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THERE ARE REAL ALTERNATIVES

We can create the kind of society—and world—we’d
like now and for future generations

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TIME TO FACE THE DEPTH OF THE SYSTEMIC CRISIS

There are political-economic system models that deliver
superior social, economic and ecological outcomes

The challenging realities of growing inequality, political stalemate, and climate disruption prompt an important insight. When the old ways no longer produce the outcomes we are looking for, something deeper is occurring.

We are at or near the bottom among advanced democracies across a score of key indicators of national well-being—including relative poverty, inequality, education, social mobility, health, environment, militarization, democracy, and more.

We have fundamental problems because of fundamental flaws in our economic and political system. The crisis now unfolding in so many ways across our country amounts to a systemic crisis.

Today’s political economic system is not programmed to secure the wellbeing of people, place and planet. Instead, its priorities are corporate profits, the growth of GDP, and the projection of national power.

Large-scale system change is needed but has until recently been constrained by a continuing lack of imagination concerning social, economic and political alternatives. There are alternatives that can lead to the systemic change we need.

What's next?

Sign the Statement

Time to Face the Depth of the Systemic Crisis We Confront

It’s time for everyone who cares about our troubled country to face the depth of the systemic crisis we now confront as a nation. We must step back from the daily fray and ask: How do we actually get on a path to the kind of society—and world—we’d like now and for future generations? We must begin a real conversation—locally, nationally, and at all levels in between—on how to respond to the profound challenge of our time in history.

“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending,” Lincoln said, “we could better judge what to do.” Today’s answer to Lincoln’s charge is grim. If one looks at “where we are” among advanced democracies across more than a score of key indicators of national well-being—including relative poverty, inequality, education, social mobility, health, environment, militarization, democracy, and more—we find ourselves exactly where we don’t want to be: at or near the bottom.

We Face a Systemic Crisis

The challenging realities of growing inequality, political stalemate, and climate disruption prompt an important insight. When big problems emerge across the entire spectrum of national life, it cannot be due to small reasons. When the old ways no longer produce the outcomes we are looking for, something deeper is occurring. We have fundamental problems because of fundamental flaws in our economic and political system. The crisis now unfolding in so many ways across our country amounts to a systemic crisis.

Today’s political economic system is not programmed to secure the wellbeing of people, place and planet. Instead, its priorities are corporate profits, the growth of GDP, and the projection of national power. If we are to address the manifold challenges we face in a serious way, we need to think through and then build a new political economy that takes us beyond the current system that is failing all around us. However difficult the task, however long it may take, systemic problems require systemic solutions.

We Need Systemic Solutions

The social pain arising from the economic crisis, the steady unfolding of the climate calamity, and many other deeply troubling developments have made it possible to pose the question of large-scale system change in a serious fashion in the United States. Yet, despite this new space for a debate about fundamental change, challenges to the system have until recently been constrained by a continuing lack of imagination concerning social, economic and political alternatives. It is said that the existing system is the only possibility, one we must accept and work with—that, as Margaret Thatcher famously insisted, “There is no alternative.” But she had it wrong.

There are Real Alternatives

The good news is that the inability of traditional politics and policies to address fundamental challenges has fueled an extraordinary amount of experimentation in communities across the United States—and around the world. It has also generated an increasing number of sophisticated and thoughtful proposals for transformative change. Together these developments suggest that it is possible to build a new and better America beyond the failed systems of the past and present.

Indeed, new terms have begun to gain currency among diverse social movements and activist communities—an indication that the domination of traditional thinking has already started to weaken. Thus we encounter the sharing economy, the caring economy, the solidarity economy, the restorative economy, the regenerative economy, the sustaining economy, the resilient economy, and, of course, the new economy. There is talk of the need for a great transition. Several of these approaches already have significant networks and thoughtful research efforts underway. New thinking by creative scholars and members of the labor movement and community-oriented advocates is also contributing to the ferment.

