the neo-conservative agenda of slashing social services, reducing the role of the government and cutting taxes for the rich, all in the name of “necessity.” Alternative budgets demonstrate that there really are more enlightened alternatives which are, at the same time, fiscally responsible. They show that budgets can be pro-poor, pro-women and pro-environment. They can also represent an important form of democratic activity as ordinary people are encouraged to participate and contribute. This book outlines the basics of budgeting, examines both the technical and the political content of budgets, and how balanced budget legislation imposes fiscal constraints on governments.

It explores the origins of alternative budgets in Canada and examines the experience at federal, provincial and civic levels. It analyzes the objectives, organization and content of alternative budgets in Canada, and how they are circulated. It also draws on international experience on women’s budgets and the Porto Alegre democratic budgeting.

  • Economics, Public Policy
  • Co-published with Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives–Manitoba
  • ISBN: 9781552661055
  • January 2003
  • 176 Pages
  • $22.95
  • For sale worldwide

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  • Introduction
  • Budgets: The Technical Side Made Easy
  • The Public Policy Side of Budgets
  • Why Alternative Budgets
  • Making Alternative Budgets: Some General Considerations
  • The Alternative Federal Budget in Canada
  • Alternative Provincial Budgets
  • Alternative Civic Budgets
  • Conclusion: Accomplishments and Potentials
  • APPENDIX: Balanced Budget Legislation or Bad Budget Legislation?


  • John Loxley

    University of Manitoba

    John Loxley is professor of economics at the University of Manitoba and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has served as an economic advisor to the governments of Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar, Mozambique and Manitoba, and the incoming government of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, as well as a number of international institutions.

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