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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

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
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
JENNIFER SLACK
Susan WorgaftikGreening Greenfield
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

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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