After the new social democracy

After the new social democracy: Social welfare for the 21st century

Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    After the new social democracy
    Book Description:

    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, After the new social democracy engages with some of the most important contemporary debates regarding the present direction and future of the Left. Drawing upon egalitarian, feminist and environmental ideas it 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. Lively and authoritative, After the new social democracy offers a distinctive contribution to political ideas. It will appeal to all of those interested in politics, philosophy, social policy and social studies.

    eISBN: 978-1-84779-077-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of figures
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Preface and acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    I cannot now remember what else I did that day. I must either have pressed on into town to my office or else bought something for lunch and returned home to work. I do recall how beautiful the day was that midmorning. How the pavements yawned and stretched under a sun clambering eagerly towards its dive into the windless blue sea of a sky. As if the light that precedes it had been scattered across the visible world, making it brighter than ever before. I also remember that the walk to the school took less than 10 minutes, or almost...

  6. Part I
    • 1 The long march back
      (pp. 11-33)

      If Eric Hobsbawm (1994) is right and the twentieth century effectively ended in 1991, then the new millennium was considerably less new by the time we were popping the corks, the balloons and, most importantly, the aspirin. And if he is also correct to portray the last century as the ‘age of extremes’, then where does this leave us? Have we become wise enough to avoid the mistakes of the past or have we simply been experiencing the interregnum before the emergence of new forms of extremism? Tony Giddens (1994) had the foresight to recognise that these alternatives are not...

    • 2 Justice and citizenship
      (pp. 34-52)

      Chapter 1 concluded by arguing that the NSD is not a counter-hegemonic strategy, because its notions of politics and political struggle are inadequate. Here we begin to examine some of the objections raised there in more depth. As noted already, our task is not to offer a comprehensive critique of the NSD, merely to investigate those features which most enable alternatives to the NSD to be imagined. In this chapter, we concentrate upon the principle of reciprocity, and associated terms such as rights and responsibilities. Effectively, my argument will be that if we are to be genuinely concerned with reciprocity...

    • 3 The security state
      (pp. 53-72)

      Chapter 2 offered not only a critique of the NSD, but also sketched alternatives to its theories of justice and citizenship. I now want to examine two further debates that will not only refer us to back to some of the other critiques offered in Chapter 1, but will also act as a platform for Chapter 8 when we examine an important aspect of ecowelfare. Here, the intention is not so much to analyse the principles of community, meritocracy, reciprocity and inclusion as to understand the means by which the NSD seeks to secure and enforce these principles. The first...

    • 4 Social democracy in Europe
      (pp. 73-92)

      The NSD’s defenders have quite a devastating card up their sleeve, one which I mentioned in the introductory chapter. Whatever the merits of the last three chapters’ criticisms – and they would no doubt reject all or most of them – there is an argument which potentially trumps them all.

      It does not matter whether equality of powers or diverse reciprocity or whatever triumph on the page, what matters is what we can do in the real world, according to existing circumstances. And if you look at the present social, economic and political conjuncture, you will see that the circumstances are not...

  7. Part II
    • 5 Productivism and beyond
      (pp. 95-109)

      In Part I, we began by outlining the main principles of the NSD, using New Labour as our exemplar. I outlined the major criticisms and argued that the main problem with the NSD is that, although it should not be equated with conservatism, it fails to establish a distinct and convincing alternative to the conservative hegemony. Chapter 2 began to substantiate this position, defining the NSD as support for weak equality and strong reciprocity, in contrast to an alternative theory of distributive justice (equality of powers plus diverse reciprocity) that I believe a more radical politics should aim towards. Chapter...

    • 6 A model of ecowelfare
      (pp. 110-129)

      Post-productivism is therefore opposed to the social dominance of waged work, as this involves neglecting the reproductive value of emotional and ecological labour. As such, productivism has begun to reach the limits of itself because of its increasing inability to reproduce its own conditions. Like a dying star, productivism survives by consuming the waste that it has produced, it absorbs the consequences of too little care and too little sustainability by attempting to convert them into further sources of productivity. But these waste products are no substitutes for a proper ethics of care and sustainability, ethics that guide us beyond...

    • 7 The welfare of future generations
      (pp. 130-152)

      In Chapter 7 we examine one of the many possible links between sustainability and distributive justice (B. Barry, 1999). For instance, we could look at issues of international justice, i.e. between developed and developing worlds, or we could explore the extent to which the concept of justice is applicable to the non-human world. However, despite the relevance of those debates, the issues of sustainability and justice are thrown into sharper relief by addressing the following question: what does it mean to act with justice towards future generations and what might this imply for social policy?

      The debate concerning future generations...

    • 8 The new genetics
      (pp. 153-175)

      The next link in the ecowelfare triangle concerns attention and sustainability. Again, there are many ways in which these two principles might connect. Of particular importance is the debate concerning genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and biodiversity. Does sustainability require the acceptance of the GMOs or their rejection in favour of organic production? How can we recognise and ensure the maintenance of biodiversity without losing the potential benefits of genetic technology? These are all worthwhile questions that others have begun to address over the last few years (Shiva, 2000a, 2000b) but, having concentrated upon ‘external’ nature in the preceding two chapters, I...

    • 9 Democratising welfare
      (pp. 176-200)

      Finally, we turn our attention to what I call welfare democracy and, in the account that follows, I argue that this is a means of bringing together the principles of attention and distributive justice. In Chapter 6, we saw that the principles overlap without either being reducible to the other and, although these ideas will no doubt continue to be discussed by social theorists in years to come, there is a need to debate the possible policy implications of these principles, a need that is generally being neglected. Our aim in this chapter is not to establish the full range...

  8. Conclusion
    (pp. 201-208)

    Chapter 1 argued that although it is simplistic to equate New Labour with conservatism, both it and the NSD which it represents fail to offer a real alternative to the conservative hegemony. The NSD has inserted itself into a mainstream agenda where being tough on problem individuals is thought to be more moral than being tough on social problems. This has helped to consolidate what I called the ‘age of mainstreams’, a shrinking of the social imagination around the extremist Centre. However, rather than cause us to abandon social democratic thought, we should detect within it a genuinely radical potential....

  9. References
    (pp. 209-229)
  10. Index
    (pp. 230-232)