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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

Roberta Hamilton- GriggsSpark your community
boisson alexandreaptagap
Matthew Shepherd
louis jacobsStudent
Christine Pelaprat
Guillaume Chauvin
Deearne NicholsonVoices of the Valley
Gary Ziemer
David AndersonCanada
Daniel GreenbergEarth Deeds
Rob Chambers
Kim Roberts
Grace E. ReedEagles World Studio
joey norton
Eric Herterveterans for peace
Damien DallemagneDirecteur Général
ROB VAN HORNSOLIDARNOSC
PIerre LaplanteSednove
Allen HicksCitizen
Sergio Fernandes
Dorothy LorigColorado 9/11 Truth
Molly Friedman
Thierry DIOLLOTACTISOLAR SARL
Gary McDonald
Sarah Hamilton
Wendy Woods
Jean Anderson
Coline CLATOT
Laurie Wainberg
Christopher Gruener
Mike Mills
Marcie Jennings
Susan Weems
Steven WeemsPolaris Associates
Barry Farrell
mary sorensennone
louanne lasdon
John Farrell
K. MannGreen Energy Maine LLC
Frances ShureColorado 9/11 Truth
Miroslav StainerThe Czech Society for Employee Participation, civic association, Prague, Czech Republic
Veera Fager-Viitanen
Chad Nichols
Juliana Sparks
Johannes de Vlugt
Toni GrosseFriedensmahnwache Erfurt
michael abioeco-net
Anais TuepkerPreciva
Pat Lodge
Douglas Reeves
marcia hopkins
Vashek Cervinka
Stephen NacciHuman
Charles CrittendenOrganization
carla skirten
David Trachtenberg
Colin MurphySunflower Alliance
Bonnie LockhartOccupella
John Kraai
Jonathan Volz
vincentius arnoldInclusive Human Resource Indonesia
Mariana Mendoza
Dr. Michael Ott
Susanne Croft
Andrew deCoriolisBuyingPoultry.com
Ann Vanino
Guy Gray
Luiz VieiraGlobo Serviços Ltda
Jan Rymer
Johanna Kähäri
Hanna Maxine Mueller
Elisabetta Danzi
Alan Stillmankwikpoint
parizad dejbord sawan
Ferdinand SwartTree Credits Foundation
Kristine Solsengself
Mary MorrisIncome Disparity
Jill WallaceElm St. Assisted Living
dominique castan
Wanis Khourinone
Jim SmithIsabelle Farm
Lisa Echevarria
Katie Apone
Laurie Knightly
RUTH GLENDINNING
Guy Cruls
Chris Cabot
Bruce GagnonGlobal Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Rosalie PaulPeaceWorks
James MerkelGlobal Living Project
Katharine Hill
Razz Gormley
brenda barnard
Iva Maksimova
Genevieve Easton
Joseph KohliKohli Consulting
Hannah Coleman
Richard MaitriThe WOW Department
Steven Grossman
Sharon Kohli
Chris WhitsideClarionWave Communications
Patricia Hogan
Martijn Veeningthe MapRoom
Thea SkinnerFreelance writing
Steven HankinsMiami-Dade Public Schools
Lois Greenberg
Benoit GuéhoUniversità Cattolica Milano
Marc Schaller
Susan RavitzLEPOCO
Greg Fuess
Chris PrudhommePorchSide Ecology
Karen Wainberg
Alexandre LumbrosoComunidee
Christopher NyeOrion Magazine
Sam Jarvis
Denise AttwoodGanesh Himal Trading
Clifford Cameron
Alyssa PallettMisty Mountain Swop
tracy Fillion
Joachim Eckhoff
Roger Carles LópezPost-cras Barceloma
Aldo Macedo a
rejean chamberland
Daniel Colman
Lorraine JulienMs.
Chris Utzig
Matthew Pavolka
Susan LeboldWayne State University
Rebecca Matthew
Jerry Lawson
Kevin O\'LoughlinNostra
Tamara Monaghan
Maribeth RubensteinThe Green Resource Hub of the Finger Lakes
Victor Neill
Paul Brooks
melanie rebouillatle grand manitou
katie coleman
Gabrielle HarrisPlaNet Finance
GREGORY SALOMONOVITCH
Richard McCormick
Alex Buchan
Sophie Pettus
Tatiana Jagus
Sheldon Bond
Julie Fischer
Patrycja Jablonska
Pat BrooksMs.
Martin LawlorLondon Cycling Campaign
hilda karugabira
tom symmons
kevin buchanan
Chris OestereichLinearToCircular.com
Rodrigo AntunesKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany)
Barry Kean
Melanie Prettie
Felix Vieg
IRENA SUMI
Charlie de Courcy
Kowesa etitiqSunburst consulting
David Fofi
Petit Loren
Lauren Fry
Alexander Stal
Mark SonnenbergHarmonic Confluence Healing Arts
Florencia Milito
Wilfried Pförtsch
Charlene RichardsMs.
