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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

Anna BrittainSelf employed
Jacinta GarciaRN @ UC Irvine Medical Center
matthew garrett
E. Joy ArnoldMove to Amend
nancy SindelarWyoming Peace, Justice, and Earth Center
Rhonda May
Diane NugentCenter for Inherited Blood Disorders
Renee ScheltemaNORMAL IS OVER THE MOVIE
Ken Henry
Sequoia Powers-GriffinMt. Auburn Presbyterian Church
Dante JamesDMD Films, LLC
Jeb Bennett
Martha SwanJohn Brown Lives!
Angie Rutherford
joseph Cave
Dominique LepoutreRetired
Cory Kadlec
Jan Kosarskihuman race
Carlos Sabater
Suzanne McCullough
Mark Peterson
Tarianne DeYonker
Rick Adamski
Ron HaydukQueens College CUNY
Jeffrey Vogel
Josh NoseworthyNature Conservancy of Canada
marina adler
Mary Mathieu
Jillian Joyce
Robert Walser
Jennie StephensUniversity of Vermont
Jane Helmstetterprivate citizen
phurpa lamaclimate yatra
Edward La Combe
Paul Easton
Jeremy Mathieu
mike Markovits
Faith Sadley
Simon Plantsafeguarding provision
bernard honigprivate
Fritz Stauffer
Rudy Sovinee
Nancy Galloway
elise beaube
Michael DaviesEnvironmental and Sustainability Professional
Vladislav Tumir
MILJENKO CimesaSoL Croatia
Kalina Gallardo
Gary MarshallAuckland Permaculture Workshop
William EverettRetired
Poodien Free spirit
Donald CoughlinFellowship of Reconcillation, Olympia, WA
Leah Emerson
Joel Meulemans
Mary MallerFarmshed, Interfaith Community for the Earth, 350.org!!! and much more
Carolyn Butlerindependent consultant
James Alnas-Benson
Aerin GuySpaceRace Digital
James BurgessStudent, Activist
Bradley KaylNone
Patricia Vázquez
Hannah Bleier
Carol Powell
Lisa KavanaughMs.
Chinese OtehThe Cowry Collective
Nate Burton
Matt NoyesMeiji Unviersity
Karen NyhusCode Pink
Cindy Abbott
Ronald Miller
Herb Gamberg
Ruth Gamberg
Luke DuffyTogether We Stand Global.Org
elizabeeth siftar
James StovallReverend
Jan Van Sickle
Mary BranninMrs.
James Perkins
Suzan Hill
Jane Stoffer
Robert Lang
Peter MichaelsonEpiscopal Church, RI State Council of Churches
Stanislav Birkoas an individual
Margaret Willits
Marc Wilder
Kris PagenkopfMr.
E Victoria GroverFull Circle Health Care, LLC
Jo Crainnone
Matthew FredriceyA Third Fire
Elizabeth Hallett
Barrie MacraeLittle Hawk Farm
bob manizza
Ingrid Oliphantingridoliphant.com
Michael DeLozier
Amanda JanooUNIDO
Barry Cohen
Julie MarkOFA
Jon MacKay GobeilCity University of New York- Lehman College; Pennsylvania State University
Betsy Reiling
Stephen Marlowe
Mary Barr
Aaron Greiner
Judy ToddWILD
Jeremy LentLiology Institute
SarahDawn HaynesFront Range Bioneers
Claudia King\"life on earth\"
Paula TownsleyHumanity
Alene Reich
Mark KroeningUniversity of Michigan
Donna HowardLoaves & Fishes Catholic Worker
Cameron HalasIVAW
Annemarie Pulawski
elizabeth whitehouse
Cheryl Grey
Michael Perazzetti
David AlperovitzMcLean Hospital
Jeannine LoveRoosevelt University
Linda LittrellDivest>Invest Minnesota
lin willetthumanity
Erica Etelson
Niels Nielsen
Scott Lester
Alice MelendezPlowshares Community
Donna Haney
Keith JudgeLeague of Independent Voters
Rob Webber
Breffni O\'Rourke
Michael Starkeyna
Denise Henrikson
Steve Seuser
Robley GeorgeCenter for the Study of Democratic Societies
Steven HobbsDr.
