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Against the Third Way [Paperback]

Alex Callinicos
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

19 May 2001
The Third Way is the political philosophy of Tony Blair and New Labour in Britain, Bill Clinton in the United States, and Gerhard Schroder in Germany. Defended most forcefully by Anthony Giddens, it claims to offer a strategy for renewing the Centre Left that avoids the free–market liberalism of the New Right and the state socialism of the Old Left. In Against the Third Way Alex Callinicos develops a fundamental critique of this philosophy. He argues that Third Way governments have continued the neoliberal policies of their conservative predecessors. They have promoted the interests of the multinational corporations, privatized areas where Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher dared not go, and allowed social and economic inequality to continue growing. Callinicos also attacks the theoretical underpinnings of the Third Way. He challenges the idea that the ′knowledge economy′ is freeing us from the contradictions of capitalism, denies that New Labour has coherent strategies for achieving greater equality or reconciling the interests of individual and community, and argues that what is called ′political globalization′ – the higher profile of international institutions such as NATO, the IMF, and the WTO – masks the assertion of American imperial power. The best hope for the Left, Callinicos contends, lies in the emergence of an international movement against global capitalism with the protests at Seattle, Prague, and elsewhere. Those who want to see real change should be challenging the logic of the market rather than, like Blair and Clinton, extending its dominion.


Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press (19 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745626750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745626758
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 13.7 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

′Callinicos presents a fundamentalist leftist critique of "third way philosophy", and argues that international protests against global capitalism provide the model for the future development of the left. Think of Callinicos as a somewhat more cerebral and decidedly more hardline Naomi Klein.′ The Bookseller ′Callinicos′s short book is a goldmine. In the space available he offers analysis of, among other things, economic globalisation, the "IT revolution" and its role in the recent US boom, the limits (and possibilities) of state action, the "new world order" and the various "humanitarian" wars of interventions of recent years, the "moral agenda" within Third Way politics, and trends towards "global governance". In each case he displays an immense grasp of a wide range of sources and presents often complex arguments in an accessible manner ... Callinicos′s book should become an essential part of our armour – buy it, read it, use it.′ The Socialist Review ′[A] theoretical critique of the Blairite model of modernisation is offered by Alex Callinicos in Against the Third Way , which is unforgiving of those who seek to blur the distinctions between left and right.′ Mark Perryman, New Statesman ′This is not just [a] book about ideas but about the political economy and sociology of capitalism underlying them.′ Millennium

From the Back Cover

The Third Way is the political philosophy of Tony Blair and New Labour in Britain, Bill Clinton in the United States, and Gerhard Schröder in Germany. Defended most forcefully by Anthony Giddens, it claims to offer a strategy for renewing the Centre Left that avoids the free–market liberalism of the New Right and the state socialism of the Old Left. In Against the Third Way Alex Callinicos develops a fundamental critique of this philosophy. He argues that Third Way governments have continued the neoliberal policies of their conservative predecessors. They have promoted the interests of the multinational corporations, privatized areas where Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher dared not go, and allowed social and economic inequality to continue growing. Callinicos also attacks the theoretical underpinnings of the Third Way. He challenges the idea that the ′knowledge economy′ is freeing us from the contradictions of capitalism, denies that New Labour has coherent strategies for achieving greater equality or reconciling the interests of individual and community, and argues that what is called ′political globalization′ – the higher profile of international institutions such as NATO, the IMF, and the WTO – masks the assertion of American imperial power. The best hope for the Left, Callinicos contends, lies in the emergence of an international movement against global capitalism with the protests at Seattle, Prague, and elsewhere. Those who want to see real change should be challenging the logic of the market rather than, like Blair and Clinton, extending its dominion.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Taking up the Gauntlet 26 Nov 2001
Format:Paperback
This work aims to examine and debunk Blair's "third way". Callinicos looks at Blairite claims to be renewing the Left, and central to this is a discussion of the meaning of two key concepts - equality and community.
Callinicos points out that "an emphasis on values - in particular that of community -- has been a persistent feature of Blair's leadership of the Labour Party. Early on he sought to appropriate a traditional conservative concern with social cohesion". (p.45) As the author points out, however, community is a contested concept. The NuLab version uses a notion of community (never clearly defined) as the basis for overriding traditional and individual rights. Callinicos accuses Giddens of advocating overriding the liberties of the few in the alleged interest of the many". (p.60) There is a strong streak of authoritarianism in NuLab's vision of community. The emphasis on "public safety" through ever greater police powers and CCTV schemes which somehow never seem to deliver the security promised is a worry.
The other problem Blair and Giddens have is that the neo-liberal economic policies they advocate and pursue undermine the very community they claim to care so much about. This is not entirely lost on them. Giddens is quoted recognising that "nothing is more dissolving of tradition than the 'permanent revolution' of market forces. The dynamism of market societies undermines traditional structures of authority and fractures local communities... Moreover, it neglects the social basis of markets themselves which depend upon the very communal forms that market fundamentalism indifferently throws to the winds." (p.
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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "third-way" is proving to be the wrong way. 9 Sep 2005
By Na'avi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The third way is the response of previously liberal parties (Democratic in U.S. - Labour in Britain, and others) to the right-ward shift that began in the early 80's (Reagan,Thatcher, etc.). In hindsight, it has NOT benefited the the masses of people around the world who are finding themselves increasingingly disenfranchised by the wealthy elite corporatists.

