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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

Dale Withey
Havely Carsky
deborah washingtonindividual
Judith Yokum
Owen Finn
Crystal ZevonRoots & Resistance
Jill Kelfer
Kathy Sadus
James Jennings
JOHNNY SANTER
Jean-Patrick Grillet
Megan Dasher
elizabeth lewis
Rudolph TraversTTG
Ami Sommariva
Brady BootonIndivisibleUpperKeys
Michael Dorais
Vamos Ramos
Randy FisherDesignworks, Inc.
Cameron Shay
Shannon McNulty
Anne Verga
Brian DabsonUniversity of North Carolina
Scott McGregorRock and Root Eco
Deborah Brewster
Amanda Zielinski
FM Boone
Laura NyeMs.
Timothy PyneMr.
Jessica Bari
Brad Palladino
Selinda Martinez
Michelle Drury
john kimaknone
e.m. dragowskycitizen
JOSEPH PATELLADr.
K Glerk
Marty Adams27510
Joey Diana GatesSolar Systems Unlimited
Taylor KikuchiDMBA Candidate, California College of the Arts
Nancy Severy
Ross Conrad
Taylor Sweet
Anthony Rogers-Wright
Debra Klebesadel
Angel TorresArizona Green Party (AZGP)
frank lamson
Craig LockeAn Ambassador For Peace
Marianme Wentworth
Arlene Baker
Henry SchwarzGeorgetown Univ
Charlotte BerschbackGeorgetown Law Student
DANIEL BAKERWE THE PEOPLE
Joe HadarThe Individual
Mike Spivak
premjeet sirohiuniversal life management
N\'ann HarpHoneycomb Home
Dylan ThomsonDemocracy at Work
Martha Bryant
Jerilyn Spring
carla gorbey
SuSan HoffmannO.N.E Networking Entertainment
Jill Salse
Martha Viglietta
RUBEN MORALESUniversity of PR, Cooperative Institute
Jonathan StubbsMr.
Matt Rescott
Ross Richardson
Giulia VollaStudent
Virginia Brisley
Gayle Gustin
Chris Evavold
Sue Maxon
Justin Schoville
Lise snyder
Sarah Drye
Felicity Brown
Heidi Wilson
Nicole Flowers
Timothy Wright
Cyrille Labesse
Matt HamptonCommunity Wireless Trust
Jade Tippett
Rudy Berg
Caroline McCall
Dale BlomeUFK
Jia Li PrattSweet Water Foundation
diane white
Nick Brana Draft Bernie for a People\'s Party
Adam Sacks
Peter EerensLiving Health Systems
patricia littleton
Steven KefferJames Madison University (emeritus)
Manuel MuroHumanity
Dave VolekDave Volek Publishing
Cheryl Jaworski
Sean MorrisUniversity of Vermont
Joseph JantzGrandfather
Brandon ClarkUniversity of Maryland
Russell Kilday-HicksFossil Free California (FFCA)/CSUEU
Chris Paar
Craig Jacobs70533
Lisa Holt
Norman Bretz
Rene Corona
linda borowski
Mark BarnettFoley Hoag LLP
Orlando CoronaSelect...
Uv Stav
Susan Jobson
Bill PhippsFaith and the Common Good/ United Church of Canada
john perry72560
Andrew Jacobs
Sadie Jenkinscitizen
sue stewart
Peter B Wright
Irana Shepherd
Dave Paulson
Armando Davila1stWorldConfessions.com
Enis CirakGigamunch
Geofrey Showalter
Vincent BarronMr.
Ann Broadhurst
Katherine FisherThe New School
ROMONA MAYEAUXself
Maria Hondros
Marta Drago
Nancy LathamLearning for Action
Scott PerretNew Now
Pete BarkettVinnie\'s Pizza
Myriam Burger
Arne Bollingerecobasa.org
Juan González
Jessica Walls
YIRAN ZHU
Priscilla JCPASGhana
Robert EnglishDemocratic Black Caucus, Jacksonville Fl.
Karen Knoebber
Phil Tate
Mark Mohundro
Sidra Fatima
Joe Feely
Helen WeaverWellness Weavers
Jason Atkins
Eric Grabowski
Jeff GraubartAFFEERCE
Barbara RacekONE WORLD
Ian Snapp
Jesse PaulASPECT
Mauricio EspinosaMr.
Jeffrey Hesketh
Sharon Robbins
Pauline Boivin1210
Anitra Griffin60048
Mitchell ChanelisStories Exchange Project
Phil Seeman
Nazare Mondragon
Lorenzo Mondragon
Navid AminiMetro MedicoLegal, LLC
Peter BeattieUci
Brett Wellington
Bernard MoranWicklow Sudbury School
Jose Oscar MediavillaInfiniteTrees Project
Alex Sloan
Richard Paprocki
ALIYU BALA SHEHUcivil engeering graduate
Ronald SmithVerdant Power Inc.