Time for a National Debate

It is time for Americans to think boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic difficulties facing the United States. It is time to explore genuine alternatives and new models—“the next system.” It is time to debate what it will take to move our country to a very different place, one where outcomes that are truly sustainable, equitable, and democratic are commonplace.

Those of us signing this statement are committed to working towards these ends.

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SIGNATORIES

Ellen RathboneYPI
Katherine RuppKatherine Rupp, CID, USGBC BD+C
Mark Linsey
Patricia Tashiro
Kim Hileman
Karen Paul
Diego Matho
anoushka csillag
Kevin BrownNicol Design
Kelly Vilches
Michael R. MengHuman Activity Network
David Sheldrake
Gary meekscitizen
Kathleen ReedMrs.
Hilary Key
Lousetta Keyes
Kyle Massie
Valerie & Don Orth
Xavier Edwards
Wendy Linton
Christopher Nelson
georgeann johnsonwww.mayaconservancy.org
Madeleine LightfootMs.
Robin Doerr
Phyllis Killam-AbellCreate a Peaceful World by Sustaining Our Future
David GieskeSHIFT ETHOS
Jinelle Piereder
Dorothy Walsh
Vietta Helmle
Cynthia BoiterJasper Magazine
sonia gomes
Joel Katz
Edward Goldstein
Renee Tommila
Matthew Lutz
Jasmin Maghsoudlou
Sara HubnerNONE
Bruce Allen
Roger Pryor
Katherine CassidyMiss
John FitzsimmonsHuman Race
David Basaraba
Heidi McElroy
Cynthia HubachElysian Valley Community Garden
Rachael Ehrlund
Valeria hill
Robert KELLY Bostian
Adrianne Locke
Mary RikerMs.
John Veli
Paul LennonMr.
Sarah middaugh-mote
Tina Neigum
Michael Morningstarself
Jennifer GardinerMs.
Karen McGeehanInner View
Ann DesJardiennone
Frank Dawewriter
Justin HildebrandSocial Activist
Alan FeinbergFrederick
Bricen Henning
Justin Hildebrand
Roland Petit
Lester PearsonRetired
Keith McNichols
Da\'Von McCune
Lea Shato
pauline burkhartjust me
Michael West
Erin Dolan
wally jamesprogressive forum on kpft houston,tx
Geoffrey Gold
Jonathan Hoskins1966
Julia Rotter
Gretchen Werner
Zsuzsa Belhazy-Kovacs
Zsofia PasztorFarmer Frog
Fran ClaridaMs.
Margaret Cook
Brian Hassett
Donna Barnes
Allison Davis
Rachel Turner
Harry FensomAmerican Association of School Administrators
Cristina Martinez
Travis Pettit
Robert MulliganMulligan Photographr
joyce schrieber
Greg Nikas
Dan Monte
Susan Wells
Patti Cook
Jessica KrohnBinghamton University
Millan SinghDark Synergy LLC
Melanie Botts
irma wilsonFutureSharp
Gerard Fischer
Larry GordonMr.
Ben Lindell
Jerrod MarvinMr.
Betsy Benjamin
Filipe FaleN/A
Rosemary PlumsteadAesthetic Realism Foundation
Jolynn DeLoach
Katie Rae Hadrich
branden brownBranden Jackson Brown Design LLC.
Gail Poulinretired educator
Carrie Smith
Philip Thiele
Mary Anne Martel
Larry Hackney
Sean P Cook
Kurt Koppang
Rene Perewww.themind-bodypractice.com
Robert CapperRadio Free Roanoke
Liz SmithArtist
Jeff Hickmott Transition Town Tenterden
Jose Labarca
Fiona Flavinjust me
Jason Etgen
catarina gomes
Daniel Phasey
ben gleichnone
greg mainMr.
Christopher Hawkins
Ryan LubinHEALS
Michael Wellmanstudent
Kim Phillips
Caroline de Lore
Shawn Winters
Travis WellmanSpaciousness
Christopher Hosie
Naser DashtiProgressive Philosophy
Rebekah Timothy
Lori Thompson
