chapter  4
17 Pages

Social policy in Belgium and the Netherlands

Third Way or not?
ByRenaat Hoop

The Third Way seems to have filled the ideological gap left by the collapse of the communist system in Eastern Europe and in recent years has obtained increasing support. Still, defining the exact meaning of the Third Way remains problematic (Alterman 1998). At times, it is not even attempted to clarify the theoretical underpinning of the Third Way; it is seen as something essentially pragmatic, a policy (Le Grand 1998). With this chapter, I would like to make a contribution towards clarifying the normative tenor and bearing of Third Way thinking. After all, even if the Third Way is indeed only a pragmatic attitude, it will still, like every practice, have been inspired by some kind of theory or philosophy. And in order to be able to properly judge the Third Way on its merits, it seems essential to bring this philosophy out into the open.