Karen StricklandAmerican Federation of Teachers, Washington
Dennis KileyNature Knows the Way
Gerard Law
Mike Zuckerman[freespace]
Gola Wolf Richardswww.BroadcastWisdom.com
Vicente NavarroUYFS
Theodore MayerInternational Network of Engaged Buddhists
Paul Brown
Brent Cherry
Matthew Weinstein
Louis BelangerU. of Montreal
david gledhill
Patrick Logan
Alex Brownstein
Daniel Perez-McVie
Enno LimvereGreen Aberdeen
Denis MacDougall
Harold Henn
Charles-Antoine Barbeau-Meunier
Barbara Clark
Lyn O\'Reillyhumanity
Jennifer Chesnut
Stephen WestMr.
Nick Ramirez
Lawrence ShaefferThe Hero In You, Inc.
Paul Furlong
charalambos tsangarakis
Anna Fisher
Rachael Wooten
Emma Kendall
Amanda Harper
Saheb Malik
Tim Lundy
Karen Bearden
p power
Dave Rosstad
Carla Dilgard
Marshall LintonMr.
Lance irwinMansfield Gas Well Awareness
Sara Tolbert
MICHAEL BOYLE
Rod Brueske Patriot
robert sulzer
Julie McCartney
Maria Fakiola
Stefanie Larochelle
Flora Tzimaka
Tina Stevens
Matt Hairfield
Michael Brice
Laura LaFleshe
Jana Everett
Nigel EtheringtonPlanet & Company Inc.
Ted BoettnerWV Center on Budget and Policy
Jeffrey Vaughan
Derek Markham
sybil grantMs.
Gordon Henry
Maia Nilsson
Gustaf JosefssonMakerspark
Rozsalind Brown
robin devroede
Barbara VonBenkenMs.
Chris Schreiner
Terri David
Barbara SattlerAlliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
Dawn Lingo
Rebecca Blanton
William ConstanceAccess PRO Tax
Kurt HatcherUniversity of Dayton
Cole BeckerStudent at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Nathan Micatka
Tom CrawfordThurston Climate Action Team
Robert Gerzon
Danielle SeriganoSolar One
MARIA MARTINEZ
Melissa Heller-Booth
Frank Burgeson
Michael Haughey
Jimmy Danella
Roger Conant
Brenda Witt
susan ColbyRepresent.Us
David Rosssbach
Noreen Harnik
Bryan CurtinEntrepreneur
Beate Beckmann
Judith LYBRAND KuhnRetired mental health counselor
Jean ZookSelf
Mitchell BodenThe I-Power Project
Dr. Charles May
Sesilia Bloomfield
Michael Little
Johannes KneslArcheco
Richard Kaiser
GUs GONZ
Leann Shelton
Rowland ShepardKenyon College (Emeritus)
Mary Carter
Lorraine Filipek
John Bell
R Vaughan
Sherry HinrichsHumankind
Tamara McLellan
Margaret Neeley
Christopher Young
mEd Rivera
Allan Gill
David GoodmanRepresent.Us
Jonathan Hutchins
Rodney Ricks\"Towards A More Civilized Society\" Facebook Group
Natalie Simon
James Mountain Chief Sanderville
Andrew Dancer III
Greg SolikMy Vote Counts
Suzanne Aubertin-Ryan
Ted Kozlowski
Bob McCorkle
Charles TomlinsonFontana Chamber Arts
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Walter Hieber
lynn evans
Lawrence Maskell
Eve Tenzler
Michael Butz
Gary SmithEmergeSense.net
K LaskerMs.
Denise Van SandtAmerican expat in Germany
Nicolas Zampiero
Ceferino Cenizo
Lucy Manne
Montana Wambach
Paul LimMOE
Anne marshall
Brian McDanielsNapa county
alexander wildsInternational College of Liberal Arts
Michelle GaleDr.
Etelvina Chavez
martha rowe
Laurie Wagner
Alejandro Balboapersonal
Julie Murray
Sequoia Christian
Gwen Davies
Claudia DurrWefreethinkers
Gwendolen NoyesOaktree Development
Elizabeth Gaska
rosalyn nokise
Maria Drews350 Madison
Kristen Rinnertenminvision
Amy Elliott ElliottRestorative Justice
Robin Madison
Rita Townsend Self-Employed
David WallaceSuper X Zero Design
Jeff Melin
Dianna Dentino
Jeffrey RobertsonSherburne-Earlville Central Schools
Lori UmsteadPublic school teacher
Judith Langhansnone
Dottie Lowe
George Vou
Amber Sanderlin
devin graham
Julie StassPrimal-Connection
Takoda Hollis
Benjamin Donato-WoodgerToronto350.org
David Milligan
Harry Sleeperself
Christina Olgaard
Tom Shields
Charles Dineen
Orville Cooper
Catherine Becsky
Erik van LennepCircle Squared Fdn
Mark robinsonLancaster University
Sam Stitt
Marsha Lake
David Hughes
Louise MitchellClimate Health Solutions
Ryne Mitchell
david bedford
Gina Schleyer
Krista Lanphier1967
Kristen Janonis
Karen McGinnis
Langdon Winnerself
Raluca Iancu
jason lovecafe owner
Dorothy ZazelenchukMrs.