Shelly Müller
Bailey Myers
Giovanni Roverso
Angela OlsonSelf Employed and Loving It!
Charlotte Rolle
Steve BollesHumanity
Christopher Klarich
Amarildo PregapucaNo Organization
Ron Okpisz
Richard Lasley1980
Will VandergriffMr.
Laura ChristieMyself!
Esther Frances
James Therrian
Nicholas Navarro
Farshad NejadKevin Signs LLC
Patricia Tollen/a
Keaton Smith
Jeffery WolfeJeff Wolfe Consulting
Bob GunnMr.
Kent Douglas
john wood freedom
Thomas Willms
Philip Scott
Rafael Ladmer-Price
Jaime Grazio
James RoweUniversity of Victoria
David Plantz
Rachael Froehlich
Saraya Hunt
Bruno Martins
Nicholas Brana
Tomma Velez
David BenoitP4CP.org
Garrett Schwehr
Mario Cross
Claire NuchternSelect...
Sarah Mellman
John Reese
Barbara NewcampMeadville Time Trade
Rick SmyreCenter for Communities of the Future
Roxane BlakeWomen Pressing for Change
Jørgen Hjorth
Matias Jensen
Martina LugerHorizont3000
Regi Teasley
Tiffany B. TwainEarth Manifesto Founder
Abigail Drumm
Jonathon Linn
Mary GreenMs.
Jimmy Nussbaumerambitions - sport meets business
Hans HolmgrenKlimatriksdagen
d. iris Thor
John ZakrasekCCL, Public Citizen, MTA
Robert Ransick
michael grimesMGrimes.org
Carrie Miceli
Gurubhai KhalsaDisabled American Veterans
Carolin Schellhorn
Bev kimball
Alison Clarkpriveted person
Lois Reckitt
Edgar CahnTimebanks.org
cindy spencerthe Domestic Violence Action Center
Judith Kahan
Edith MannMs.
Marika Wilde
Rose GarritySocial Activist, National Coalition Against Domestic VIolence, SURJ, NOMAS
Linda Hutchinson
Elissa Mericle-GrayNone, just a interested person
Robert Jensen
IRMA PENA VALDIVIAn/a
Elaine Roy
Madhavi VenkatesanBridgewater State University
Luke Short
Karl Moore
Chris Knotts
Steven Edgar
Susan McBridenone presently
Marc ArmstrongCommonomics USA
tavernier wilfried
Chris BorteCreating Democracy
Suzanne Dube
Dean WalkerFierce Grace
pete stump
Red SliderThe Sacramento Z Newspaper
Kathleen Bushman
Fabio OrtizCEPA
Thomas BaldwinNA
Bill CaldwellSSM Health
Catherine LillyRetired Professor
Molly DayLIFT
Gayathri Sriskanthan
Noel Jost-Coq
Terry HokensonMinnesota Interfaith Power & Light
Ann AmbergCenter for Partnership Studies/Caring Economy Campaign
charles bellnone
mariu hernandez
Paul Bissember
Christine Larkin
Gino Joubertwww.collaborateusa.com
Land Wilson
Joan BartlPublic Banking
Gary Anderson
Donna HuesmanSelf employed
JON MULLENOrganization
Scott BakerPublic Banking Institute, NY Chapter | Common Ground-USA | Opednews.com
Jon Wakeman
Kevin BenedictKevin Benedict
Nina Capra JordanSeacoast NAACP NH
Howard SwitzerGreen Party of Tennessee
Markus PinneyIndividual
Jay Harris
Jeanine Rodgers
Edna brillon
david pearce
Kurt FestgePrototype Teleprompting
Holly Hofmann
Stephen BradleyUMBC
Nicola Juricak
Bill Johnson
Sean Machak
Mason Herson-Hord
Kyle MettaMichigan State University
Vicente Reventar IIIAteneo de Manila University
Susan ChristensenEarthlings Unite
Roger Maimí Duran
Richard DoustCourant d\'art, Strasbourg, France
Virginia SturkenRetired
Vincent Witz
Granville Kennedy
Carolyn Caffrey
Nicolas MOREUXARaymond
Scotney EvansUniversity of Miami
Dan KenneyDeKalb County Community Gardens
Michelle McMullen
Katy Mamen
scott novasic
david scarrattnot affiliated
tarik essalhi
