Towards an Intelligent State


Kliksberg, B.

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The new millennium is beginning with formidable historical challenges for mankind. Such questions as the following are being raised: how can jobs be provided for a third of the active population worldwide who are currently unemployed or underemployed? How can 4.3 billion people be extracted from extreme poverty and precarious living conditions? How can the "vicious cycle" of poverty in many regions be transformed into "virtuous cycles"? What can be done to ensure a more equitable and just society? How can provision be made for quality education and health services for all members of society? How can the great inequality gaps that exist be reduced? How can developing countries obtain access to international trade and new technologies? How can young democracies be consolidated and strengthened? How can a productive balance be reached between social and economic issues in society?
This book examines the role of the State in advancing towards sustainable solutions for improving society. The author aspires to expand conventional views concerning the State and proposes looking beyond traditional molds such as the omnipotent State, the overburdened State, or the minimal State. On the road to the rethinking of the State and its reform, he proposes new areas for development thinking to encourage innovation. He addresses such topics as the role of social capital and culture in development, new community participation in implementing public policies and programs, and also characteristics of efficient public social management. One of the areas he examines in depth is that of relations between inequality and development. He shows that extreme inequities constitute a fundamental impediment to both economic growth and social development. The "Intelligent State" that he purports is one that operates by uniting its efforts with those of civil society, one that is decentralized and participatory, that is capable of contributing to the growth of social and cultural capital, and that has as its main priority the confronting of poverty and inequality.
The first section of the book is mainly devoted to general considerations about the State, whereas the second part reflects on key areas for rethinking with regard to the State's position in a specific continent, namely Latin America.