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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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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
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Mykeal PittsThe Gifting Way
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Jeff Perkins
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William Miller
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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
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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
Stephen Fisher
Elizabeth Foley
Cyrille HermetHappiness Conspiracy
Elizabeth Hunt-Lucarini
Carol Lopesindividual
Bernard Cleveland
coralie mondolot
Ray KiihneCASM
Diane Greenwald
Jane HarrisonConcerned Grandmother
Kathryn Weston
thalia cosmosn/a
Nelson BetancourtAwakening/art & culture
Sandra de SachySatchidananda Ashram-Yogaville
Sue Harmon
Freddy Darriau
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Nancy SchmidtNone
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Marjorie Wherleypolicy--homelessness
Leonard LevensonhOURbank Monterey County
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John BoettigerChristopher Reynolds Foundation
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Moria PetersSeed rEvolution Now
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Shawn ChambersOrganized Freedom
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Chris ChristopherNone
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travis herb
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nevians cedric
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Leah Ben-Ari
Vincent JOBARD
Paul Kooiman
O\'Neill LouchardCommunity Rights Coalition of Jefferson County Washington
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mukara meredithmatrixworks
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Peter C. Newton-EvansCulture of Peace Program
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Nicolas Sanchez LozanoPraxair
Bea BrownInstitute For Marriage Education
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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
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Teresa Reitinger
Tim Wilson
Boris MarcelEurope Tomorrow
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Corey BresslerBlue Skies Campaign
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Rich SilverU of Earth
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Michael AbkinNational Peace Academy
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Antoni Oliva22Sistema
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Della DuncanUC berkeley
Rafal Hysiaknon
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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
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Susan McGuinness
Jonathan LoveMr.
Richard Lovejoysustainable hastings
Prune Irolla
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Tom Maiorana
William Garling
Elliott Esparza
Ryan MakhaniBuildMyIdea.org
Hazel TiffanyGroup Partners
linda griffith
Holger Eggerichscloudsters
Mark AdamsEdgeView Properties
Hunter StuartAlive Again Project
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Wendy Petersen-BoringWillamette University
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Elizabeth Turner
Bill HaffMove To Amend
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Robert NadeauGeorge Mason University
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sky thompson
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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
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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

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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