This book is a valuable counter-argument to the "third-way" which, in effect, has rendered democracies "choiceless" in regards to the corporate over-run of our world.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read rather than rant 14 Feb 2004
By Jack Vogel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a place for reviews, but since this book rating
has been poisoned by a person who just wants to regurgitate
the same tired cliches from the liberal establishment I couldnt
resist.
The hope for our future as a country, a people, indeed a race,
depends on finding a way beyond the endless war, suffering, and
destruction of our planet that we see all around us.
Its time for going beyond the fear our leaders use to keep the
old game going, when they say "here be serpents" that probably
means there's some useful things to learn there. I DARE you to
go read it and think for yourself..
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars why Keynes' variation on Capitalism will not work either 4 Oct 2012
By KDelphi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Capitalism is simply an ancient relic that those with privilege like to cling to. It is dying, and, the sooner, the better.
1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pathetic leftist trash 27 Dec 2007
By . - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a prime example of someone who is a filthy leftist who wants more and more power to himself. Again a prime example of someone wanting more power just like the pathetic conservatives doing the exact same thing. Whether it'd be Thatcher or some leftist nut like Chavez, these types of people will always damage their economy. The Third Way is the answer as it uses economic values along with addressing the individuals well being. Screw left & the right. Its time to be fair and stay in the middle of things
5 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Reinventing a bad idea 14 Mar 2003
By MiltonF - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Most critiques of capitalism are not critiques of capitalism at all, but rather attacks on privilege and the privileged. Well I'm a vehement capitalist and I don't care for the privileged few who think it their right to make the "rules of the game", either.
Market socialism is not an answer to the failed socialist experiments of the past, but just a way to destroy freedom with a flanked attack as opposed to the planned economies of the past which destroyed markets (an hence freedom) with a frontal assault.
Better men have a say on this topic as well.
"Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself."
- Milton Friedman
"All people, however fanatical they may be in their zeal to disparage and to fight capitalism, implicitly pay homage to it by passionately clamoring for the products it turns out."
- Ludwig von Mises
I wonder how Mr. Callinicos gets from place to place, or what he wears, or who built the home in which he lives, or who produced the food he eats? It never ceases to amaze me that the leftists who rail against capitalism, ignorantly partake dialy in the wonderous wealth and comfort it creates. If capitalism is so evil, build your own home, sew your own clothes, assemble your own car, and grow your own food.
As a final word:
"Classic liberals abhor the extreme ends of the political economic spectrum, those who would take by force that to which they are not entitled, the collectivists, and those who would use their economic and political power to limit the opportunities of others, the privileged."
- Michael Balongie
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