Letter: The 'fourth way'

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Sir: It may perhaps be premature to regard the Swedish experiment - the so-called 'third way' - as finally dead ('Sweden's dead-end memory lane', 21 September). There is much that is of value in this model in terms of social stability, those hidden social and economic costs that we incur in our more market-driven system, but which we often fail to recognise and evaluate.

Entry into Europe is now more likely, as Christopher Jarnvall rightly points out, now that the Social Democrats will form the government again. However, the path into Europe could presage a 'fourth way', both for Sweden and the EU, one that recognises the limitations of the market and restores those valid social objectives, such as social harmonisation and democratic participation, apparently so opposed by the British government.

A fourth way backed by Sweden's unique experience in pursuing an egalitarian order would strengthen those progressive forces that have not yet given up on finding solutions to unemployment. It would recognise that macro-economic planning plus effective implementation is still a valid objective. Thus, for example, EU-wide controls could perhaps stem the flight of capital that pits one country against another. And a concerted effort could be made to invest in those necessary public projects (spelt out by Jacques Delors) that are so glaringly obvious to all.

Yours faithfully,


Senior Lecturer

Division of Politics,

South Bank University

London, SE1

22 September