The Role of the Third Sector in Paving a ‘Third Way’: Some Lessons From Local Exchange and Trading Schemes (LETS) in the United Kingdom

Despite declarations that the third sector is to play a prominent role in paving a Third Way, there remains much confusion about what constitutes this Third Way and the role of the third sector in bringing it about. Evaluating Local Exchange and Trading Schemes (LETS) as a prominent third sector initiative, the aim of this paper is to analyse its effectiveness in fulfilling various roles being assigned to it. This reveals that although many view the role of the third sector in paving a Third Way to lie in its ability to create jobs and improve employability in order to achieve ‘full-employment’, these initiatives are most effective at facilitating community self-help and thus means of livelihood beyond employment. We thus conclude that for the third sector to be used effectively and the Third Way to become a distinct and radical departure from the past, there will need to be a shift from both an ’employment-ethic’ to a ‘work ethic’ and a ‘full-employment’ to a ‘full-engagement’ vision.

Colin C Williams, Theresa Aldridge, Roger Lee, Andrew Leyshon, Nigel Thrift and Jane Tooke Volume 5(2001) 3

IJCCR Vol 5 (2001) 3 Williams et al

To cite this article: Williams, C.; Aldridge, T.; Lee, R.; Leyshon, A.; Thrift, N.; Tooke, J. (2001) ‘The Role of the Third Sector in Paving a ‘Third Way’: Some Lessons From Local Exchange and Trading Schemes (LETS) in the United Kingdom’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 5 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2001.003

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