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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

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
Susan Coyle
Rachel SwansonCornell University
Stan Troy
Teresa Roberts
David LedfordWe are all and all are we. no division.
Stephen VerbeekHumanity
Evelyn Mirabella
Michael LynnChicago Area Peace Action
Thom Levy
David GarfunkelFSG
Larry Schartman
Ethan BeuteCitizen
Winston Friedman
Torie Tiffany
laure heinz
paul singleton iii
Stephen Ernst
Biljana AllyArtist
Andrew Murphie
Diane Blust
Barry KaufmanMr.
Allan BranscombSelf
Anna MasterPotentials Wellness Center
Timothy A. CanovaNova Southeastern University
Veronica Ybarra
Steve FortierMeeting Waters YMCA
Lois Russell
Stephen SpieckermanGreen Party
John Berube
Victor TiffanyThe Amendment Gazette
Mike Bento
Amary Taylor
Janathan HamiltonEarth
Claire Joseph
Stephen WehrenbergUS Coast Guard
david cavagnolcitizen
Lorraine Heth
Scott Parent
Christopher McCamicUniversity of Rochester
James Klein
Fanshen DiGiovanniOne Drop of Love
Timothy Cole West Wind Consulting
Kristin Gaspar
Russell Will
Daniel RoblesThe Ingenesist Project
joe and mary volpeseiu
Aravinthan Indramohan
Carole Katz
Rhoda Gilman
Sheila and John CollinsNational Jobs for All Coalition; Global Ecological Integrity Group
Terry BergeronMr.
dawna nolan
Kirsten O\'Brien
Aubrey Tingler350.org
Bradley HysonThe Peace Revolution
Tracy S Troth
Alice BolstridgeDr.
Onno De Jong348 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003
Craig Brestrup
Liz EttaTenants Union of Washington State
Nancy Schimmeloccupella.org
Don HonMr.
Colby Glassretired
Steve Means
norman levenberg
Arthur Morin
Bobby Hayden
Peter HawxhurstEducation Equals Making Community Connections
Alorah LavenderPachamama Alliance
Patricia OrlinskiWest Valley Neighborhoods Coalition
Pat CannonAbbey of Hope
Chris Ferrell
mariu Suarez
Jacqueline BondBurness
Jeff Lydon
Gordon EagleheartMr.
Tam BeelerMountain Stream
Aaron Reid
Bo SvenssonVisual Delights
Nancy simon
Brian LloydOccupy The Hearth
Armand Ciuffo
Patricia Bacon
Stuart Yoho
Robert MendelsonNone
Juanita Herrell
Luis Flores MimicaConsumers International
Sherrill Futrell
Jessica LandonMs.
JAMES SHOWALTERRETIRED
Katy ParrishPAVE
Michael CambriaBuffalo Public Schools
Jonathan Levitt
Amandine Laumont
laia rufaro
Gerald BeaneCitizen
Jason WienerJason Wiener|p.c., a public benefit corporation
Frank Primiani, J.D.Green River College
Ed GoldmanBrooklyn For peace
George M. WoodwellWoods Hole Research Center
Brent Rocks
Adam Wolter
Zach RosenblattSystem Change Not Climate Change
Jay GerometteUSMC
Caroline BriggsFree Speech TV
Karen Brodkin
Saxon Thompson
james van looyst. paul\'s cathedral church
Steven Schuldt
Alison Rose LevyHealthJournalist.com
sarah brownriggn/a
Sergio Rivera
Nancy Pettingill
Perry Phillips
Mark Darienzo350PDX
Todd BeerLake Forest College
David GoodmanAndrew Goodman Foundaiton
Alexandre Rizzo
Karen Lozow
James TartariRetiree
Elie YardenGreen-Rainbow Party
William KaufmanIndependent journalist/organizer
David G. Skaugerud
Tina Moaven
Judith Burton
Carl CarpenterTalksho
Mason Pesek
Rebecca NilesReThink Health
George Rabb
Andy Scott
Starflower O\'Sullivann/a
Carol Blanchard
Edward McCarthy
Megan O\'Connor
Paul BundschuhIndigo Woods
Virginia BennettUniversity of Hawaii / Manoa
Malini GoelGlobal Green Pals
Anna CreeganReThink Health (rethinkhealth.org)
Jim BartonSmith Mill Creek Institute
Kenneth Rubyindependent
dennis whitcombMr.
Susan OgdenMaryland Committee to Amend
Marisa Laufer
Patrizia ZanoniHasselt University
Matthew Franck
alexandra moffat
matt evearittbehold creators
Rosalind Freeman
Ally GotsellReThink Health
Dorothy Berndt
Janice Davis
Allen VeanerN/A
brenda johnson
Irene Davidson
G. GibsonCitizen
Dr. Brad BlantonCenter for Radical Honesty
Rose McIntyre
Jason Bowman
Katy KayIndividual citizen
Dave KingClimate Jobs PDX (JWJ member org)
Karl NorthTCLocal.org
Christine Grant
Marc ElrichMontgomery County Councilmember (At-large)
Lois Jordan
Lorraine CohenLaGuardia Community College
Judy SchwartzPDA
Chris DonnellyChamplain Housing Trust
Brandon LottPacifica Graduate Institute
Micah Bennett
Yael Robertson
Kent Hartman
Eric BottorffOakton Community College
K. Daily
Joe Shaw
Christine RoaneMs.
