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by Iernando IiIgueira ®

Lalin America is undergoing a ¡rofound lransformalion of ils sociaI ¡oIicies and of
lhe very conce¡l of sociaI cilizenshi¡. Such lransformalion lakes ¡Iace vilhin a
broader e¡ochaI change: lhe end of conservalive modernizalion as il vas defined in
ßarringlon Moore´s seminaI vork. The lrium¡hs of eIecloraI democracy,
urbanizalion, educalionaI allainmenl and increased ex¡osure lo nev and broader
consum¡lion ¡allerns have deslroyed lhe ¡oIilicaI basis of conservalive
modernizalion. WhiIe access lo arenas and slaluses lhal lurn ex¡eclalions inlo
Iegilimale demands had ex¡anded radicaIIy, access lo lhe means lo salisfy such
demands had remained slalic (unequaI and segmenled) unliI lhe end of lhe cenlury.

The so caIIed ´shifl lo lhe Iefl¨ in lhe region is lhe ¡oIilicaI oulcome of lhis second
(lhe firsl being lhe one lhal o¡ened lhe doors lo ¡o¡uIar and ¡o¡uIisl ¡oIilicaI
¡ro|ecls in lhe 40s and 50s) crisis of incor¡oralion. The ´Washinglon Consensus¨
(WC) vas indeed lhe Iasl allem¡l of incor¡oralion under conservalive
modernizalion dynamics: ¡ushing forlh democracy, educalion and incor¡oralion
inlo markel dynamics bul Ieaving unchanged and al some ¡oinls even dee¡ening
segmenlalion of o¡¡orlunily, slalus and assel encIosure, and dramalic ¡allerns of

The lurn of lhe cenlury shovs advances in sociaI oulcomes and ¡ubIic ¡oIicies lhal
for lhe firsl lime ¡rovide a lrue vindov of o¡¡orlunily for more ¡roduclive and
egaIilarian socielies. Decreasing ¡overly, Iovering income inequaIily, im¡roved and
ex¡anded em¡Ioymenl and access lo lransfers and services lo ¡o¡uIar seclors are
indeed veIcomed changes.

These oulcomes have been de¡endenl on five crilicaI aIIies, some slrucluraI, some
conlingenl and some ¡oIicy de¡endenl. In lhe firsl ¡Iace Lalin America has
ex¡erienced an exceIIenl exlernaI conlexl regarding lhe ¡rices of ils commodilies and
lhis has heI¡ed lhe economy and lransIaled inlo em¡Ioymenl. SecondIy and as a
¡osilive Iegacy of lhe WC era, ¡rices have remained slabIe, lhus gain in vages vere
nol undermined by infIalion. ThirdIy lhe slale has increased ils fiscaI ca¡acily and
commilmenl lo sociaI ¡oIicy aImosl doubIing in 15 years reaI sociaI ¡er-ca¡ila
ex¡endilure. Iour: lhe demogra¡hic lransilion ¡Iaces mosl counlries squareIy vilhin
lhe demogra¡hic bonus vhen combined de¡endency ralios are Iovesl. IinaIIy
educalion access, com¡Ielion and credenliaIs have im¡roved in mosl counlries of lhe
region, aIIoving for enhanced o¡¡orlunily and increased ¡roduclivily.

Yel lhese five aIIies viII Iose sleam in lhe nexl cou¡Ie of decades. Iirsl, Grovlh viII
remain ¡osilive, bul nol al lhe IeveIs seen in lhe ¡asl decade. Im¡Ioymenl grovlh
lhal accom¡anied economic grovlh faces bollIenecks if lhe lrade-off belveen

