Magnus Ryner
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Why the financial crisis has not generated a social democratic alternative in Europe?
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This chapter argues that the perhaps counter-intuitive absence of social democracy as a contending political agent after the financial crisis is not a coincidence. The key argument that Anthony Giddens advanced in The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy is summarised by two slogans: 'no rights without responsibilities' and 'no authority without democracy'. The Third Way emerged as an ideological concept of European social democracy in the mid 1990s. This was largely as a result of Tony Blair's ascent to leadership of the British Labour Party and his subsequent electoral victory in 1997. The chapter outlines the attendant detrimental effects that have been corrosive for European social democracy. This includes the cataclysmic effects of the financial crisis itself. It also includes the long-standing effects of economic stagnation in the European Union and the political effects arising from the disillusion of the democratic ethos that underpinned the Third Way.

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