The statement underpins not only Giddens and the Third Way, but a significant social force of recent times.
Fukyama, the right generally, and even Mandellite economics accept the premise that capitalism appears to have overcome its fundamental contradictions and this is not merely the predominate viewpoint, but opposing views (Marxists included) are seen as irrelevant to the current debate. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the restorationist tendencies in China, Eastern Europe are the proof that history is at an end and socialism is dead. The debate in here is based on assumptions that need challenging, unpicking and reflection.
The defence of the Soviet Union and other deformed or degenerated workers states and their relationship to Socialism deserves further contemplation. Similarly, confidence in the stability of capitalism or its ability to overcome crises appears superficial, but not surprisingly given the decline in influence of alternative assessments and the experience of the last 13 years, where the system has survived serious challenges, from Mexico and Brazil to Japan, and Asia and the former Soviet Union and Eastern European Bloc countries.
I havent had the opportunity to examine Giddens responses to assaults on his position particularly from those seeking to defend a Marxist interpretation of the nature of the Imperialist epoch.
98% of Capital flow is speculative and the increased connectedness of stock, money, futures and derivatives markets are for me confirmation of the correctness of a Marxist analysis of commodity and imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism.
However, it is the social weight of the Giddens (et al) view that requires attention.
Side by side with this debate are questions relating to prospective alternatives to the system and the place of planned economy, or command economy which have become discredited concepts and new solutions need to be developed and articulated.
World wide opposition to imperialist domination remains sporadic but widespread, Seattle, Washington, S11 and the emergence of alternative forums such as World Social Forum Brazil in Jan 2001 suggest new forms of opposition are emerging.
Again we need to unpack, traditional assessments of the relationship between Bolshevik parties Vanguardism and new social movements to determine how we work into the future.
As part of this process we need to further explore and explain the separation of the intelligentsia from the organised working class movement. (and make a contribution to re-establishing the relationship)
There is, in my view, a trajectory which comes into focus around 1923 and which culminates in the third way, which sees the intelligentsia lose faith in the working class as a progressive (revolutionary) force in history and reduces intellectual debate (if not all revolutionary activity)to a discourse.
this contribution is hardly in the same field as Geoff and Andys but here it is.