What is the Third Way?



The Third Way has been described as arguably ‘one of the most successful theoretical and political strategies’ to have emerged in the contemporary period (Geyer, 2003: 237). Similarly, ‘the debate about the third way has become the most important reform discourse in the European party landscape’ (Merkel, 2001). For supporters, it ‘stands for a modernised social democracy, passionate in its commitment to social justice and the goals of the centre-left, but flexible, innovative and forward-looking in the means to achieve them’ (Blair, 1998d: 1). Moreover, it is portrayed as a form of ‘ethical socialism’ that represents ‘the only serious view of the Left’s future that can remain’ after the substantial changes in the international political economy environment at the cusp of twentieth and twenty-first centuries (Blair, 1994: 3). However, critics contend that the Third Way is in essence an example of Thatcherite revisionism (Hay, 1994, 1999), where principles are abandoned in a cynical attempt to secure political power — in essence, ‘the great moving nowhere show’ (Hall, 1998).


Labour Market Foreign Direct Investment Monetary Policy Welfare State Full Employment 
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Copyright information

© Philip Whyman 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heaton Norris, StockportUK

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