Shared Societies in Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities
The Club de Madrid has defined the shared society as “one which individuals share on equal capacity to participate in economic, political and social opportunities regardless of their religion, ethic or linguistic group, and where as consequence relation between groups are peaceful”. ECLAC has defined social cohesion (1) as “the dialectic between established mechanism and dispositions in relation to the way these operate. Social integration and inclusion mechanisms encompass employment, education systems, entitlements and pro-equity, pro welfare and social protection policies, among other things. They entail some degree of distributive social policy impact and a system of transfers that reduces disparities in opportunities capabilities and vulnerability. On the other side, people’s behavior and perceptions encompass spheres as diverse trust in institutions, social capital, the sense of belonging and solidarity, the acceptance of rules for common living, and a willingness to participate in collective projects and deliberations. This concept allows heterogeneous dimensions to be associated in the dynamics of development: social policy and the value of the solidarity distributed throughout society; synergies between social equity and political legitimacy; the transmission of skills and the “empowerment” of citizens; the relationship between trust and governance; the impact of socio-economic transformations on changes in social interaction (and vice-versa); harmonization between greater economic equality and greater recognition for cultural diversity; and the reciprocal effects of socio-economics divides and the sense of belonging”. Some of these features are partially present in the Latin American societies today but still there is a long way to reach advances societies capables to combine high degrees of freedom and social cohesion. To understand which are the obstacles to overcome to reach shared societies in the region, it seems convenient to analyze the main historical trends of Latin American process of development and modernization I will not analyze the oligarchic modernization model (1850- 1914 followed by an interregnum till 1930) except to note that it drew the map of Latin American states, created nations and integrated the region into the world economy of the time. Accordingly, this model gave rise to several features that persist to this day in Latin America, such as the region’s gap with respect to the developed countries and the great social inequity and intraregional heterogeneity that are its hallmarks today. For better or worse, the region’s birth certificate was written in that period.
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