The Fourth Way: how a new economics can help create a prosperous, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable society

The Common Sense Manifesto is an extensive 70 page summary of Crisis, Economics and the Emperor’s Clothes. The Common Sense Manifesto provides only a brief summary of the shortcomings of economics and then discusses the present and future consequences of the resulting faulty financial and economic policy prescriptions for society. This is followed by an outline for a new economics, a social science that can help define the policies needed for escaping the economic crisis by investing in creating an economy that works for all and a society that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable, at national and global level.


The Common Sense Manifesto aims to contribute to sustainable development: the process aimed at creating a society that is economically and socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. It offers the outlines of a Fourth Way, as an alternative to right wing ideology, left wing ideology, and the Third Way. The Third Way is a combination of right-wing economic and left-wing social policies that gathered momentum in the 1990s as the new political ideology of many social democratic parties, especially in Europe. It has since been largely discredited as a result of the global financial and economic crisis, rising inequality, stagnating lower and middle incomes, deteriorating and more expensive public services, and growing job insecurity. This has led to many European social democratic parties being routed at the polls, and a major defeat of the Democratic Party in the US in 2016.

The Fourth Way

The Fourth Way has in common with the Third Way the attention for social policy as a means to provide equal opportunities to all citizens. However, the Fourth Way radically differs in its approach to economic policy. Considering the disastrous consequences of right wing economic policies since the 1990s, the need for an economic alternative contributing to rather than hindering economic and social inclusiveness and environmental responsibility is greater than ever.

Rebuilding economics

The goal of the Fourth Way, to foster sustainable development, requires rebuilding economics. A new economics is needed both to lead the global economy out of the economic and financial crisis that started in 2007, and to free the productive potential of our global society to address the economic, social and environmental problems facing humanity. This manifesto depicts how a new economics, a social science giving better insight in economic processes, can help unlock humanity’s productive potential and put it to work to meet society’s social, economic and environmental challenges.


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Summary in propositions

The main points of Crisis, Economics and the Emperor’s Clothes and The Common Sense Manifesto are summarized in fourteen propositions.


In April 2012, the term Common Sense Manifesto gave 4580 results on Google. The term has been used by various individuals and groups but there appear to be no claims to exclusive rights.

At the time the term Fourth Way had 634,000 hits, referring primarily to an approach to self-development developed by Greek-Armenian philosopher G.I. Gurdjieff in the early 20th century and published in book form under the name “The Fourth Way” in 1957. “The Fourth Way” had not yet been used in a political sense, and was therefore claimed in “The Common Sense Manifesto” and on this website as the set of ideas on economics, the economy and sustainable development discussed in the Common Sense Manifesto and in “Crisis, Economics and the Emperor’s Clothes”.

Update: March 2017: Unfortunately, the term Fourth Way has now also been used by Hugh Hewitt, a conservative radio host, in his book “The Fourth Way: The Conservative Playbook for a Lasting GOP Majority”. Hewitt uses term Fourth Way to distinguish his platform from FDR-style liberalism, Reagan conservatism and the Clintonian Third Way.

He describes the Fourth Way as “a recasting of long-stalemated left-right politics, absorbing most of the traditional Reagan agenda (and methods) — free markets and strong defense — while adding an emphasis on improvements in infrastructure and modernized delivery of those parts of government that cannot be replaced by the private sector.” (cited from a review in The Washington Post:

Hughes “Fourth Way” would appear little more than traditional conservative policy, with the very minor twist of paying attention to infrastructure. But certainly not something to offer up as a “new” vision or “way” of where we want society to go and how to get there.