Beyond the Third Way: New Challenges for Critical Adult and Community Education.
Radical Learning for Liberation 2.
Maynooth Adult and Community Education, Maynooth, pp. 109-129.
ISBN 978 0 901519 33 7
In the mid-nineties, when I was trying to make convincing connections between community development and adult education, the neo-liberal tendencies in the sector profoundly disturbed me. All over Ireland, local and community development groups were springing up, developing strategic plans for their areas. While some of these plans were genuinely consultative and indisputably concerned with poverty and inequality, many were purely economic, demonstrating little concern for social issues, The elements of the neo-liberal tendencies included the alliance with The Third Way, the neo-liberal ideology of economics, which entails going beyond Left and Right, and promoting the 'what works' strategy. Giddens has been highly influential in devising this ideological strategy, laying the foundation for the emergence of New Labour type politics that has prevailed in Ireland, the UK and the USA under Clinton (Giddens, 1994). However, this centrist positioning overtly supported corporate power, at the expense of the poor, and pushed the privatisation of all kinds of services, such as the health service, to the detriment of the public service. A key example in lreiand was the privatisation of the telecommunications.
services. The short-term effect was to substitute communal ownership with corporate ownership and shareholders, but in the long term, outcomes to the service users are disastrous. No broadband nationally, high prices for terrestrial communications and the highest costs in Europe for mobile phone users.
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