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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

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
Joseph DeLassusMr.
Mark Scheingold
Beth RacetteMs.
Dorothy Ross
She Spencer
Richard Spicer
Fran Mentch
Vern SimulaVeterans For Peace
Andrew Evan Hawthorn
Carol SavaryIndividual
wouter claeyshuidgeverij
Michael PhillipsEye Magic Graphics
e b bortz
Robert Roughton
Jane BollingerMs.
Marla Drucker
Gerald Quigley
Patrick DonaldsonP. J. Donaldson, Inc.
Dave ToppUnaffiliated
George Lewis
Ed Taylor
tasunka mazaMs.
Diane H. Fabian
Larry NewtonThe Way Forward
Kiersten Johnson
Raza MirWilliam Paterson University
Gretchen RymarchykKeuka College Division of Social Work
Bernhard UngerichtUniversity of Graz
gabi dragomirAdopt a Farm
Mary Ramsay
Hayden Stebbins
Peter Ferguson
Irene Weiser
Chris HebbDynamic Integrations LLC
David Richards
Praveen SinghNone
Jose Vibar
Risa MednickSocial Change Activist
Karen GadsonFreelance writer
Dirk PhilipsenDuke University
Alex baughSwarthmore College
Beki Lincks1948
Dr Robert MullerTeleological Resilience
Jim BingenRetired
Mary GreeneNUI Galway
b tove
Arthur MaerlenderUniversity of Nebraska - Lincoln
Jacob Pflaum
Nora McKeonTerra Nuova + Rome 3 University
Robert OrzannaUtrecht University
Romeo L. LagahitMindanao Land Foundation
jefg Harbaughnone
Curtis Kesner
Huan NgoBrainMicro LLC
ionut badea-
Rob KinslowFood and Fuel Foundation
Lucas Alden
Claudia McDonagh
Miriam Fulkerson
Teava Gheorghe-GeovaniMiscarea (Movement) Dacia - Romania
margaret lane
Forrest Watkins360bybike
David Brightman
Paul Krumm
Kimberly BorgheseMother, Nurse Practitioner
John KavanaughActivist
Linda Emerson
Cary Moy
Alan ZulchKalliopeia Foundation
Daniel NolanDodge Protective Services
Lisa Moellerself
Jay SchaffnerPortside
M. K. Brussel
Mark Boldman
katrine conroy
Miguelangelo de Cebuunitibe/ meditationflashmobnyc
Helen Cochems
Kevin Barron
Tracy KunklerCircleForward.US
pat colburn liberty
Roxanne KaneLawrenceville United
Lynn Mystic-HealerInteroccupy, Occupy Gassroots, Occupy Coos Bay, CCHRA
juliet Nailbluerepublican.org
Jamie Rud
Danielle LapianoPublic Health Graduate Student
Ryan JannengaThe Zeitgeist Movement
Philip VergragtTellus Institute; SCORAI
Benjamin HawbakerBoston College
Jamella Gow
david Prutch
Charlesq WhiteGardens of Babylon
Sandra AtkinsMs.
William gradin
Terri Van Orman
Jesse AlexanderAmateur Radio Emergency Service
Ryne TiptonDemocratic Socialists of America
Vicki Gronbach
Beth Shidecitizen
Shea SeabornMs.
Zach brucehumanity
Valarie FitzRandolph
Lee jppromenade of seoul
Alasandra star
Dana RickmanHumanity
Elisabet Thor-LarsenAccess Housing Cooperative
Tommie Simon
Eric Schneiderwww.Youth-LeadeR.org
francois hugon
Hendrix BerryJP Local First
George Carenzo
Zack WalshClaremont School of Theology
YOONKU KWONVirginia Tech
Taylor LittleBlack History Matters
Shane Galloway
Mary Long
Marga LaubeNew World Story
Eric Shelley
Laura BrodieMake Meaning LLC
Gay NicholsonSustainable Tompkins
Carolyn Everett
Liviu Caliman
Charles Elliott
Monte LetourneauGreen Parties o th Earth
Gloria Gould-Wessen
Oliver Aurand
Greg JohnsonResourcesForLife.com
Jose Cedeno
dorothy baconbubbling springs farm
Steven GeskeHealing Leaders
Merrily SuttonEarthkeepers
Kyle GoodallCentral Michigan University
Krys Cail
dave warren350.org
Amy Leigh
Risa Mandell
Eunho Chunseoul social economy center
James Henderson University of Queensland, Australia
Jacqueline FischerGoddard College
Judith Hart
Stevie Luther
Mike WeissmanWorld Business Academy
Victoria FolksReach Institute for School Leadership
Naomi Berg
Harvey Rubin
Mike Obsivacconcerned citizen
Henry Snyder
Clare Gunther
Mia BirdsongCanerow
Jerri Lamb
Jamie Zacharias
Mooydeen FreesEpiscopal Church
Larry Bragman
Chris Frater
David GansTruth and Fun, Inc.
