In accordance with the mandate it received at the twenty-third session, in this document the secretariat has attempted to delve further into the links among technical progress, international competitiveness and social equity, although it does not, certainly, purport to have exhausted these subjects. Two qualifying remarks are called for here. First, the secretariat is deliberately abstaining from becoming embfoiled in the theoretical aspects of a controversy which has raged for centuries, and particularly since the French revolution, i.e., the debate surrounding the cause-and-effect relationships and possible areas of incompatibility among democratic governance, economic stability, growth and well-being. Rather than concerning itself with doctrine, the secretariat prefers to deal with the realities confronting virtually all the Governments of the region. These realities include the need to resume a sustained (and
environmentally sustainable) growth process within the framework of the
consolidation of pluralistic, democratic societies -societies that are faced with very real demands to address the many ways in which the majority of the population has been bypassed by development.
Secondly, no attempt has been made in this document to provide a list of suitable policies for changing production patterns or for attaining greater social equity. Instead, the focus is on how certain pivotal analytical and policy aspects can be linked within an integrated approach so as to reinforce any existing areas of complementarity between efforts to achieve greater growth and efforts to seek
greater social equity. This approach highlights the central tenet of the document: that growth, social equity and democracy can be compatible. What is more, there are significant but as yet largely unexplored areas in which social equity and changing production patterns complement and reinforce one another.