Snap judgements and rational choices

Bill Jordan

in Why the Third Way failed

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9781847426567
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304296 | DOI:
Snap judgements and rational choices

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The Third Way was a project for finding new expression for the values of socialism, feminism, antiracism, and social justice. This chapter shows that the attempt to define a new settlement of this sort was a conscious effort to transcend Margaret Thatcher's ‘property-owning democracy’, by combining individualism with egalitarianism in a new way. This involved the reconciliation of two apparently conflicting ‘cultural projects’, one concerned with personal self-realisation and rights to autonomy, the other with membership and community. The attempt to do this through abstract general principles, combined with detailed codification, legislation, regulation, prescription, reward, and punishment, marked out the Third Way as a utilitarian project, in the tradition of Jeremy Bentham. However, a politics of the common good requires both the mobilisation of snap judgements derived from social experiences and the intelligent design of a collective infrastructure that promotes solidarity.

Keywords: Margaret Thatcher; egalitarianism; social justice; Third Way; Jeremy Bentham

Chapter.  7939 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Sociology

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