Social Panorama of Latin America 1999-2000

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What are the objective reasons why so many Latin Americans do not feel safe and see themselves as being defenceless? Does the Occupational stratification engendered by current patterns of development promote social mobility and the growth of the middle class? In an effort to answer these questions, this publication examines the deterioration of conditions in the labour market. It also looks at the available means of accessing social services, with emphasis on the types of public policies needed to tackle the problems of social vulnerability and poverty. It presents analysis of occupational stratification, indicates what percentages of the labour force fall into high-, middle- and low-income groups and explores how these phenomena are related to educational and household income levels. It also discusses how the level and coverage of pension systems affect income distribution in Latin America.



Social policy for dealing with vulnerability and poverty

As governments have begun to include in their policies the objective of reducing vulnerability as part of the struggle against poverty, they have had to face new challenges in the economic and social spheres. This means that economic policy needs to secure more dynamic and stable growth and a substantial rise in the productivity of small enterprises and microbusinesses, which are obviously here to stay. At the same time, the coverage, range and efficiency of social policies must be improved in order to reduce poverty and social vulnerability. Thus, attention must be turned once again to the low- and middle-income sectors of society which have been neglected because of excessively narrow targeting and are now largely defenceless in the face of frequent economic recessions and the new institutional structures that govern access to social services.


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