¡roduclion and re¡roduclion (vage vork and househoId care and vork) is nol
confronled. Second mosl economies are facing increased infIalionary ¡ressures and
lhe bonus lhal lhe firsl relreal of infIalion ¡rovided lo dislribulionaI oulcomes viII
no Ionger be lhere. ThirdIy, vilh ils ¡resenl lax slruclures and in olher cases
¡roduclivily IeveIs, sociaI ex¡endilure viII nol be abIe lo increase al lhe rale of lhe
Iasl 15 years. Iourlh: lhe easy ¡hase of lhe demogra¡hic lransilion (vhen
de¡endency rales are going dovn) is or viII be over in mosl counlries lovards 2025.
De¡endency rales viII remain in some cases Iov for a cou¡Ie of decades, bul viII no
Ionger diminish year afler year. In olher counlries de¡endency rales viII slarl lo
increase Ied by lhe grovlh of lhe oIder cohorls. Some counlries in lhe region viII face
lhe Iuro¡ean diIemma bul vilh a Iover GDI ¡er-ca¡ila, a veaker fiscaI slale and a
more unequaI sociely. Invesling in younger cohorls, vomen and chiIdren becomes
lhus a necessily and a com¡Iex dislribulionaI chaIIenge given lhe facl lhal lhe share
of lhe Iion goes usuaIIy lo conlribulory ÷yel deficil ridden- ¡ension syslems lhal
moslIy cover lhe formaI vorker and are based on lhe idea of lhe maIe breadvinner
modeI. IinaIIy vhiIe lhe sofl largels of ex¡anded educalion have been achieved
(¡rimary schooI and ex¡ansion of Iover middIe schooI), lhe lough ones remain:
exlended coverage in earIy chiIdhood, com¡Ielion of high schooI, quaIily
im¡rovemenl, and lrue reduclion of inequaIily of oulcome in Iearning.

Il is in lhis conlexl and lhese chaIIenges lhal lhe ¡ossibiIily of a nev sociaI
cilizenshi¡ based on robusl ¡ubIic goods, ex¡ansion of meril goods and universaIily
of enlilIemenls emerges. Yel il is nol enough lhal eIiles are no Ionger abIe lo conlroI
lhe ¡oIilicaI and economic game lhrough slalus encIosure and aulhorilarianism. In
order lo crafl lruIy universaI sociaI ¡oIicies narrov cor¡oralism and reslricled
largeling -and lhe ¡oIilicaI economy lhey suslain- have lo be confronled as veII.
Conlribulory modeIs based on formaI vages and largeled sociaI ¡oIicies based on
need viII nol disa¡¡ear, bul lhey have lo lake lhe back seal lo a modeI of basic
universaIism vhere access lo quaIily ¡ubIic and coIIeclive goods is lruIy universaI,
and enlilIemenls in lransfers and services are nol de¡endenl on need nor Iabor

Ior lhis lo ha¡¡en al Ieasl lhree ma|or changes or Ievers of change have lo be ¡ul in
¡Iace: i. a nev fiscaI conlracl lhal ex¡ands lhe lax base and al lhe same limes
redefines lhe drivers of lhe ex¡ansion of sociaI ¡ubIic s¡ending (from subsidies lo
cash lransfer oId age conlribulory modeIs lo vomen and chiId veIfare), ii. The
reforms of slale civiI service and lhe ex¡ansion and reforms in heaIlh care, educalion
and care syslems, increasing quaIily, efficiency and equily, and allacking bolh ¡ure
markel orienled modeIs and cor¡oralisl a¡¡ro¡rialion of lhe sociaI service
machinery, iii. The defense of coIIeclive and ¡ubIic goods. CoIIeclive goods such as
urban lrans¡orl and ¡ubIic s¡aces and ¡ubIic goods such as securily have lo be a
¡riorily, risking olhervise a conlinuous urban segregalion lhal undermines equaIily
and sociaI cohesion.

If lhis is achieved lhen ¡o¡uIar-middIe cIass aIIiance can be forged, a dislribulionaI
coaIilion lhal viII in lurn give ¡oIilicaI su¡¡orl and economic feasibiIily lo a ¡alh of
¡ros¡erily and increased equaIily of o¡¡orlunily and oulcome. If nol, lhe ¡romise

viII be shallered, and lhe ¡enduIum belveen, on lhe one hand, faiIed ¡o¡uIisl, slale
Ied ´robin hood¨ Iike incor¡oralion allem¡ls and on lhe olher, lechnocralic cIosure
of democracy, and slale bashing viII remain lhe cenlraI and lragic dynamic of lhe

C=*%(,(-$ =)01'*)%, is Senior Researcher al Informalion and SociaI Sludies Cenlre of
Uruguay (CIISU). http://www.ciesu.edu.uy
This ¡a¡er is based on Dr. IiIgueira's ¡resenlalion al lhe IU-LAC Ioundalion`s
discussion forum ´Lalin America and lhe Caribbean in lhe conlexl of changes:
O¡¡orlunilies and chaIIenges for lhe IU¨, vhich look ¡Iace in ßerIin on lhe 6
March 2014.

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