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:
“The prostitute is the scapegoat for everyones sins, and few people care whether she is justly treated or not. Good people have spent thousands of pounds in efforts to reform her, poets have written about her, essayists and orators have made her the subject of some of their most striking rhetoric; perhaps no class of people has been so much abused, and alternatively sentimentalized over as prostitutes have been but one thing they have never yet had, and that is simple legal justice.”
—Alison Neilans. Justice for the ProstituteLady Astors Bill, Equal Rights (September 19, 1925)
“Every reform was once a private opinion, and when it shall be a private opinion again, it will solve the problem of the age.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Letters are above all useful as a means of expressing the ideal self; and no other method of communication is quite so good for this purpose.... In letters we can reform without practice, beg without humiliation, snip and shape embarrassing experiences to the measure of our own desires....”
—Elizabeth Hardwick (b. 1916)