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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

Gordon Clint
Marlin Murdock
Moria PetersSeed rEvolution Now
Mike Yinger
Shawn ChambersOrganized Freedom
Billy PattersonMr.
Teresa Yager
Julie Nilsson
Susan Haines
Holly Warner
Marymargaret LockeRetired
Mary Burrows
Eliza Walbridge
Mca Voight
Laura Rivero-FisherMs.
Judy GlazierRet\'d USDOL, Indiana Bar Assn., IUSPEA adjunct law & public policy
william Cornelison(unafll.)
Rolf BrothenUniversity of Georgia
Lori Zimmerman
catherine summerssenior life support
Olive Mondelloindividual
Lynn Nichols
Ana Forrester
Chris ChristopherNone
Michael DuganSelf
Ross McCluney
Kendra Mackenzie
Cindy Moeckel
Brenda Irish
Richard MasseyPresbyterian Church (USA)
Alexis Savko
Ilias Bartolini
Elizabeth Morris Downie
travis herb
Barbara Willer
Dana Graves
Ane Marit Willmann
Julia McMurrayfree woman
Ronald Payne
Beverly NelmesProgressive Democrats of America
Fred RasmussenMr.
Kay Stricklin
Thomas Sherman
Donald McGlothlin
mickie nelson
Elle McSharrywww.dreamtransformation.net
Rick Walker
Larry Reilly
Carol S Witherell
Duane A EwersUnited Methodist Churc
Nancy Roca
Charles DavisMr.
SPENCER ADAMS
Andrea Thomas
Melissa J. MillsMills Consulting, LLC
Marco VangelistiEssential Knowledge for Transition
herbert weiner
Ray Torres
Mary Kirby
William Poutinen
Edward Tenny
Catherine Martinez
Vickie Greaves
Mary Ellen GonzalesMs.
Martin LeapUSW Local 2632
Denise Szabo
David Haskin
Marcia Rae
Sheldon Laskin
Richard UlkusLake Superior Systems Group
Halsey RobertsIndiana University
Violet MalinskiNA
Sandra J. Klassen
Mary Anne Lushe, ACSW, LMSW, LMFTIndividual and Couples Therapist
David Nicholson
Dick Miller
Carole SchwinnTransformations Unltd
David Powell
Donna Andersonretired county public health
Irene Leeg
Robert Ingoglia
madeleine mauwer
catherine carterThe University of Texas at Austin
Eduardo Malave
lee marriott
Ted MorganLehigh University
Kris Loman
Kris Loman
Heather Bott
David Smith
Sam GhazeyStudent Climate Culture
Ian Nicholson
Robert R. HoltDr.
Justin SimonsEastshore Unitarian Universalist Church
Laura Runnels
Jérémie De Clerck
Kerry Banks
William QuigleyIntegral Instute
Cathy Velasquez Eberhart
nevians cedric
Elizabeth Whanger
Coral Fry
Elsa de Balby de Vernon ESSEC Business School
Eve Chabot
Leah Ben-Ari
Vincent JOBARD
Paul Kooiman
O\'Neill LouchardCommunity Rights Coalition of Jefferson County Washington
David Stafford
Bill BarnesPermacultura Seccion Dos
Kevin Fetherston
Zizi VlaunCenter for an Ecology-Based Economy
John ONeill
Jerry SaltzmanAntioch University Seattle
Mary Longacre
Elizabeth DwyerWe Are People Here
Ted AltmeierMaple Farms
Matthew KiernanEdutran
wayne shankelretired
Ethan BrennanArtists\' Collective
Adam Wellsfry
Stevan Bosanac
mukara meredithmatrixworks
stephanie mccauleyClimate Interactive
Fran SchmidtACLU
Hal DarstHal Darst
Peter C. Newton-EvansCulture of Peace Program
Lisa Carlson
James Sylvester
Nicolas Sanchez LozanoPraxair
Bea BrownInstitute For Marriage Education
Temple Weste
Cyril DelattreDelattre and Co
Lyn MehrbachGoosepond South
Yuri Usenko
Steve WelzerGreen Party ol New Jersey
Chris Hardee
Regina Miller
Jonathan CrowleyVipassana Meditation Centers
Dulcey AhlstromArizona State University
Naomi Swensson
John Burch, DDSGlobal Visionary and Activist LoveShift.com
Crystal Huang
Beth Petricoinartist, activist
Christopher M. JonesUC Berkeley
Teresa Reitinger
Tim Wilson
Boris MarcelEurope Tomorrow
Susan ClarkGaia Fund
Martin Anderson
Corey BresslerBlue Skies Campaign
Rebekah Morris
Libby Traubman
Tim Joice
Case Gilson
Rich SilverU of Earth
Dawn FazendeMt. Shasta Magazine, Alliance for Humanity
LaTisha Conto
Michael AbkinNational Peace Academy
Gordie HaydukDonate-For-Life
Sarah NossConsultant
Benjamin GrahamMr.