David Hardee
Courtney GabinettiThe George Washington University Progressive Student Union
Shan Sweeney
Irene CumminsMs.
Shannon Howard
Paul SteinAlbany CA Unified School District
Katherine WyattMiss
James NewberryMr.
Michael O\'Hara
Kimberley JutzeShifting Patterns Consulting
Colin Beehler
Tamara Palmer
Timothy McCarthyHarvard University
Robyn KeefePlanners On Tour
Bill McAfee
Linda Carroli
Carey GerstenBeacon Food Forest
Patricia Shepard
R. Miles MendenhallGPUS
Anna PollockConscious Travel
Alex ShantzSt. Helena Unified School District, School Board Member
tom bible
Ernest Bornheimerself
Leslie A Gunning
Heidi KingMs.
Paulette MooreStoryDoula
Jason McDonoughGREENTV
David Sutliff-AtiasRochester Free Radio
ahmad javaherian
Mark DunleaGreen Education and Legal Fund
David BarkinUniversidad Autonoma Metropolitana; Mexico
Susan Lovelady
Aryt AlastiResponsible Investment at Harvard
Dennis CaristiMr.
Jonathan Olson
Debora Otteson
Matthew KaprothUniversity of Minnesota
Wallace KatzGlobality Studies Journal, SUNY-Stony Brook
Lizzy Gendell
Doug BogenMr.
Carol Crown
Laurie Goren
Barbara Raives
Saulo ColónNew Politics
Richard van StelStudent
William Hess
Hayden van Andel
Gary KaupmanRetired
Franklin Lacerda
Patrick KeatingRetired
Pete RamseyUniversity of Baltimore
Greg Fortune
Dave Olsen
Harry Kershner
Coty SorbyUniversity of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Pat Evans
J. Abernathy
Sandra Macias
Barbara Micheel
David SoumisVeterans for Peace
Joanne Bermudez
Michelle Stuart
Kevin O\'HareUniversity of Oregon Political Science
Jessica WilsonMrs.
Nigel Jones
Robert CardonaBerlin Mathematical School
Bobby MilsteinReThink Health
Jane EricksonReThink Health
peter brusikTrouble and Maker
LuAnn Cooley
Liz WalkerEcoVillage Ithaca
Alexa StafflerAlexa
Alexis FraszHelicon Collaborative
Steven JayPossibl
Kristen GlauserReThink Health
Aki TetriParecon Finland
Scott VincentCitizen, Activist
Drew Langdon
Dixie Thompson
Helen Forsythe*
Howard Silverman
Christina Cramer
Hank HerreraCenter for Popular Research, Education and Policy
Ronnie DuggerReporter & writer self-emplyed
Orion KriegmanInstitute for Policy Studies
David Scheel
Karen Taghi ZoghiMiami Dade College
cheryl higgins
Melina PlanchenaultCanadian and French citizen
caleb rockenbaughisideo
Brian EmersonThe Rethink Project, Local Futures
Christopher ClementUniversity of Vermont Gund Institute for Ecological Economics
Jeff Burdges
David WeickertMr.
David P. Michener, M.D.
Marvyn Morrison
Vinita Ricks
Robin Lehmanself
Ahren Stroming
Stephanie CohenMs.
Lee Burkettnone
carol lynn
Elliott FisherThe Dartmouth Institute
Kushaan ShahSocial Rise
Ron MillerNew Visions Foundation
Erick HerouxPortland Right to the City Coalition
Eva HermogenesBlue Sky Zen
Hackler Mark
Daniel Baxter
Ryan SalisburyTransferics Institute
Evan Girard
Jack Jack Tuholskepublic interest attorney
Craig BrownCommon Dreams
Karen Cooling
Eilish ZembilciThe Food Justice Alliance
Edward SnyderExec.Secty Emeritus,Friends Comtee on Natl Legis\'
Bob Raymond
Reinhold Asbeck
Mayana KingeryPeace Production
Monica Dyer
David Ward
Leah Smith
Farhad Farahmand
Brian Johnson
JoseLeonardo ZunigaParadoxInfinity
Frances Nichols AnglinHumanity\'s Team
Dana FraszFood Shift
Aaron RenaudGreen Party of Texas
Karen Jensen
Janice CollettIgniting Creativity: We Do It With Music!
