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Against the Third Way Hardcover – 19 May 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press (19 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745626742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745626741
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 1.8 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,961,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


′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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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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