Sarah SegalOrganization
Mike KaneShamrock Hill Farm
Antoni Oliva22Sistema
Chandrakanth NatekarICONS TALENT HUNT
Bill Jacobson
Debra ButlerUMass Boston
Della DuncanUC berkeley
Rafal Hysiaknon
Jessica Fisher
Venus Wooten
Charlotte Stites
Nils-Erik HelmerMaster of Engineering
Randy Litzenberger
Bruce PrevilleRESULTS.org
Luca Giangrande
Marie-Angel Chevrier de RienGenesis Agenda
M Weintraub
Kathleen Morris
Mary Felker
Katherine SteelePermaculture
Carl Carpenter
Kalin TaylorStockholm University Department of Education
Sébastien Guimard
ann hunt
Xacobe iglesias
Robert RaymondN/A
Geoff CallardMetaManagement
Alison Doody
Mike SimoensCalgary Centre for Global Community
Sharon EdePost Growth Institute
Susanna SouthardPhillips Theological Seminary
Benjamin KuelthauThe Global Warming Express
Kim BostromZoozaps
Rev. Dr. Timothy Eberhart Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
Kristin Heinemeier
Mark Kasprow
Kent Militzer
Hayley Moore
Emily Kruger
Joseph S. BiehlGotham Philosophical Society
Todd ChasCharlestonGOOD
Whasy Sherzada
Doug Stanley
Alice Bagley
Lynnette AllenSustainable Bellingham
Curt Marion
donna shadeArkansas Grassroots Resurgence
Elaine Shinbrot
Sasha MircovOpera Software
Virginia Mudd
Edwina Taylor
Robert BremCollege of Alameda
Leslie Foxself-employed/retired
Harry CreamerClimate Change Australia
Kimberly MorrowNebraska Interfaith Power & Light
Taylor Pershing
Mary Ellen Wolfe
April Galarza
DH Strongheart
april harris
Janiece Jonsin
Stas Burgiel
Oleg KomlikEconomic Sociology and Political Economy community
Mark Enos
Peter Mikkelsen
Linda mcglome
Alan SuttonNone
gail phillips
James wagner
Patricia ChadwickDisability Social History Project
Lynda Terry
Mark Roberts
Gilles DEGROOTECLAP Project
Erwin K Kerr
BILL TWISTPACHAMAMA ALLIANCE
Max CoffeyRetired
Sally Kim
Ruben Colon Morales
Matti Vesa Volanen
Charles McCue
Graham Dickiegood idea
Nathaniel HannonBIAW
Karawynn Long
Susan McGuinness
Jonathan LoveMr.
Richard Lovejoysustainable hastings
Prune Irolla
David Junta
Tom Maiorana
William Garling
Elliott Esparza
Ryan MakhaniBuildMyIdea.org
Hazel TiffanyGroup Partners
linda griffith
Holger Eggerichscloudsters
Mark AdamsEdgeView Properties
Hunter StuartAlive Again Project
Robert JacobsonBluefire Consulting
Wendy Petersen-BoringWillamette University
Joanne Campisi
Elizabeth Turner
Bill HaffMove To Amend
Linda Jupiter
Robert NadeauGeorge Mason University
Alain Cazes
Bonnie OdiorneNaugatuck Valley Project
Chloé PaillotSPEAR
John Henry daleMusical LLC
Peter Sloan
sky thompson
Warwick NeilleyFriends of Erskineville
Jeff Shipman
Jamie HarvieInstitute for a Sustainable Future
Ben Turner
roland vaxelairecofimatra
weston pewInner Wild
Kresse WeslingElvis & Kresse
Jerry McConougheyhuman race
Richard RubensteinSchool for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University
julien breitfeldmarklor
Ake StroedeBlue Jean Nation
Lindsey BrittDream Big Fundraising
Cédric Jaffray1974
Aske Bisgaard Vammen
Benjamin Gluck
Amy Rosenthal
Leslie Gabriel Mezei
Brooke Scatchard
gerry paulsenSierra Spirit
Nathalie de Baudry D\'AssonLe Lien Public
Lena Trachsel
Michael Craig
Michael Murphy
Christiane KliemannDegrowth Movement, Germany, Freelance Journalist
Philippe ALBERTFreelance
Carl Sterner
Carrie Thomas
Art Growden
Dr. James F. MorrisonUniversity of Florida, retired
Sébastien Alexandre
Fred Massecitizen
Ulf Stigson
Larry McChesneyMr.
