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The Future of Regions: Why the Competitiveness Imperative Should not Prevail over Solidarity, Sustainability and Democracy

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The thesis here submitted for debate and criticism is as follows: if today's governing principles that inspire policy choices and priority setting in our societies (which claim to be “knowledge- based societies”) are to remain in place in the course of the coming five to ten years, the relative position of the less developed regions (and cities) vis-à-vis the most developed ones will again deteriorate, even though per capita real purchasing power might also slightly increase in the less developed regions. The if-hypothesis, however, is not the only possible pattern of future developments. Because present economic and political leaders are, in general, the promoters and supporters of today's predominant principles, the only way to make possible alternative future developments based on solidarity, sustainability and democracy is that citizens themselves take the initiative, locally and globally, to modify present practices and define new goals and new priorities. In consideration of the results obtained in recent years by civil social movements and protests, one may reasonably consider it as a possible scenario.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0435-3684.2000.00074.x

Affiliations: Catholic University of Louvain

Publication date: August 1, 2000

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