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Usted está aquí: Inicio Acerca del CLAD Publicaciones Revista del CLAD Reforma y Democracia Artículos por número publicado 006, Julio 1996 Back to the Future? Post-Modernity and State Reform in Latin America

Back to the Future? Post-Modernity and State Reform in Latin America

José Luis Méndez

As of the eighties, Latin America has undergone a difficult stage of economic and social adjustment. Although it would seem that in the nineties, the region is again on the way to growth, there has been no shortage of obstacles. In fact, Mexico suffered another economic crisis. Thus, at least from the point of view of this country, the current state of affairs provide a good opportunity for examining, as clearly and boldly as possible, the broader questions such as: What is Latin America? Who are we Latin Americans? An attempt at answering these questions will reveal that our nature has been marked by two essential characteristics: fragmentation and dependency, which have served to strengthen the conflict, mistrust and authoritarianism and the latter, in turn, have reinforced said fragmentation and dependency.

Thus, the region has been ensconced in a vicious cycle. The essay reflects on the context, problems and goals that may lead the region out of this cycle. It presents the new context which should be borne in mind by any state reform effort, arguing that recent reforms implemented in the region have been erroneously proposed.

The article presents five megatrends that are causing our era to be labelled post-modern: 1) respatialisation; 2) differentiation; 3) democratisation; 4) retemporalisation and 5) increasing complexity. It warns that in any case, rather than simply adopting the approach generated in other countries for facing the new realities, we should try to adapt them. The paper argues in favour of a balance between the public purview and that of emerging specificities (for example, between professionalisation and administrative flexibility). This would provide a way out of the "vicious cycle" and a way in for "virtuosos".

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