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Redesigning the State for social-economic development and change. A strategic agenda or discussion

Bernardo Kliksberg

This is an introductory paper for the International Conference of Administrative Sciences, Toluca 93, on State redesign for social-economic development. A discussion framework is put forward; the most consistent trends in change process are considered; components in a new public management are detailed; and some questions on the matter are raised.

To the end of the 20th Century, world, deep, structural changes are envisaged. Along with technological and political revolutions, the basic structure of world economy is being modified in a new inter-relations context. These changes are both good and bad --potentially important strides in some fields, and continuous drawbacks in extense areas in the world.

In this context, the State will be one main character. Discussions on the State role have turned ideologic. To overcome restrictions in this debate, the following features are brought up for discussion --1) definition of progress and development, and the role played by the State in these processes; 2) the State role in democratization; 3) State vs. civil society, or State plus civil society; 4) market and economy, problems of privatization; and 5) corruption and State.

Upon analysis of the aforementioned topics, there is need for a State pursuing human development as final goal; strengthening democracy; working along with the private sector and civil society in a domestic project of productivity, competitiveness and growth; combining with market; removing corruption; leaving sectors where it should not be present; and furthering organization and development of civil society.

In the present context, a "smart State" is required with the following possible guidances --efficient concentration of the central State regarding public policies; decentralization of State activities; a "network" State, rather than a "pyramid" State fit for inter-government administration; flexible organizational models; new public managerial style; staff revaluation; focus on citizenship; public corporative culture; and credibility.

The basic agenda of Toluca 93 includes some questions referred to, among others, the following matters --achieve a general and self-sustained human development; stop the trend to stagnation and decreasing productive jobs; comply with environmental policies; increase world trade on behalf of poor countries; reduce the external debt; create a modern labor in developing countries; improve the income-distribution structure; open up ways to citizen's participation; introduce a managerial revolution into the public sector and undertake domestic institutional reforms; reach necessary agreements to form a team including State plus civil society.

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