Michael MorganMichael Morgan
James Baron
Richard BergnerTransition Fidalgo & Friends
Maura Kelley
Eric BensonRe-nourish
Bonita HughesBerkeley Arts Festival
Fatin Chowdhury
cassandra simerson
Felix KramerBeyondCassandra.org
Clarisa Moore
Neil CollierLeuphana University
Martin TrutherGlobal Paradigm Shift
M. Jahi ChappellInstitute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Eric RodriguezThe Urban Canopy
Lisa and George FranzenProgresssive Democrats of America
Jim Moore
Brian KaminerInvestWithValues.com
Robin Sowton
David Barnhill
James MatsonHuman on Planet Earth
Ernest J.P. Muhly
John Gibbon
Mark Cohen
Gregory Crislipindividual
Tim Sparer
Meghan WilliamsonPine Knot Projects
Katie GrimmCommunity Health worker network of Buffalo
Dylan Smith
Carole LeversOFBA
Katie Lyon-Hart
Scott MauerMoebiusTrip Software
Michael McKinney
Malcolm Rowe
Pat West
Joan Wendling
Sharon Marienfeld
Tawny S Castle
Tobias Schulze-ClevenSMLR/Rutgers
Jonas Prophetdreadone.5gbfree.com
steve jonesTrinity Foundation
David Lee
Robert C. Aragon
Lawrence Turnerunique library
andrew gilhespySchumacher College
Mary BissellRRPS
Jean Douglas-Webb
Linda Inness
Andrew Campagnola
Joshua Wright
Susan Garrett
Adrienne EatonRutgers University
Larry SinclairRetired Agricultural Engineer
Elizabeth Cross
Michael Mermin
Donna Hegstad
Joyce NoltrFamily
Donald FauselElders for a Sustainable Future
Tomasz HerzogUniversity of Maine at Presque Isle
David LewisSelf
Ran WilsonRandom Designs Inc.
marcia dimmitt
Vesna RebernakSHIFT - Saving Historic Identity for Future Times
danell Yoch
Carolina king
Michelle Robinson
Marcia Helme
Ariel TaylorUniversity of Victoria
Judy Nickelson
ray johnsSeafarers International Union
Justin ReadSan Francisco Rescue Mission
david webb
Eric ZenceyGund Institute for Ecological Economics
Charles LandmanConscious Elders Network
Jerome SkyrudProgressives
Julia Hathaway
Nicole ArchambaultBoston University
Trevor Young-HymanUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
Jennifer Hrachovec
Dennis Mayer
Carole RichmondMs.
Jennifer Muller
Rachel Guest
Helen Jenkins
Judy Wagner
James Demko
Darcy DuMont350Mass
Carol KellyThe Christian Community
Mark LokensgardSt. Mary\'s University of San Antonio
Kristin RothballerNetwork Weaver & Strategist
Kyenne Williams
Blake SugarmanNYU Divest
Ryan Black
T.S. McMillin
Mark LeicesterClimate Advocacy Group in Newton, MA
Dennis SpaderMr
Grace Treffinger
Larry Wong
jerome parker
Maria SauseMs.
Chad Green
Louis Rinaldi
John Nirenberg
Richard A. PaquetteUnifor local 444
Deborah BarnesU.S. Citizen
Phillip Dixonretired educator
Peter George
Julie RaymondOne Being Many Tribes
Mario Dufour
Shelley SacksSocial Sculpture Research Unit, and University of the Trees
jay tomptTotnes REconomy Project
Michael Klugindividual
Carmine Vincenzo
Linda McKenzie
heather loveringfarm girl
Shaun Bartone
Reg CanadayRetired Educator, grandparent
Patricia Ravasio www.buckyworld.me
Robert WhitneyCitizen of United States of [North] America
Gideon BurdickRed Tomato
Richard Richard Yarnell
Randy Langel
Julia WiddowsonScenic Hudson
Jeannette Nadon
Andrew Simpson
Seth Geiser
Dave RoitmanClimate Action Now / Pioneer Valley MA
Charles Franklin
Brent Hopkins
Katherine TrebeckOxfam
Chris ZumbrunnDezentrale.org
James Babij
Dustin HinzExperimental Farm Network
Derek StewartDesigner
george martin-mauserCalifornia Wilderness Trainings Inc.
