The Three Questions

Prosperity and the Public Good

BY Bob Rae
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
If I am not for myself, who is for me?
But if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?

Following his bestselling political memoir, the former premier of Ontario stepped back to consider the subject of responsibility in and for society. Structuring his thoughts on Rabbi Hillel’s famous questions, he explores the roles of government, business, communities and individuals in the new economic and political reality of Canada. He confronts the most basic and urgent question of our time: in this age of globalism, in this period when the gulf between rich and poor is growing, what is our responsibility to ourselves and to others?

Every successful society needs to recognize and reward individual success as well as demonstrate an organized capacity for social compassion. A successful politics will understand that pursuing both prosperity and the public good — finding the right answers to the three questions — is not easy. But the challenge must be met.


Introduction to the 2006 edition

This book was first published in 1998. It was my second book, and followed From Protest to Power. It was an effort to focus attention on the need to break down the idea that Canadians had to chose between values of prosperity, sustainability, and social justice. What...
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“Wise and optimistic…a wonderful appeal for tolerance and civility in an age when they are ever harder to find.” — Maclean’s

“This book is a jarring wake-up call to old-style socialist thinkers and would-be protectionists.”
The Ottawa Citizen

“There is a philosophical elegance to Rae’s work.”
National Post