The paper begins with a brief overview of the present social situation of Latin America, arguing that during the 1980s the widespread poverty and deep social inequality already existing in the region further increased. After this the paper reviews several strategies that could be used by would-be reformers, pointing out the potentialities but also the limitations of these strategies. Consequently the present text examines the broad contours of political coalitions that might be able to deal reasonably effectively with poverty and inequality. The paper concludes by arguing that the only possible foundation for these strategies and coalitions is a morally and democratically inspired view of the respect due to the dignity of every human being. The likelihood of such an emergence is not assessed. RESUMEN El texto comienza con una breve síntesis de la actual situación social de América Latina, argumentando que durante la década del 80 se agudizaron aun mas los problemas de extensa pobreza y de profunda desigualdad preexistentes. A continuación el texto analiza alguna de las estrategias que podrían ser utilizadas por actores empeñados en mejorar esta situación
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