Julie Puckett
Brett Grossona
willy de backer3EIntelligence
Jon OlsenGreenParty
Michelle SmithSocial Profit Strategies
phyllis huginsMs.
Gregory HoodWalden University
Terry Heislen
Rae Pearson
Ron WilliamsFree Speech TV
Gary Brosz350.org
Douglas C DeatonColumbia Ecovillage Cohousing
l mend
Kevin BowmanThe Chrysalis Institute
Rex LaMore
carol stegerOrganization
Pirooz Emad
Mike BreckelOcooch Mountain Elderberries LLC
William Wilsonprivate
Tracy Griswold
diane greenberg
Patrick BrownFossil Free MIT
George Ripley
Ken Dymond
Ricardo Wheeler
Shelly Neuman
Jackie DuvallN/A
Janice Scales
rj marshall
Darian KeepsProject Censored - Media Literacy
Michael AndersonEvolve to LOVE, LLC
Dejan Bajic
Coke Dilworth
Floyd Tolar
Calvin KordelaWork Opportunities of Lynnwood, WA
Bill NerinGreen Party
Karen Friedeborn
Michael CoburnAssemblyTaconma.org
Nancy TaylorMs.
Shari BruunMs.
Guy Sturino
Grant HollandOrganicComplexSystems.org
Kayleen KottThe human race
Guy Zahller
Tom LarsenRedeemer Lutheran
Lillia FrantinPeopleForANewSociety.org
Chris O\'Brien
Jared Mabienone
David Daniel
John Meckstroththebrights
Hyung NamPortland Right to the City
Beth SachsVT Energy Investment Corp.
Sue LomenzoSmall World Strategies LLC
Vincent Paiano
Arthur C. HuffineChair - Island County Democrats
Dennis HinrichsRainbow Buddha Farms
Patricia Savage
Paula Schramm
lowell brookUnitarian Universalist
Pat Hanburymy family
Richard Lynn LivesayPoor Poet\'s Society
Nathan Owens
Bill KaysI am a sovereign individual
Nan Bauer-Maglin
Mike McCarthy
Steven Kostis KKI
David Wen Riccardi-ZhuMr.
Michael LevitinOccupy.com
William WhiteAHA
TR Duncan
Elizabeth McGeeIndependent Consultant
Malcolm BuckUnited Methodist Church
LINDA JORGENSON
Arturo OsorioRutgers
Alan StewartProgressive Global Commons
Jim McCall
Chandler DavisScience for Peace
Stephanie GellerUniversity of MD School of SW, Social Work Community Outreach Service
bruce mchenry
Glen SandbergHarmony Hall
Dawn JonesJohnson County Greens
Bob Farrellretired
Mary Tegtmeier
Gary Bryant
Kay Wilder
Karen Gollrad
David Kemnitzer
Del Hardesty
Jan Trout
Carolyn Lilly
Nina GreggForum on Ethics and Responsibility
Robert Bickers
Elena GoryunovaIAE Aix-en-Provence
Scott CamilVeterans For Peace Chapter 14
Andon Johnson
William NelsonNone
Jeanie Bustard
Mark Healdretired
Julia Hammett
Robert TinkerTinker Energy
Brian Cady
Tahira AlfordSelect...
Robert Donohoe
Chad EvansMr.
Kari franzen
Dan Welsh
Jim RuttGame B
Lew FriedmanCampaign to Stop Killer Coke/Corporate Campaign
Gerrit Crouse
Cathy HoltAsheville 350.org, Transition Asheville
j angell
Tim Denton
Brian ReindelNone
Heather Smith
anna realityMrs.
Mariana Vanderburg
Spencer Wagner
Lindsey Edwards
Steve MckennaYork University, Toronto
Ann JosephSoutheast Environmenal Task Force
Nancy RomerBrooklyn College Community Partnership
Ruth SteinbrecherMs.
Patricia Wood
Duane ElginGreat Transition Stories
Jann CobbMs.
Christina Lange
Mallory Morken
Penelope CurtisMs.
Donna Magdalina
Sharon LacosteNone. I stand alone.
John Jumonville
Tamera RizkClarkson University
Steven WestFearless Computing
Richard Brems
John Sarettreunaffilated trouble maker
Joyce HarrellGreen Party
Arthur Hynes350Vermont
Emily Achtenberg
Thomas Depies
Daniela Lapidous
George SilvestroviciOastea lui Stefan cel Mare
Christopher Denton
Robert ButlerMr.
Andy Heidt
judith doveMs.
Victoria Parks
Donald WrightEngineer, Secular Social Justice Activist
Robert Rosas
Dennis Dettlaff
Tim DeChristopher
Christopher PatersonBloger
Frank SouthworthTransition NYC
Roger McAniffSeven Paths
Paul Hefferon
Vivian Arroyo
Barrie Barton
Lyn Clark Pegg
David MargolisPerson
Barbara Epstein
Mike Bird
David S. NicholsMr.
Paul Karitis
Mark O Dochartaigh
David BraniganBikes Not Bombs
Paul Lauenstein
Dr. Carl D. Evans
Michael CodaySmall Blue Planet
Eleanor KayeJUSTICE FOR ALL !!!!! PEACE ON EARTH !!!!!
larry carneyCCODP
Emilie Giustozzi
Debra McIntyre
David Flick
Karen WilsonOriental Institute
Barbara Coady
Maura Buckley
Bob HamburgOmega-Alpha Recycling Systems
Carmen Scaglione
Ed Taylor
Sharon Powell
Jack SchooleyThe Public

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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