Alex Gamboa
Christina TroutUrban Acre Commons
Kevin Bayhouse
nick kaufmannSpace Jams
dominique gagnot
Sylvie GendreauDreaminghTheWorld.tv
Velasco JavierAsturias gouvernment
Jacki SaorsailRegenerative Dynamics
eamon halpin
Stephen Wilhite
matthew sparksFiat Theory
Sarah Miller
joe symonsNegawatt media
Julien Dairay
William PerrineHixson Kiwanis Club
Jason QuinPurpose Ventures
Megan HafnerWhy We Work Here
Bertrand LAFORGE Université Pierre et Marie Curie
Reda Mokhtar EL FTOUH
Sara Day EvansAccelerating Appalachia
Mathieu Lord
Anita Largent
Lheuillier Jean-DanielIndependant
Hyun ju Jeongthe social innovation platform
Ben Van Arnam
Francoise Bacq
John WesleyGlobal Paradigm Adjustment
Bob TaylorCommon Weal Aberdeen UK
Paul JorionVrije Universiteit Brussel
Heather Johnson
Ronald Laures
Joyce Scanlonretired
Brian TsuchiyaCoism Institute
Gregg Bryant
Chris Ekstedtmyself
Conrad WillemanTransition Newburypot
Maria Carlota Palacios
Anil Bhagwat
Barbara Westbrook
Susan Kunkel
Billy KingDisillusioned Democrat
Richard TayloreTransX
Mike McCarthyretd. journalist
Casey dettbarn
Dorothee Custer
Terence Danielswholebitmedia.com
John Pearson
JIMENA ROJASSEIU
Michael Hutchins
Derek RoweMotherKultr
Deyalo BennettePortland State University
Raul Quinones-Rosadoc-Integral
Jessica Lake
frank edwards
Jayne De Sesa
Guy Anthony
Miriam Savad
edith miller
Lawrence WalkerLocality
Ashley Hagerty
Diane Henny
William Iiamesnone
Marc huftyGraduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland
Kurt Danga-Storm
Constantin CojocaruMouvement for Citizens\' Constitution, Romania
Silviu Pricope
Deborah Ahonen Ahonen Fine Art
John TrippMetro Asheville
Anna Kasprowicz
Jifa Guacademy of Math.& Systems Science
Laura Weiland
tom venable
Christian BuleszThe New Custodians
Terry PattenBay Area Integral, The Integral (r)Evolution
Steve WilkieGreen Party of Bay County FL
Corey Aldred
Kimberly Mehler
Sarah Metcalf
Briana Bischoff
John Becknone
Matthew GiffinStoryvalues, Inc.
Donald BrownUniversity Christian Church
Nancy GoldnerHub Public Banking Working Group
Lindsey Rauch
Jonathan Lioman350 Philly
Kaela Bamberger
Rickson Ferguson
Serge SannikovMr.
Elizabeth Wagner
Sam Weinschenk
Melissa Corrigan
James DulgeroffSan Bernardino Valley College
Cary Grubb
James PahlThe CT Project, Inc.
Alexis Tudor
salvatore liottaself
Emir DiniI | S | H | R | S
Jim MignanoPortland State University
Robert Bregman
Marcus Winogradzki
Margaret NewhouseMrs.
Donna Naneyretired
Dallas FuentesYear
Arnie Kubiak
Ben SimasekPeace Corps
Russ Kinney
s.p. tetzlaff
Mary Linda Landauer
Steven BrechinRutgers University
Greg ThrowerExpandingNormal
Colleen Ferguson
Milica Bolchn/a
Martina SciolinoUniversity of Southern Mississippi
Paul TaylorGEMMPrpoductions
Nicholas Labuschagne
Neal HundtMarathon Skating International
Faye Moskowitz
Julie McLaughlin
kwangjin kimkorean broadcasting system
Vandecasteele marlena
Victor BloombergDSA
Mike PattbergDSA
Rosie EnnisDancing Crow Media, LLC
Arnold Garcia
Sean Donaldson
Andrew Mort
Cleveland Gite
Joyce H. BrowningSocrates Cafe group
Ryan Montayre
Tom Conlon
Moe ChizariBravura Solutions
Beverly Burris
Stephan Dion
Ken Snyder
Serena Johnston
Benjamin UrmstonCITIZENS FOR GLOBAL SOLUTIONS
