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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

Jennifer Knight1946
Gaia KileSocial Permaculture Institute
James Miller
Lynn FaulknerMs.
Jean VerberJustice Outreach
donna drinnen
Michael EisenbergUnaffiliated
Therese VanThull
Carmen L GuzmanMs.
Robert McGaheyCelo Center for Earthkeeping
Sue Ellen Klein
Jeffrey Watson
Andy K LibermanCoffee House Teach-Ins
Walter McGerryHenschel-McGerry
John Emerson
Stephen MulkeyUnity College
Thomas Windberg
Linda Damico
Jenny Gillespiea disillusioned female human being
robert delayNext Earth Farm
Robin BillingsRobin L. Billings, PhD, PLLC
Nancy E Elgin
Carla VincentCitizen
Norty KalishmanDr.
jonathan katz
JURIS AHNPermastoned.org
Joellen RaderstorfBlue Marble X
Barbara pedrickcanadian
Susan ReedHigher Ed.
Kathy Beltz
toto che handalaMr.
Maxine SeptemberFamily
Stephanie YarnellYale University
Stephanie Yarnell
Sarah Stranahannew economy coalition
jean mueller
Gilles Marlet
Ronan BurtenshawIrish Congress of Trade Unions Youth
John Renshaw
carol rosinski
patrick heyraud
Matthew Angelo
Dave Belshawnone
David OrchardDavid Orchard Marketing
Wayne Mellinger
Eckehart Sturm
Arlene Boyle
George Vlasits
James Carey
Bernie tellocauses
Marcus DentonJacobin Magazine- Austin, Texas, USA
laurey greiderJungleSea
Cliff Boyer
Erica BowerSustainUS
Tony bUDAKTime Bank Mahoning Watershed
Kevin DanaherGlobal Exchange
Bart BolgerVeterans For Peace, Ch. 132
beth parker
Michael Gray
Evan Skallerud
John Turgeon
mary keller
Brendan O\'Connor
David Millsom
Ben Levi5 Deep Boulder
Bob Manrodt
Elizabeth Counselman
David Sanderson
Doug Selwyn
Julie Fago
Scott Maslowski
Linda Kelly
Mark OwenSelf
Joyce L. Arnold
Steve Connor
Sally StevensNew Orleans Cooperative Development Project
Paul O\'Connor
Pam Haji
Toby Hollander
Abbie Blair
Helen ClarkMedical Social Worker
Brienne Stevenson
David Bruhn
Joel FedermanTransformative Social Change Specialization, Saybrook University
Dave Amundson
Austin Reynolds
Bernadette FerrerMomentum Administrative Services, LLC
Michael Van HandelPacific Green Party of Oregon
Roy Ulrich
Dana HuntlyEducator
Marv WaterstoneUniversity of Arizona
Annette Crotty
Charlotte ThomasIndividual
Christine Carlson
Christine PrincePrincipled Wellness
Susan WallMrs.
Rona FriedSustainableBusiness.com
Courtney Childs
John Kusak
Susan Singhretired
Dale Perkinsretired, but connected to many organizations
Richard Behanwriter, retired professor, citizen of Earth
Ted Hamilton
Douglas Johnson
Lorraine Formet
Jolon Timms
Garrison FrazierJust me
William BenetGraduation Pledge Alliance
David Anderson
Steve Linnerooth
June StewartRetired
Jonathan Nack
Nicholas Biddle
Debbie Andrews
Melanie GoldMs.
Bren AmesAye Open Outcomes
Rita Weinstein
Max SawickyMaxSpeak.Net
George Emlen
John FriedrichNA
mike dotyAMERICAN
Zack Teague
Judith Wills
Gary O GrimmMountain Visions
Joseph Moore
TR Lundquist
Mark Ritter
Liz Amsden
Thibaut Brousse50A
Ann Samuelson
Albert Bregante
Ed Lytwak
Kay Brockman-MederasMs.
G. Dbot
Jonathan Baird
Brian McCabe
John CooperNone
Melanie Wood Moody
Betsy Chandler
Annette MorganPrivate
Sally DodgeIroquois Valley Farms
Charlie Kaften
Robert Kopper
Peter Barnardwww.verticaltutoring.org
Jeff Smith
Susan robinson
Kate Darnell
Eduardo DarancouGrowing Heart Farm
robert davies
Justin Vest
John Bevacqua
Dorothy JacksonOrganized
Gertrude Carter
Bill DavisDr.