vonni du val
Deborah Dickerson
Arnie SaikiMoana Nui action alliance
Harold Daniel
Juan Carlos Rodríguez BenítezConsumer Advocate, Independent Author, Visionary
Catherine Nash
Lori Harper
Penny Heiple
Donald Paradis
Robert BennettSelf
Kevin kalis
Michelle Tufford
Connor FinlayUniversity of Birmingham
John ClayGreener Partners
Sara Mahan
Aisake Casimira
S. Ader
Jamiel ConlonOne Home For All (Self-Titled)
Dana Eyre
Glen Brunner(Individual)
Roy Moulton
Charlotte Weybright
Alice ShepherdMiss
Iordanescu Eduard
George BrabantMr.
Raven GunnNatureWorkshop
Burt Burk
Burt burk
Carla Moschetti
Mathias Lefebvre
James Cook
Ray HoXynteo
ıbram oneer Education
John MuirOxfam Cambodia AVI
martin frank
keith tapp
Daniel Kleinhenz
alberta rossi
Suzanne Mikulicic
kiki gronielsen
Thomas DoennebrinkOuiShare
Gregory FarnhamRe-Developer
loretta changthe little one
hulya daleyVoyage 4 a cause
John S Pearson
Lawrence Dunn
Mary Scott1950
Matthew Bolesnone
Will GrantPungwe.org
Tom dyer
William Barber
Alan MulliganThe Resonance Project Foundation
Juan AyzaNGO
ake darvin
Rabih MaaloufAquaprimoris
sarah evettelder care for all
claire ryepaint my panda
Steve VillanoSocial Vision
Paul SavardPablocito24
Leon BaileyRoosevelt University
Thomas FloodProf. Emeritus, U of Southern Cal.
Denis CarvilleLiberation Psychology
Kathi Flood
Nguyen Nguyen
rory mouttetgenie media
Phil StillwellMr.
Reda carr
Zac Lyons
Katie Verigin
Michael Passmore
Eric Reagan
Bill McHenryCollaborative Farming Network
Marsha Awad
Robert Clayton
Doug Dempsey
Rachel Bagley
Sefira Keter
Mykeal PittsThe Gifting Way
Sally FlewellingThe OM Clinic
David ReynoldsWhich Robot
Wendy WEiner
Alice Meehan
Duke Albadaartist
Stella Bay
Stephen Tardrew
Nate Clesowich
Janet Gunn
Haiden RoulstHumanity
Joey Summershoneythatsok
Lela NickelLelabear Productions
Sigrun Mueller
Lorrie Dunn
Dominic Johnsoncivilian
Martin Lane
Len Ford
Jim Innes The Works Academy
Danai Mermiga
Kris HorrocksAlong These Lines
jacques tremblayfacebook
Eric Hooper
Angela Toccalino
Sindy Williams
John GrahamSpirals Work in Concert
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yvonne Garcia Rice
Zachary SmithEarth
Terrance Fangfreelance.inc
Javier Roldan
Jeff Perkins
Cynthia Blum
William Miller
Judith Flanders
Roxanne BarberSelf
Tyler Higginson
Benjamin RautenbergBrazen Development Productions @ www.BenRautenberg.com
Richard Keleher
Elijah Ahola
Henry FittsCity of Rochester
Jay TomlinsonBest of the Left
Sean CollierIndividual
Daniel Amoni
Peter DyrhaugUnaffiliated Mystic, Retired
Rev. Lowell AllenRev.
Lefèvre Jack
David SwensonCollege of St. Scholastica
Catherine Phillips
Michael NedrowChardon BrewWorks & Eatery
Jon Rohdenone
Catherine PhelpsThe New Story Publishing Collective
Bonnie LindenTimeBank Santa Cruz
Nancy CroninOrganization
Sandra Fallon
Thomas AlderPublic Law Education Institute (ret.)
Laura Kingna - this is my personal mission
Fred Van Deusen
Courtney Forbes
Nathaniel C. Emens--
Gunnel Rydstrom
Jennifer Molesworth
Jill Harper
Helene WillsonMs.
Christine GerzonMrs.
Janice Kyd
Victor (Vyasa) LANDAGlobal Coalition for Peace

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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