chapter
Book II. The Politics of Abolition (1974)
Pages 204

Negative reforms are changes which abolish or remove greater or smaller parts on which the system in general is more or less dependent. A negative reform may soften public criticism, and thereby in a way improve the system's basis of legitimacy. For example, the abolition of forced labour in Norway probably had such a consequence. But the negative, abolishing reform does not provide the system with a new, positive addition of legitimacy. Still more intimate neutralizing combinations exist, and the danger is particularly great when the critic loses sight of the positive neutralizing reforms because of the effective propaganda from the system for the negative reform. Eagerness and direct initiative on the part of the system to carry the negating reform into effect may generally be taken as a sign that a neutralizing positive reform is hidden behind the negating reform.