Sharon Murrel
R.O. MittsGeneric Human
Iris Milan
Phil JonesNSW Chapter of the Centre for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy
Mary Keelty
Kitty Wells
Polar BearN/A
Kathryn Albury
Charles Langfordnone
Julie Timmins
Barry BennettOmni Peace & Justice
Linda Mahan
Brian Capellenone
Dillon CulbrethAshe Outreach Ministries
John Lee
Marissa McKinnon
Robert dornnone
Howard Goldman
Carlos Andres Rodriguez TriguerosUNA-CR
Melanie LeeThe Progressive Movement
richard smith
Jean T. GordonWomen\'s Action for New Directions
Ben OsterbergVollwrath Projects
Don McKinnonDDM Technologies, Inc
Susan BragdonQuaker United Nations Office
Ross Foster
Jeremy Taylor
Lynne MondsNone
Victoria F HarrisMember of McLean County Board
Emmanuel PrattSweet Water Foundation
Markus Pinney
Richard FiremanElders Fierce For Justice
Christian Leonard
Leonard BeckerSacred Sites International
Justin HitchcockGRID Alternatives
Ann Sayas
Edwin Hiley
Shannon Kerr
JennieBeth Bakerpublic citizen, activist
Walter Reed
Doug Burris
Paul Bedell
dia norrington
Weston Siegenthaler
Camille Tschaggeny
Laura SeverinacGreenpeace
Connor KilpatrickJacobin
col critchettretired
Roger LancasterGeorge Mason University
Carolyn SaleUniversity of Alberta
Jack SawyerParker Street Foundatin
Dolores Curry
Linda Devendorf
Hugh JosephTufts University
sean lovell
Daniel Mazuz
Jayme Seehafer
Chris Ramirez
Barry Karlin
ed taub
Wolfgang Isenhart
teresa scott
Richard LauckPDS (Prolongation, Discontinuity, Surpassing) Thinkers
IAN WILDER
Duane FlemingLivelihood Systems Institute (see website)
Gabrielle PriceThe Refreshment Center
A Greer
Neal Aronson
Susan Cutting
Donald Carew
raymond Wager
Sue Hammond
darilyn kotzenbergdk design studio, inc.
Marc Flacks49er Olive Oil
Diga Kern
Bobbi Ecklersomeone just paying attention
Wendy Leiva
John Phillips
stéphane CUTTAÏAassociation c\'est déjà ça
Leanne Palmer
Cyndi Malasky
Cnthia Dixon LevineCindy Dixon Music
Elizabeth T Allen
Melissa YoungMoving Images
Marion Lipshutz
David Einhorn
Gary RoweJust a Human Being
Martin GarciaSystem Dynamics Research Center for Latin America
David SchneiderYes superior
Allison Meyer
Roger LeyI\'m No Expert
Julie LovelessLiving Roots
Kathryn Pritchett
David Beatonn/a
grady mccombs
Elizabeth Pfauatlasphere
Michael Kieschnick
Allan Lichtenstein
Arthur ScottMarist college retired
Andrew Foy
Côme MarchadierLe Pari citoyen
Frank PietrantonPier Associates
Joy HughesSolar Gardens Institute
Diane HainesMayflower immigration team
David C. Hallwriter
edward barnard
Alice Brown
David PrestonIndependent
Michael Correll
Ron HubertNorthern Arizona University
Leanne IdzerdaStellenbosch University
Mark Long
Cyril Mychalejkowww.UpsideDownWorld.org
John StrandDemocratic Party activist
Andrea Brokaw
Chris Raiter
Calin Tritean
Amanda LeetchPrescott College/Sustainable human/one community global/Nuestro huerto
Mary Claassen
Jay Skriletz
Jill SeversonHead, Hands, Heart, Spirit
Franzi CharenAsheville Grown Business Alliance
Ann Woods
Rolland SmithAll Souls Housing Corporation
michael johnsonGEO
Laurel McEwenMcEwen Associates
Peter Bretscherinsede
james wohlgemuthretired
Amanda LitvinovNational Education Association
Jim Webster
Marie Schmid
Matthew Williams
John Henry
Richard Ringler
Jessica Walker Beaumont
Ian BalcomLyndon State College
Samantha Cunningham
Avery JenkinsCenter for Alternative Medicine
Muriel Julliard
Philip Spadaro
Andy ChapmanMr.
Peter GillespieWordcraft.PRO
NIAMETE ZANATI SERGHINIRESSEO
Larry Miller
Lance PolyaUniversity of Vermont
Thomas Shultz
Erika AntillonMs.
momo foxCELL
Mary Mizzi
Luis M. SerraUniversidad de Zaragoza
Lincoln Kroll
Ivan Huber
Priscilla RichTransitionExpress.vpweb.com
Molly TalcottCSU Los Angeles & California Faculty Association
Eric EbelAttorney and blogger
David Hurley
Carla Josephson
Barbara Bengtsson
Isabel Fernandez
Paul RinearAberdeen Township Environmental Board
Cecilia Brown
Bill HammThe Forest Revealed
Scott Grimm-LyonGrimm-Lyon Planning and Design
Phoebe CoyneNew Economics Australia
Jason RylanderDefenders of Wildlife
judith hendricks
wendy van burenRaise the Children
Jason GoldPrinceton Progressives
Larry McAllisterNA
Debra bolman
Robert BaileyBiology-Central Michigan University
Brian Cummings
Susan L D Shamblin
Donald LeichNew Jersey Peace Action
Sarah Payne
Blake Beynon-
John Quigley
Stephen Crilly44Virtues.com
john ferchakDr.
Mark Raef
Donna Janovsky
Barbara Marco
Marian Ronan, Ph.D.
