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Welfare State ChangeTowards a Third Way?$
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Jane Lewis and Rebecca Surender

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199266727.001.0001

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Welfare Philosophy and the Third Way

Welfare Philosophy and the Third Way

(p.25) 2 Welfare Philosophy and the Third Way
Welfare State Change

Stuart White (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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