Casey DillowayCommunity Sourced Capital
David Uwakwe
Aaron AndersonOrganization
Edward Flores
Edwin Marin
Jeff Bergkamp
Marybeth Maccauley
Victor Jarvis
John Harrington
Ronald Maier
jim donald
Thel GaryPrivate Citizen
Raman MoodleyA work in progress
Harry Spires
laura yuChange management professional
Susan ShinNew Economy Project
Kyle ManningManning PR
Daniel Batten
Darren speirs
Peter Addisonnone
Karel Haverkorn
Mark Furze
Jessica Gardner
johann peslin
Fynn Thöne
Don Plummer911 Truth Activist
JASEN NIXONmyself
Anna Reynoso
Kenneth JacksonUS Navy Retired
Kyle Gunning
Clare WatsonZagollc
Ed DrebySociety of Friends in Philadelphia
Crystal NelsonRural Development Masters student, University of Alaska Fairbanks
James Mack
Mike Tommins
Robert Rumrilln/a
Orlando salinas
jeremy lack
doug brannen
Brian StewartWesleyan University
Virginia FrancoDemocratic Socialists of America, San Diego, CA Chapter
Scott Wilson
Robert RabbinSpeaking Truthfully
Danny Brown
Richard Murphy
Jim WatersSanctus Catholic Seminary
Adam RosszayCitizen\'s Cafe
Josh Trexler
Nathan Kammerud
Ahmed AlmutairiMaster Student
Halsey G. RobertsEconomics Faculty, Indiana University; Purdue University, Indianapolis; Indiana University, East
Joshua Walter
Katie Finnegan
Fred saberian
Matthew Cardwell
John Williams
anna chruszch
Anthony LavelleCalifornia
Luis AlvarezTeam People
sam hoefert
Chad CranfordTime is Art
Derek GardinerPrivate
Robert KonsdorfBitShares
FelixLazaro Sanchez 1973
Paul Earnshaw
Jason Stanek
Henry Rosh
otmane yssefla ferme bio
Chris Prouty
Aaron Mayersolo
Marcus Dent
Razz Berry
Jake PowersLionize Media Group
Nicholas Woods
Brian Wethernbrianwethern.org
Rick Hillenbrand
Dwight Robinson
Joseph ComineDancing Crow Media LLC
Donna Storm
Filipe Costa
Stephan Edel
stephen Gross
Deon BraunGo Multi magazine
William TomlinsonCPUSA - Houston
Arthur Sutherland, M.D.Physicians for a National Health Program
Alan YelseyYWorlds
Paul Hannanone
Bruce SmithCharacter Based Coaching
Gale DavisonSustain Mid Maine Coalition - Permaculture Team leader
John YoungUniversity of Tasmania

ABOUT THE NEXT SYSTEM PROJECT

The Next System Project is an ambitious multi-year initiative aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in coming decades. Responding to real hunger for a new way forward, and building on innovative thinking and practical experience with new economic institutions and approaches being developed in communities across the country and around the world, the goal is to put the central idea of system change, and that there can be a “next system,” on the map.

NEXT SYSTEM PROJECT CO-CHAIRS

Gar Alperovitz

Co-Chair of the Next System Project, former Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, and Co-Founder of the Democracy Collaborative. He also serves as a founding board member of the New Economy Coalition.

Gus Speth

Co-Chair of the Next System Project, board member of the New Economy Coalition, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, and Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute. He served as Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies from 1999 to 2009.

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