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Adjustment policies and social development policies. Outlining criteria and guidances

Héctor Silva Michelena

Main repercussions of adjustment policies and its social effects are explored. Criteria and guidances for an acceptable economic policy are set, with references to State-market relations and the need for a domestic scenario in the social area. Articulation of economic and social policies is discussed.

Social effects of adjustment policies have been tremendous. The impact of adjustment policies have affected the rich, middle-class and underprivileged people in different ways including general changes in the prices of goods and services, cutbacks in the payrolls of the public sector, and shifts in the supply of public utilities, as government transfers to homes.

Adjustments are most needed, not only in economic terms, but because of the ethical and moral implications in launching a nation to an uncertain perspective. It is known that neither product growth, State intervention, or any other economic policy by itself or coupled with social policies have managed to ensure a fairer distribution of the effects of progress.

But tough policies fail if a domestic model or project outlined by the agents of the global society has not been defined. Growth with equity is a desirable aim, and policy-making should be under a strong criterion of strategic consensus. In this regard, proposals to develop human resources and recover the human part of development are relevant.

Free-market theories and those concerning State regulation are ideological theories. As far as State and market is concerned, the State functions and areas of intervention --which should not be the same-- have to be defined. Increasing or reducing public action is not the point, but expanding its positive impact on efficiency and effectiveness of the economic system as a whole. Based on these thoughts, criteria and guidances for social policies in the "post-adjustment" stage can be established.

Articulation of economic and social policies is a complex and partly new issue concerning the passage of articulation to integration of policies. Here it is important to identify the social-economic variants which settle down the human life. These variants include money value, creation of jobs, and supply of public utilities.

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