Aareon Harreld
Concerned CitizenMoscow State University
Shelly Hollidaynone
Vlad Ryziw
Anne Macksoudwww.olddogdocumentaries.org
John Niki
mark molin
Raychel Santo
John McGowan
Nancy Fassinger
john cole meekerSea of Change Trading Co
Adam Klaus
Robin Rose BennettWiseWomanHealingWays and Sustainable West Milford
medora woods
Patricia TovarThe Butterfly Effect Project
Halina BrownClark University
Caroline ConleyShoreline Community College
Rachel Preston PrinzArchinia
francis halverson
Matthew EppersonDaily Groceries Co-op
Jarret HorstFilms For Action Baltimore, The Zeitgeist Movement, more
Sam PizzigatiInstitute for Policy Studies
Tonja Wilcox
Tammy WH-FisherCuriositeej Dolls & Collectibles
Lindsay CurrenCurren Media Group
Allyshia RhetaMediator
Dara YaskilCommunity Strategy Lab
Jenise Fryatt
Shelley VillalobosCouncil for Responsible Sport
Sandy Mabery
Suzanne Rose
Ashley Moy Wooten
Dawn RehmIndependent Consultant, international Economics and Transparency
Steve McCready
Kel Vannoy
Connie picard
Michael Duff
Glen SavoyUnited States of America
Regina Mazzuca
Thomas SimonMr.
Brian Chamowitz
Susan SmithCandidate for local office
Helena Drummond
Cindi Landreth
Sara Lawrence
dawnmarie metz
David Hamm
Alyssa RohrichtBlack Cat Revolution
Bonnie May
Michael Newman
Timothy Barchak
Shara GonzalesNew Beginnings, Inc.
Janet Kingsley
Harry Waisbrenact.tv
Daniel Lynch
Chia-Wei Chao0Green Citizen Action Alliance (Taiwan
Kirk deFord
Howard WinantUC Santa Barbara
Tony Henderson
Carmen TenEyck-McDowellEvergreen Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Kimberly Rexhttp://www.windowstotheheart.nte
Don Johnson
Carol HandRetired - Independent
kevin sims
Patty Fitzgerald
Ronald WaltersRetired
marc passen
Andy WillisLogan Square Ecumenical Alliance
Toni SegerWe MAD- Western Maine Against Deforestation
Abbie Watters
susan wilcoxSisters of St. joseph, Brentwood NY
Monica GetzCoalition for Family Justice
Alegria Barclay
Shirley McMullen
Kathleen Finnerty
Gary WhittenbergerDr.
Spencer WilliamsInstitute [on/of] Change
Eric Walle
Jim MeltonSelf
bob speiser
Phebe Gustafsonbeingchange.org
Wayne Gustafson
evelyn butler
Richard HazardMr.
Kathleen ZorkoMs.
Steve Jenkins
Gina Dennis
Sue Kollernone
renato inaciowaru
Myo Nyuntpolitical economist Myanmar
Kim LynnKepis & Dream Catchers, LLC
Holly Padgett
William Crosby
Alanna MarkleFirsthand Cooperative
harry Towne
Wyndham Boulterhumans on earth
Maenda Fortier
Javiera AlarconIPS
Rebecca MillerWalk onthe Wildside
susan johnson
Leslie ScottEntrepreneurial Places
Connie GordonThe Episcopal Church
Evelyn Sherwinrealsmalltowns.com
Robin Mallery
Beverly JonesEconomics of Compassion Initiatives
Melanie RestallMelanie\'s Meadow
cynthia thibeau
Stephen Fulham
Raines CohenCohousing California
Shabrayle Setliff
Dorothea BrauerUniversity of Vermont
Francesca PavoneSex Drugs and Honest Education
Michael Murphy
Thomas Clark
Devan Fava
Thom CarnevaleMember, Telluride Town Council
Carryl KingtonCountonCarryl
Susan Carlson
Annemarie Parrish
Tapani KöppäUniversity of Helsinki
Glenn Kuschke
Suzanne Koehler viewedAguaVerde Eco-Services
Amy Sorensen
Malcolm Smith
Susan Guest
Joseph LinghamNhs
Lisa Baker
marianne rossconcerts in the country
Steven Jones
Alan JenkinsMr.
Stephen Warren
Lori HeathGrand Design
Diane Dellicarpini
Michael MenserParticipatory Budgeting Project
Bethany SpielmanSouthern Illinois University
Russell WallackAppleseed Permaculture
Deborah Ronnquist
Ally YoungDill Pickle Food Co-op
Ray BarnesCedar grove
Susan SingerSingerSCPM.com
Sandra Hucher
Steven PalmerCitizens Cooperative

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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