David Maurice
danny chorikiLuna Farmers Coop
Linda Rudolph
Amy Melton Prentiss
Paula Mintek
Stacey Murphy
Alyssa IsakowerThe Ocean Project
Ray MurrayThe DOOR
Cathy NealBountifulBrookline
Bill SquireVerde Community Farm & Market
Rebecca Hiatt
Cecil ShamuAfrica Frontier
Bing Gong
Elisabeth Motsinger
Jonathan D\'Orleans
Steve CottrellPlanet Earth
Dianne RhodesAll WoMen Rising
Steve BrownCommonwealth Solutions
Joshua Bregman
Arthur Milholland
George Newman
Dada MaheshvaranandaProut Research Institute of Venezuela
Stephen ShaffCommunity-Vision Partners
James HerndonMr.
Ron BenenatiSustainableBusiness.com
J.M. HiattOrganization
Ellen Frenkel
William DeVoreMr.
Howard B. Bernstein
Adrian Hill
Rajesh KasturiranganRajesh Kasturirangan
Joan Lessans
Brian James
Anke WesselsCenter for Transformative Action
Peter Gunther
Harvey rodsteinALH
Jacquelyn McShulskisKalamazoo Climate Change Coalition
Rita SloanAlternatives to Violence Project NV
Jane Middleton United Methodist Bishop
J. Howard KucherIncome For Outcomes, A Benefit LLC
Tim TuckerTuckerbee\'s Honey
Patricia Demare
Lezley McDouallThreshold Clubhouse
Chris Paterson
Joaquin WindhamEarth Consciousness Sanctuary, Inc
Jeff FurmanBen & Jerry\'s
jon leightonGreen Party UK
Gary Stewart
Dan JonesGross National Happiness USA
d morriswest chester university
marion yaglinskiTransition Town Media
Juan B. González
Mary Dean
Hans Meyer
Charley QuintonOzoneFarm.org
christine harkertruman state u
Jonathan KissamVermont Workers\' Center
Jesse-Blue ForrestAbolish The Draft
Dale Schumacher
Patrick Gregory
Paul Clarence
George Dimock
David BaumannTaking Root
Judy Rawlings
Deni Mathews
Nicholas BartenhagenCitizen
Melinda SkinnerHumanity
Richard Bramham
Gregory Crockett
Nina Tatlock
Evandro Albiach BrancoINPE - Brazil
Harold M. Frost IV
Deana GamblinWhispering Star
Joseph RussoSchool teacher
Winston WeeksCitizens Education Project
Nancy KlattMs.
Craig Gebauer
Fenton WilkinsonIntegrity Systems
Harley Beal
Gregory HemingCentre for Local Prosperity
Jolie Mahan
Mike BisphamSmallholder and writer
Mehdi LemanInstitute for Desirable Futures
Cyrus MartinSierra Club
Maria LavisHarvard University
Kurtis Thygesen
Benjamin HopkinsHualani Farms LLC
Anne AndersonPsychologists for Social Responsibility
Todd SmekensMiddletown Media Ltd.
