[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Social Development Enterprise, a concept and typology that we apply to the provision of the public service of water and sanitation in Latin America, is defined on the basis of the principal of commitment (to the development of the society in which they operate). This principal is articulated through three essential criteria: transparency, productivity and participation. It is these that characterize the Social Development Enterprise.The practical application can be described, subject to the peculiarities of each society and each zone in which it is applied. Firstly, the dissemination of information through the Web, complemented by dissemination through other methods as the opportunity arises and according to the possibilities of each society. Secondly, the constitution or strengthening of local users organizations, such as “boards of water”. Thirdly, the organization of the interaction according to the social and cultural characteristics of each society. This articulation will not be to take decisions but rather to enable participation, the awareness of problems and worries of the users, and will be organized in this fashion. Its functioning will have some obstacles; we go through the nine most common of these, some of which come from personal experience. Finally, we show that the application of the concept of the Social Development Enterprise contributes and strengthens real democracy. Also proposing a resolution of the contradiction between the teaching of business administration, which is presented and exercised in an undemocratic way, and the current expectation of society over the universality and transversality of democracy where public services are involved.
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