Lost on the third way

November 5, 1999

Anthony Giddens's third way ("Giddens defends third-way politics", THES, October 29) is a muddle.

First, state control does not equal "socialism" - what about the United States aerospace and defence sector or the Chilean army's industrial concerns?

Second, the idea of "balancing" the market, government and civil society sounds great. Except that lecturers, for example, want a pay rise, the markets say there is no money, and the government agrees with the markets. Some "balance".

Third, if "only a ... revisionist approach ... can cope with inequalities", how come it is taking so long?

However, it is Giddens's assertion that "the left has regarded the poor as victims" that really insults the intelligence. No, not true: more or less well-meaning liberals may do so, but the idea that only the working class can emancipate itself has been central to socialist beliefs for, oh, about 150 years now. Perhaps the effects of all this "balancing" are why Marx is again popular.

Paul Thatcher

School of languages and area studies

University of Portsmouth

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