Linda Nowakowski
Ben Collier
Brendan DunphyViable World
Tyler Olson
Simon InglisSimonsgarden
Paula Tejon CarbajalGreenpeace
Mark PershinLess Meat Less Heat
Darrell Bouldin
Jaime Pérez
Brian HardinKnewways Multimedia
thomas donahhue
Whitney Purple
Margaret A Galletleycitizen
Jane CullLife\'s Natural Solutions
Ann CorrinUnited Church of Christ
Benjamin Sargent
Gordon MontgomeryGMETA
Dinah Kudatsky
Marguerite Marshall
Linda Schlie
Cheryle RiveraIndividual
Ronald JohnsonFreerollinsider.com
Jeunesse ParkAfrican Climate Reality Project
Kevin foster
Patrick Lynch
Namik MackicHarvard University
Elisabeth Rothenberger
Karin Hildingengineer Whitefish Montana
Joe Hoover
Jonathan W LevyThe House Of Roux
Marcus Williams
John Rozzo
Jack KurzweilWellstone Democratic Renewal Club - Oakland/Berkeley
Amy Harbo
Michael Johnson
Sam PerlikMIT Sloan School of Management
Kenneth Muifavability.org
Margot Gould
Dr. Robert Goldschmidt
Elizabeth Taylor
oisin little
Emily Thomsonorganic farming
Brandi Williams
Brady BurnsStrange Matter Coffee
William WootenIndividual
Linda Chimenti
Gregory Noyesnone
Katie Milne
Mike Hutcheson
Sydney Charles
Mary K Smith
Rita BurnsActivist
George BervenTiny House Village Project
Kirk Dkirkdify.tumblr.com
Dianne Stone
Michelle Bandor
matthew olsonROLU
Robert Schuren
Barrett RafteryOne Million Lights
Mary Watt
Oliver Koslik
Frederick Watters
Matthew DuffettHumanity
Brett Blakenone
Carl PeerLawyer
Hilary Allen
Sylvia DeRooyMs.
Juan Carlos Rodriguez Benitezlawyer
Tom Wilson
Deborah Kimokeo
Ann Gilmore
Sean Lemson
denis wikelna
Geoff Fitch
Victoria LoorzKids vs Global Warming
Gene Bergman
Anne Grady
Jonathan Warnow350.org
Michael Cruise
Kyle KillianFlorida State University
Jean Beck
Framboisine Meyer
Justin GabaldonHornblower Junior Press
LaVaughn Rynearson
Elaine Heiman
carlos figuls
blake harper
barbara buchananMrs.
Skip MendlerCitizens Creative
Jim Nicholl
Greg Buckland
Randy FullertonRSFLU #669
Bruce Szczechowski
David Routh
Larry SchweigerMr.
Elsa Biston
Nathan Jaco
Luke AdamsIPS alumnus and Behavioral Health Specialist
mel marsh
Allan Clarknone
Jenifer Shaw
Marguerite Bozarth
Joseph Tolton
James Lamb
Jo Cruise
Tony Lima
Kevin BalmerMr.
Dave Murphy
ChrIstine McDougall2:23AM
Patrick Morton
Anna Hines
gail gouveiaNH Rebellion
James Luedeke
Thomas Brennan
Spencer Beazer
Dennis Vaughn
Jillynn Stevens
Maura Woodwell
Herbert LongRogue Valley Citizens\' Group
MaryB WattsChecking
James Dahnke
Robin HarperTransition Town Media
Tawnya Smith
Raymond Boisvert
j heet
Taylor McLeod
David WhealdonMoveOn.org & Local Democratic Party
Scott Nelson
Darren Doyle
Mitch Gould
Michael Merriweather
Lisa Manners
BJ Bardwell
Daniel Rivera
Abby Boudouris
Kevin MullenUSG
Yves LusignanCiblexpert
Daniel ApfelCroatan Institute
Kathy Buchanan Ciminillo
Hansook Oh
Bulle de Savon on my own
Benjamin Delfin
Jim BremerSalidarity
Michael Sienhold
Dan Andreescu
greg schatz
William Floyd
Heidi Mitchell
Kirsten Schatz
Samson Hart
Valerie SerrelsiMatter Youth
Cooper Zalewww.leftyparent.com
Dave SvetlikMiddle Wisconsin
merle jamieson
Sean Hasenauer
Craig BarnesWe Are People Here!
Zelita Morgan
Alyssa Coffey
susan wilson
Edward Farleyfarley310@gmail.com
Melanie MindlinRecode
Tyler Weber
Jeremy SotzenGrayhaven Research Institute
Dean Kallas
Veronica CasselsMayer&Cassels
Eric Dean RasmussenUniversity of Stavanger, electronicbookreview.com
Ann Crothers
Nancy Audette
Rick Rice
Jennifer SanbornMs.
Dave (David) RowlandPrivate Citizen (Formerly Chair-Green Party of Utah 1996-2001
Karen GarciaSardonicky (blog) kmgarcia2000.blogspot.com
Lee Humphries
Harry Swensen
Jeffrey Ruha
Heidi Valentine
Alan LevinSacred River Healing
Jane Pajot
Ari Kali
Ellen TaylorBeeHive Collaborative
Jennifer LaddClass Action
Dave LukerUNK
Margaret Chew BarringerAmerican INSIGHT
Steve Cherry
Mac JohnsonChristian Life Community
Matt Hawley
Lois BarberEarthAction & 2020 Action
Rosemary AllenWomen\'s network Santa Fe
Robert BridgesEarth First!
Edward Coyle
ken horkavy
Arthur Eves
Jim O\'Leary
Marjorie Forslin
David Bender
Michel Rouleau

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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