Today Western societies are undergoing an important process of change characterized not only by globalization and opening of goods and currency markets but also by deep transformations of cultural and political values. Particularly, many of the principles on which government policies were based during the 1960s and 1970s are being revised, and even the viability of the Welfare State itself, as presently constructed, is now in question. Behind the ideological arguments about the greater or lesser role of the state, there appears to be a general consensus on the need for reform in order to reduce budget costs and improve the efficiency of delivery of government policies. It is a matter of political debate whether such reform should be dictated by de-regulation and the retreat of the state and the return of civil society (neoliberal position) or by a reorientation of the regulatory role of the state to guarantee equity and the general interest (social democratic position). Both schools of thought, however, consider reform as necessary.