Reform means the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc. The use of the word in this way emerges in the late 1700’s and is believed to originate from Christopher Wyvill’s Association movement which identified “Parliamentary Reform” as its primary aim.
Reform is generally distinguished from revolution. The latter means basic or radical change; whereas reform may be no more than fine tuning, or at most redressing serious wrongs without altering the fundamentals of the system. Reform seeks to improve the system as it stands, never to overthrow it wholesale. Radicals on the other hand, seek to improve the system, but try to overthrow whether it be the government or a group of people themselves.
Rotation in office or term limits would, by contrast, be more revolutionary, in altering basic political connections between incumbents and constituents.
Developing countries may carry out a wide range of reforms to improve their living standards, often with support from international financial institutions and aid agencies. This can include reforms to macroeconomic policy, the civil service, and public financial management.
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Famous quotes containing the word reform:
“... most reform movements in our country have been cursed by a lunatic fringe and have mingled sound ideas for social progress with utopian nonsense.”
—Agnes E. Meyer (18871970)
“It is doubtless wise, when a reform is introduced, to try to persuade the British public that it is not a reform at all; but appearances must be kept up to some extent at least.”
—George Bernard Shaw (18561950)
“People who love soft methods and hate iniquity forget this,that reform consists in taking a bone from a dog. Philosophy will not do it.”
—John Jay Chapman (18621933)