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Social welfare for the twenty-first century

Social democracy has made a political comeback in recent years, especially under the influence of the ‘Third Way’. Not everyone is convinced, however, that ‘Third Way’ social democracy is the best means of reviving the Left's project. This book considers this dissent and offers an alternative approach. Bringing together a range of social and political theories, it engages with some contemporary debates regarding the present direction and future of the Left. Drawing upon egalitarian, feminist and environmental ideas, the book proposes that the social democratic tradition can be renewed but only if the dominance of conservative ideas is challenged more effectively. It explores a number of issues with this aim in mind, including justice, the state, democracy, new technologies, future generations and the advances in genetics.

Tony Fitzpatrick

point in mind we can proceed to a brief overview of Bauman’s account of globalisation, since Bauman captures very succinctly TZP3 4/25/2005 54 4:51 PM Page 54 After the new social democracy the kind of social and spatial polarities that are crucial to understanding the security state and so to understanding recent developments in the US and UK. I will be assuming that globalisation is an economic, political and social reality, but one that can accommodate a much wider range of ideological trajectories than those proposed by conservatives and new social

in After the new social democracy
Open Access (free)
Tony Fitzpatrick

ego creep back into the following pages, perhaps as compensation for the fact that writing is a lonely business, but mainly because when addressing the contemporary state of social democracy, and trying to point out where you think it’s going wrong, some soapbox oratory is impossible to avoid. But hopefully the egoism does not get in the way of the book’s main purpose: to make connections. The world is a frightening place at the moment (though when was it not?) filled with people who seem to imagine that what it is really missing is another set of fundamentalist

in After the new social democracy
Open Access (free)
Tony Fitzpatrick

in the tendency to regard liberal democracy as the final stage of modernity, rather than as a key but transitional stage in the democratisation of society. This assumption is latent within Marshall’s famous account, where social rights are thought to complete the journey towards full citizenship such that the conjunction of market, democratic and welfarist institutions represents TZP9 4/25/2005 178 4:57 PM Page 178 After the new social democracy the summit of the modern project (Marshall and Bottomore, 1992). Whatever the specifics of Marshall’s theory, he

in After the new social democracy
Open Access (free)
Tony Fitzpatrick

evading the conceptual barriers between Left and Right, public and private, state and market, justice and efficiency, security and flexibility, equality and freedom. It is this radicalisation that Giddens refers to as the NSD.1 By transcending these dichotomies – rather than simply trading off between them – we provide ourselves with an alternative not only to the ‘Old Left’ and ‘New Right’, but also to the siren TZP1 4/25/2005 12 4:49 PM Page 12 After the new social democracy calls of nationalist, ethnic and religious fundamentalists. For if we can find a way to

in After the new social democracy
Open Access (free)
Tony Fitzpatrick

appeals to some notion of proceduralism (see below) where what is important is common adherence to just rules rather than the manipulation of outcomes, yet without the prominence that market libertarians give to entitlement, since reciprocity preserves the notion of moral desert (cf. Gauthier, 1986). Procedural justice Here, the most convincing account remains that of Nozick (1974) who contrasts procedural theory with ‘end-state’ theories of justice. Procedural- TZP2 4/25/2005 36 4:50 PM Page 36 After the new social democracy ism is concerned with the means that

in After the new social democracy
Open Access (free)
Tony Fitzpatrick

This chapter discusses the differences between productivism and post-productivism in relation to social democracy. It shows that while post-productivism does not abandon the aims of increases in growth, productivity and well-being, it does recontextualise them in terms of what are called reproductive values. These values refer to the ecological and social conditions of a productive economy or conditions which that economy is increasingly unable to replenish. This chapter highlights the role of ecowelfare in guiding social democracy in the direction of a post-employment society.

in After the new social democracy
Open Access (free)
Tony Fitzpatrick

(equality of powers plus diverse reciprocity) that I believe a more radical politics should aim towards. Chapter 3 argued that the NSD derives from and embeds a security state that has remodelled the welfare state and reconfigured needs as risks and fears; the security state was then further explored in terms of New Labour’s approach to information and ICTs. In the last chapter I then questioned the scope of the NSD, showing that ‘old’ social democracy is still very much alive, though not without difficulties. However, I also suggested that productivist reforms are not

in After the new social democracy
Open Access (free)
Tony Fitzpatrick

This chapter offers a summary and critique of the new social democracy (NSD), focusing on the New Labour as the best exemplar of these ideas. It explains that the NSD is based upon five key principles: community, meritocracy, reciprocity, inclusion and pragmatism. This chapter suggests that community only offers a middle way between collectivism/egalitarianism and individualism, meritocracy is too weak a principle, and responsibility and reciprocity are far more complex than new social democrats imagine. It argues that the NSD is not a new politics, but is at best the first steps on a long march back towards truly progressive ideals, one from which valuable lessons can be learned, if only about how not to proceed.

in After the new social democracy
Tony Fitzpatrick

to be the cure. So, over the last couple of chapters I have stressed the importance of care work and sustainability, on the basis that these continue to be underemphasised by social democrats, old as well as new. In addition to distributive justice, these are the philosophical foundations of an ecowelfare politics, of a post-productivist social democracy. We have already addressed the main features of distributive justice in Chapter 2 and so our task here, in the following two sections, is to give an account of care and sustainability. I will then provide a simple

in After the new social democracy