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Anthony Giddens' "The Third Way". Essay

3553 words - 14 pages

Anthony Giddens is the Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science and belongs to the most important personalities of contemporary world sociology. He is the author or editor over thirty books. Until today his work, and most of all the book Beyond Left and Right (Polity Press, 1994), has influenced discussions on searching new political patterns and renewal of social democracy in many countries across the world. Giddens is often presented as the ideological father, the guru of Tony Blair. He has influenced the evolution of the so called New Labour. In 1998 Giddens published another book which refers to this topic called The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy. After the demise of the Soviet block and the end of Cold War it represented one of the first and most comprehensive analyses of the new version of the Third Way policy and reflected the actual world situation and problems of the western countries. Although it remains up-to-date, it was necessary to re-assess some of the Giddens´ thoughts in the light of the events of the last two years.At the very beginning of the book Giddens shows the development of socialism as well as of the political left, that have been always linked together. He describes origins of socialism in the second half of the 18th century and looks for the basic features of the old-style or classical social democracy (the so called "old left"). Socialism in the West became dominated by social democracy - moderate, parliamentary socialism. According to him its main goal is the welfare state. From the half of the 1970s there is an alternative represented by the neoliberal doctrine (Thatcherism or Reaganism, the so called "new right"). Both approaches are currently facing a crisis. According to Giddens neoliberalism creates new risks and uncertainties and asks citizens to ignore them; the number of problems created today by the welfare state is the same as the one that this state resolves according to him. In the 1980s and 90s began a discussion on the reform of social democracy, that for instance in the Great Britain lead to the admission of a document called "Labour Party´s Policy Review" in 1997, in Norway to the "Freedom Debate" of the local labour party between 1986 and 1988, in Italy to the founding of the Democratic Party of the Left in 1991 or in Germany to adopting of a new "Basic Program for the SPD" in 1989. The Third Way is a way distinct from American market capitalism and Soviet communism, according to Giddens "It is a third way in the sense that it is an attempt to transcend both old-style social democracy and neoliberalism."Giddens sees five current basic dilemmas of the social democracy policy. These are the problems of globalization, individualism, left and right, political agency and ecology.Phenomenon of GlobalizationGiddens sees such an importance in the actual process of globalization of the whole world, that one certain part of the book is dedicated to the problem....

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