“Next Left: For a New Social Deal” is the 6th volume of the popular “Next Left” book series. Published together by FEPS and Renner Institut, it includes articles that translate progressive values into a new narrative. The authors identify building blocks for a modern progressive mission. The publication reflects a year-long process of reflection, studies and peer reviews conducted within the FEPS Next Left Focus Group, which is led by the Chair of the FEPS Next Left Programme, Dr. Alfred GUSENBAUER.
A New Social Deal that emerges on the pages of this book is primarily about constructing a compromise establishing a new equilibrium between financial capitalism and the aspirations of societies. Therefore, the principle of ‘equality of autonomy of individuals’ is being examined from the angle of people’s empowerment that as essential to enable people to decisively shape and become part of a new contract-based community. This is inseparable from our commitment to solidarity and social justice; all are included and can benefit from progress and prosperity created together. A New Social Deal is therefore essentially about re-linking society, politics and economy; ensuring that politics regains its legitimacy and that it regains the primacy over economy on behalf of the people.
The volume is composed of introduction and 3 Chapters. In the first, “Shaping a New Social Contract”, A. SKRZYPEK, P. DIAMOND and I. URQUIZU confront the philosophical idea of a social contract and its main political ambitions with the reality at hand, which is shaped by the socio-economic crisis and sceptic public attitudes.
They identify possible priorities for progressive agendas on the European and national level, while asking uncomfortable questions concerning safeguarding and reforming the welfare states. The second chapter “Ensuring fair distribution of income, wealth and power” features papers by R. BAZILLIER and A. BIELSKIS, who search for valuebased arguments to prove economic credibility of a progressive, anti-austerity stand.
Finally, the third chapter “Building Progressive Alliances” examines possible alliances that social democracy could build in order to bring this New Social Deal into place. D. TSAROUHAS looks therefore at the evolution of trade unions, while J. HALPIN brings an argument that nowadays majority coalitions can only be built upon single issues. He backs his observation with analyses of the recent election campaign of President Obama.
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