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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

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
Melissa Quimby
Anna-Sarah Eyrich
Kathy Knowles
Rita Dixit KubiakBig Medicine Charitable Trust
Charles Pedroso
Linda Huff
Kathleen campbellTransition Town Media
Sue Michalsonuntarian Universalists Fellowship of Marion County
naomi blackburn
Donna GilletteRCIL
Kerry GendronMorgan Stanley
Nilsa ReyMs.
Peter B RaeThe Lightliving Foundation
Jeri Anne Hampton
Adriann MeyerAimcor International
Tim HjerstedFILMS FOR ACTION
Dana AllenOregon Community Rights Network
Dan Jagger
Nicolas Prince
Rick Wittekind
Shawna Gunning
Aliff BasriFuture Consumer Community
Ashley mazanecsandiego350, San Diego Energy District, Climate Action Campaign
Gemma Freeman
BRYAN MARTONFair Trade Philadelphia
Nelson AbreuNós, Cidadãos (PORTUGAL)
Nelson AbreuInternational Academy of Consciousness
Andrew Lee
Sandra Lockhart
Maggie Robertson
justin FatuchEarthship 2020
Alexandra Haas1988
Michael Shapiro
Diane Benson
Loretta Franklin
Jack StrasburgNew Paradigm Project
Michael Rosengren
David Antonioni
Donna KingChildren First
Eric Rightmyer
Jennifer HarrisonWriter
Marisa Rinde
Paul EdwardsRetired
Jane Morton
H Hunter
Francesca Testi
Jody Timms350Marin.org
Nick NobodyNick Nobody
Theresa Shiels
Shirley BirtMs.
Matthew Jones
Eric Nelsonjust me
S. Pearson
Frederic MarchThinkwell Associates
Richard MochelleUp 2 Us Project
William JacobyNational Action Groups Team, AE911Truth
Bill KirtonRocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center
Randy Ziglar
Christopher MichaelNew York City Network of Worker Cooperatives
gary galenretired Lutheran clergyman, Dr. Min.
Murillo Jaksys de Simone
Wayne BoucherMr.
jim clarkCommunity R & D of Alaska
michael bergerLRNA
Eileen LandisStudent
Mark and Jennifer Trumbo
Catherine Ferrara-HazellMs.
Tom WebbOakland Catholic Worker
SUSAN J JONES
Tenney Naumerblog: \"Climate Change: The Next Generation\"
Jay BostromZootown Zapatistas
Chris morrow
David Duncan
Bart Bibler
Patty Stinger-BarnesPrivate Citizen
Janis glenn
Brian Breen
Joan Fahlgren
Mikaela Barnes
Dennis SmithMr.
Maureen B. Morris
Judy WicksBeautiful Business
Matthew Reese
Kristy Watkins
Douglas GerlemanGo Green Northbrook
Michael Lawton
Kermit Yoder
Anne Richardson
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

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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