Janis Hillnone
Taylor hodginshumans
Norrie RobbinsSan Diego State Univ.
Electra McGrath-Skrzydlewski
Rodney RobinsonCentral Valley Institute
Hannah McIntyreAlchemia
Topher Reeve
Mary Edwards
Robert HarrissEnvironmental Defense Fund
Ross LenihanStudents for the Study of Inequality (UCLA)
Morey BeanFirst Congregational Church of Boulder EcoMinistry
Peter Lundquist
Erik Mear
Brian Cooney
Richard Todd
Ralph Brand
Sue Gallagher
Casey Holtz
Alison Peters
Romeo MartinezRMR CONSULT
Dan Nissenbaum
Pamela Alfred
John DemmaNone
Helen Curtis
Bob Abrammswww.ODTmaps.com
Ed Goldman
Michael Essexnot yet
Steve BeckLIBERATION Thru DESIGN
John NowosadPDC
Liz Calvert
Shanna RatnerYellow Wood Associates
Horst LehrheuerCommonGoal Group
David Merchant
Yan-Erik DecordeProgrammer la Réussite
Lex HundsdorferBlue Practice
Vivienne Simon
James trodglen
David Montague
Chris Davidson
Eric Reed
Sabin Densmore
Daniel CantorWorking Families Party
Amanda SteenSystems Visions
Averil Moore
Mary CornishOntario Equal Pay Coalition
katie holm
Carla Truax
Neil Tangri
John Tillsonretired
Nicole LegaultI draw whales
Violetta Neumann-Wolff
Jon ShermanDryad
Jon Anderson
Michael E. Pody
William powernone
Kendra Chambers
Vikas SaxenaHuman
Steve Frehn
Robert CovelliHipwryte, Inc.
Jake StockerSquash Inc
Jessica Woan
Nicholas Faggella
An Ho
Barb GerritsHoluakoa Gardens & Cafe
Aarati Kasturirangan
Ben Brownernewstories.org
Michael BishopUbuntu Nomad
George ReinhardtNoyo Headlands Unified Design Group
Clinton Donegan BurkeUniversity of Oregon School of Law, Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation
Gerold Hanckself
Igor Božović
Joe Smyth
Jay ToupsBioroot Energy, Inc.
John Leipold
Brian Pierce
Melanie Carlone
Philip Kavanagh
Susan MacmillanQueens College/City University of New York
John Franzen
sharon kershnerhumanity
Judy yetter
Shoshanna Silverberg
MIchael GilliganUrban Catalyst
Judith Ricevolunteer in the arts, education and urban development
Paul BrooksBrooks on Climate
Jon RynnEconomicRecinstruction.org
Joyce Kahle
Christian LotzMichigan State University
Janet Matthews
benjamin melançonPeople Who Give a Damn, Inc.
krista drummond
Rosaleen MazurRetired
Larry Buzzell-Saltzman
Adrienne Hall
Joy sequoia
Ian BackSpiritual Ecology and Regenerative Systems Initiative
David Lizoain
Jane Twitmyer
Daniel MillerMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Doug Bartonindividual
Deborah Adams
Lisa Hough
Sebastian StraubeBSD Germany
Callum Golding350.org
Kofi DebrahOKO Forests
Jonas Zackrisson TorpiCareAboutFood / The Edible Commandments
James Millernot very much, really.
Anna Schlunke
John FreeseEngaged Buddhist Alliance
Alexander BurkeFusion Power Corporation
lynds dee
Loraine Washburn
Kurt Scearce
Molly McGlone
Adam Jungwirth
Joshua PurvisEugene Film Society
Saliem MurchieVision 2020
Felix Tuason
Cheryl Nemazie
Barbara coomes
Lee Miller
Rowan gillies
James WarrenJames\' Blue House Free School
J. Michael Pryor
Carol Peppe HewittFinancing Our Foodshed
Joseph PallazolaSchool of Hard Knocks
Brandy Bones
Vici Oshiro
Daniel Krammer
Tree Fitzpatrick
Maxim RiceMr.
George SorkinOxnard Community Forum
Charles OhlineTeacher - Education
Ariel Heron
Ron AnteroinenArtist
Bruce SkarinPrivate Contractor
Marena Drlik
Anita McKeownArt Services Unincorporated
Nathan BixbyHavens for the Future
William Jaspers
Mark Hauber
Ken Goldman
Amanda Seres
Baba Yunus MuhammadAfrica Islamic Economic Foundation
Alexandra Coscia
heather cimmy ayres
Paula Frighetti
Allen Thomas
Zabet NeuCollins
Janice Vranka
Robert WalkerSelf
Lindsay SoyerA Sacred Moment Funeral Services
Valter MuttMember of Parliament (Sweden)
dave delaney
Don Perlstein
Jordan Kitchens
Richard Turnock
Steven Berge
Cat Johnsonfreelance writer
Daniel MetzgerRetired Scientist
Joanna Etka
Jeanne ErtleCalifornia OneCare
Alex BlanesTHNK.org
Rochelle Towers

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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