Many formulations called “third way” have been advanced over many years. These denote a variety of things. In the 1930’s, “third way” generally referred to “mixed economy,” or a synthesis of socialism and capitalism. By the 1990’s, the understanding was that “third way” was a synthesis of conservative and progressive ideas, with a very explicit understanding that all this operates within a capitalist economy. This is an example of what they call moving the goalpost.
More generally, third ways get suggested when someone wishes to suggest a third alternative to a supposed dichotomy. Hence we have third parties, third genders, third sectors, etc. These particular types of third way seem to suggest something outside, rather than between, the strongly implied binary choices; a non-colinear third point.
“Hard anagorism” is a rejection of the assertion that all economies can be categorized in terms of ‘market’ or ‘command.’ “Soft anagorism” is a less assertive claim that rejects the assertion that ‘market’ and ‘command’ are mutually exclusive characteristics of economies. Perhaps the best known school of anagorist thought today is Parecon, or participatory economics. They seek to demonstrate that economic planning can be pried apart from command economics.
For the hard anagorist, the riddle is how to achieve participation in the economy with neither permission nor money. For the soft anagorist, the question is whether the amounts of both of these quantities that are needed can be dramatically reduced. Soft anagorism is most of what I will write about in the present blog. That is because I find it a more fruitful area of inquiry.