The Third Way to a Good Society

Sociale wetenschappen (44e jaargang 2001 nummer 3), 5.

36 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2012

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: 2001


The Third Way debate has, so far, not been very successful. While governments across the world search for a new political synthesis, the theoretical debate has offered little to those interested in a new framework for progressive politics. This essay presents an account of what the Third Way really means, and roots it in a communitarian vision of the good society. It argues that such societies achieve a dynamic balance between state, market and community, and blends theoretical discussion with the practical implications of such an approach. At the core of the analysis is the idea that the Third Way is an ethical position that seeks to treat people as ends in themselves. While flexibility and pragmatism are important to the new politics, they should be understood as components of a broader framework, in which social progress is measured by more than the accumulation of material goods. How do we manage devolution successfully? What approach should government take to inequality? What is the proper relationship between rights and responsibilities? The essay illuminates these and other issues, and calls for a broad-ranging moral dialogue to address them.

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, The Third Way to a Good Society (2001). Sociale wetenschappen (44e jaargang 2001 nummer 3), 5.. Available at SSRN:

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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