By Tony Fitzpatrick
Social democracy has made a political comeback in recent times, in particular below the impact of the 3rd manner. despite the fact that, now not every body in convinces that 3rd method social democracy is the simplest technique of reviving the Left's venture. This booklet explains why and provides another method. Bringing jointly a variety of social and political theories this ebook engages with the most very important modern debates concerning the current path and way forward for the Left.
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Extra info for After the new social democracy: social welfare for the twenty-first century
For the redistribution of opportunities to be successful, people must take up the opportunities on offer; they must either want to do so because of incentives, or must be made to do so through a series of disincentives and deterrents. Mutual obligations to the community are therefore emphasised without the old Leftist tendency to confuse communal standards with egalitarian criteria and without the conservative preference for judging obligations through the lens of the free market. Yet this combination of weak equality and strong reciprocity leaves New Labour vulnerable to a charge of inconsistency and even hypocrisy.
Giddens (2000: 31; 2001: 3) briefly considers this possibility only to reject it – since accepting it might imply that the old social democracy is not so redundant after all – by ultimately appealing to a deus ex machina that supposedly reinforces the superiority of Third Way politics: the advent of globalisation and information society as that which allegedly renders all other strategies obsolete (Giddens and Hutton, 2000: 45–51). As noted in the introduction, the NSD therefore appeals to a TINA logic (‘There Is No Alternative’) which represents the intolerant closure of the social imagination, what I have elsewhere called the ‘extremist Centre’ (Fitzpatrick, 2002a), in stark contrast to the pioneering self-image that it likes to project.
In reality, the means determine the ends (Leys, 2001: Ch. 4). Introducing private provision into public services subtly alters the nature of the latter by introducing commercial, competitive and profit-oriented values and standards into the public sphere. This may or may not be desirable, but the issue of whether it is cannot be sidestepped through a ‘common sense’ appeal to pragmatism. If these objections are fair – and we will return to some of them throughout Part I – then we need to redefine the NSD.
After the new social democracy: social welfare for the twenty-first century by Tony Fitzpatrick