Helen IrelandWell
Jeremy Carrle
Barbara PowersEdmonds UU Church Peace & Justice
Scott CarlinSun Valley Wellness Institue
Victoria ArmigoTransition Silicon Valley
Maryellen Redish
Isaac Gonzalez
Caitlin Simons
Alex Weiss
ANN LYNN
Ceal SmithRenewable Communities Alliance
Ali Erul
derek davies
Joannahh Hostetler
Julie Kangas-Walker
Jennifer Spicer
Michael von Sacher-Masoch
Albert Parisi
Andrew Spezowka
Bourtai HargroveConfronting the Climate Crisis, Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation
Debbie MytelsTransition Palo Alto
Nigel King
Kai Hagen
Marsha Swanson
Troy ChapmanNWABR
So-Young LeeInstitute for Global Environmental Strategies
Leonard HockleyLiberty Tree
Anath White
Casey McKee
Kevin Murphynone
Tiffany Mitchell
paul meyer-strom
Kim Burgess
Ann ManningWomen\'s Congress for Future Generations
Ms EnteraEntera-theArtist.com
Benjamin Sibelman
Jeffrey LewisSustaining Natural Systems, LLC
Mark VoorsangerThe Collaborative Operating System
Julia Dashe
Madeline VuDesigner
Karla Ekquist-LechnerNaugatuck Valley Community College
Defne Apul-
Marty Clemons
Lee PillowThe Green Living Coalition, Inc
Sharon Forrest
Salvador Velazquez
Barbara LaytonBabette\'s
Darryl MleynekPortland State University
Kris Pitschka
April Gilbert
Chris Olson
Anne Clements
Nancy Deren
Charles Moore
Bernice DrakeCircle of Life Congregation
BB Banksself
Duncan Masonthe human race
Rick Hoffmanunion
Marne Dupere14feet.
Ty Shlackman
Sarita Daftary
Kat HostetlerMs.
Alexander ManessFree Speech Television
Mark Leger
Sass BrownEco Fashion Talk
Debra BorowiecMarcellus Protest
Nancy Seiferwhenthesoulawakens.org
Shellee Davis
Julia McGann
Linda Gillaspy
Robert Hope
Ann van Buren
Mark Pine
Diane Beeny Union County (NJ) Peace Council
Perry WheelerGreenpeace
Martin WolskeUniversity of Illinois Center for Digital Inclusion
Bev DuBose
Carolyn Shea
Melanie WinterThe River Project
Glen MotilMotility Enterprises
Sebastian Uijtdehaage
Garrett Gregor
Marj Hogan
alan bucknam
James StoneHumanity
antony hegarty
stephen hatland
Rick BickhartWar Resisters League
Sherry Steiner
Nick SussilloWildfire Prevention Activist
Christopher MortweetStudent
Brian EhmannPhiladelphia Federation of Teachers
James Quacinellan/a
David PudloI stand with the people of the world
Glenn GriffithAstronomy
Don Crane
Richard Noyes
Sir E. J. DruryRivendell Books
Meghan Hawkins
Richard Bland
Clayton Jones
Duncan MacMartin
Matthew Kasten
Jacke SchroederTrue Justice, LLC
Jon Nelson
Nancy Dennis
Babs Griswold;
Michelle DuganMrs.
Jerry Leigh
Eric Harris-BraunHarris-Braun Enterprises, LLC
Susan steigerwalt
Mic CollinsActivist
Melody Roberts
Elizabeth Alexander
Don Schweizer
Vesta ShapiroMs.
Christian SweningsenHudson Valley Biofuel
Charles Posa McFaddengreensocialdemocracy.org
Rebecca Gawboy
Matthew Bird
Carin Brender
Terry Habecker
Matthew Richey
Jabari Lee
Rene LimeresUltimate Rivers
Kateri O\'NeilDepartment of CHAOS
Phil RourkThe FairShare Foundation
Douglas Zimmer
J Furstoss
Katharine Merow
Sunny Freeman-GenzBoise EcoVillage Project
Kathy Johnson
Walt KloefkornWashington State Coordinator, Progressive Democrats of America
Nathan Judy
Wanda Ballentine
Susan Renhard
Emily RobichauxTaoti Creative
Matt BethuremSUNY ESF
Riitta DeAnda
Yvevtte Tapp
Diane Cuellar
Barbara Schmidt-Bailey
Laura Wilder
Steven Peppas
kris hodges--
Barb Sliger

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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