Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
KLIKSBERG, Bernardo. The social setting in Latin America and the Caribbean. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2000, vol.8, n.1-2, pp. 105-111. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892000000700014.
A wide range of sources have pointed out the magnitude and depth of the social problems that trouble Latin America and the Caribbean and the risks that these problems pose for democracy. Although there are other issues that merit consideration, this article briefly outlines nine key social problems: 1) the increase in poverty, 2) the impact of poverty, 3) unemployment and informal employment, 4) deficiencies in public health, 5) problems in education, 6) the newly poor, 7) the erosion of the family, 8) increasing crime, and 9) the perverse cycle of socioeconomic exclusion. Solving these problems must not be delayed. It is urgent to move to a comprehensive view of development that achieves a different balance between economic and social policies, and that recognizes the indispensable role of these policies in achieving truly sustainable development. At stake are problems that not only concern resources, but also priorities, levels of equity, and the organization of society. Facing up to this poverty and inequity requires an in-depth assessment of these economic policies' social consequences, of the crucial subject of Latin American inequity¾the greatest in the world¾and of the role of social and public policies.