Welfare Philosophy and the Third Way

Stuart White

in Welfare State Change

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780199266722
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601941 | DOI:
Welfare Philosophy and the Third Way

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Critics of the Third Way in welfare argue that it represents a break with the philosophy of the welfare state characteristic of mainstream social democracy. They argue that the Third Way is not genuinely egalitarian. They argue that it embodies ideas about personal responsibility and social duty that are incompatible with a social democratic commitment to a welfare state founded on ‘social rights’. This paper considers these claims. It argues that central Third Way claims about the balancing of rights and responsibilities do in fact fit with the mainstream traditions of social democratic welfare philosophy. However, Third Way thinkers do indeed aspire to a much less ambitious kind of egalitarianism than was aspired to by past generations of social democratic thinkers.

Keywords: egalitarianism; new labour; social democracy; social rights; Third Way

Chapter.  9702 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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