The Promise of the Third Way: Globalization and Social Justice

By Otto Newman | Go to book overview

2
Social Democracy

The varied traditions of socialism

The socialist tradition that developed in the latter half of the nineteenth century consisted of three main pathways. First, were the followers of Marx. They accepted his revolutionary prognosis, that capitalism was ultimately incapable of meaningful reform, and so its rejection, through revolutionary means by the active agency of a self-conscious working class, was vital. Secondly, came the democratic socialists who largely retained Marx's analysis of capitalism, of class domination and exploitation, but who nevertheless saw that the system could be democratically reformed from within, so recourse to revolutionary means was unnecessary. Their task on winning power would be to socialize the means of production. Finally, there existed social democracy. As Paterson and Thomas note: ‘It was essentially a way of distinguishing between the minority of democrats who were also socialists and the majority of democrats who were not . . .’ ( Paterson and Thomas, 1986: 1). Social democrats rejected the Marxist analysis as deficient in its methodology, conceptualization and predictive qualities, arguing that capitalism was adaptable and could be democratically reformed through the ballot box. Their goal was greater material and social equality through redistributing the surplus generated by capital by means of progressive taxation. The economy consisting of both a private and public sector would remain capitalistic, as the outright social ownership of production was deemed unnecessary. However, the democratic state would exercise control over property relations, including, where necessary, outright public ownership, as the state did not conceal class relations and class rule, but was the means for the realization of a socialist society.

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The Promise of the Third Way: Globalization and Social Justice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Part I - The Background to the Third Way 1
  • 1 - Capitalism and Socialism 3
  • 2 - Social Democracy 22
  • 3 - The End of Socialism? 47
  • Part II - The Post-Cold War Era 75
  • 4 - The Triumph of the Market Economy 77
  • 5 - The Third Way 98
  • 6 - Third Way Critique 112
  • Part III - New Times: the Way Ahead 131
  • 7 - Social Antecedents: Communitarianism, Stakeholder Society and Social Exclusion 133
  • 8 - The European Connection 162
  • 9 - American Exceptionalism Again? 182
  • 10 - The Promise of the Third Way 211
  • Select Bibliography 243
  • Index 250
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