Christian Mach
Lorraine Cleveland
Nancy Neudorf
Jennifer Parsons
Joe Burris
duke MkeFVD
Wesley Cammenga
Lawrence Levner
marilyn piedra-palacios
Kyle Hendrickson
Josue Ramirez
Bobby SchultzE3
Tovah Borzaya
Bryn WhiteheadIC*Stars
Tracy Bentley
Ashley Thorpe
Robyn EllisMayhem Ltd
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Joyce GoodFrack Free Illinois
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Margarett Davisglobal health - unaffiliated
Caryn MaximGrupo Cajola
Steven Jones
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Kelly BaumanNorthwest Earth Institute
Marcin Lewandowski
Liz Roth
Chad BiggersCase Western Reserve University
Paul JustusLSD Productions LLC
Heather Korb
Ronan Whittekerstrategies.group
Yolanda Randolph
Julian PlanaSociedad Española de Sistemas Generales, 1st Vicepresident
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Jess GilbertUniv. of Wisconsin, Madison (retired)
Julian HareMichabo Sustainable Harmony
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Patrick MulvihillAmicitia
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Noemi Alarcon
Mary ManganLutheran Social Service of MN
Anthony Robles
Royce Ranada
Janet Andrews
Julian Hartley
David LackeyPlace on the Planet
K.S. Pratt
John RodriguezAvivar Group
Kate EatonPublic Citizen, Environmentalist
Karen Hansen
Emlyn Williams
Kimball Whitfield
Paula MatsonNone
Paul Ahrens
Geoff Plant
Toni Marshallnone
Nicole WeldMindful Learning Systems
Richard Savage
darry davieseducation
Brad GriffithEastside Neighbors for Peace
Toluwalashe EmokpaeColgate University
Lauren Rogers
Albert van den BergRadboud University
David Delf
Muhammad AtiqMarxist Youth Commune
Tsaitami DuchicelaArtists Solidarity Foundation
Timothy ReedyUniversity of Maryland
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marvin saurbierhidden valley farm
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John SpritzlerPDRBoston.org
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Jon Jacobs
Michelle Nguyen
Bryan KavanaghProsper Australia
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Maria Howar
Kristy HaunnIndiana University
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Marcus PendletonMen\'s Group
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Kris Johnson
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Bruce JenningsCenter for Humans and Nature
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Christine Madeo
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Joanna Campe Remineralize the Earth
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Linda SmircichUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
Ann McCoyMental Health America of Greater Houston
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Stanley Taylor
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Erka VossEarth Wisdom
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mark reitz
Jay Spencer
Harry Keiser
Taehyun Park
Josseline Husted
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Ian ChristieUniversity of Surrey
Raymond FoleyOur revolution
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Jeff Smith350 Missoula
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Abigail Cohen
Tibet Sprague
Dennis MulhollandSTrawberry Lifestyles
Joseph FriendlyTruth For A Change
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Serina WhitfieldInnersoul, wisdome within.
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Jonathan Belmont
bob scagAFM: american federation of musicions
Molly Baron45226
matthew lewis
Jessica Smith
Debra Davis
James Bonney Bonney Inc
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Mark McClaneindigenous conservancy project
James Williams
Paul Coughlinconcerned citizen
Sarah Werner
Lance Owensunaffiliated
Gordon Cruikshankself
Kelly Blue
GP WalshMasterHEART Institute
Bill RyanJesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice
Marcia ElstonThe Samara Company
Jonathon Lozano
Marilyn GreenbergEcoCiv
Linda Talbot
Anthony RatcliffBlack Lives Matter - Los Angeles
zoe morgan sydneyMovement for Ranked Ballot
Dale OlenMilwaukee Water Commons
Jim Bay
Cydney Renee
Melanie Britten-Boos
Thomas B. Ragleretired
angelo allen
Christa Prescott
made benson
Bruce BuffordN/A
val kater
chaitanya davépragati foundation
Madeline TaylorProgressisve Democrats of America
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Leon BasquiatAC4I
Heather Paulson
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Rhiannon Roberts
Rae AmeyRae Amey Enterprises, Inc.
Shannon Dahan
Marcella WomackNEW DAWN LLC
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Michael LocklearChesapeake Center for Regenerative Agriculture
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Mark Barabasz
Kerry Martin
Nolonda Jones
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David Williams
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Wade Hudson
Alba Liripio
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Bente Jensen
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Sheryl Wheeler
Braden Klug
Martha Crawford
Susannah Smithnone
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Robert ShapiroThe Climate Mobilization
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Christina Herman
Suze Rutherford
Ann Widdows
Gregory ManleyCity of Play
Ryan Munn
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Kathleen Eagle
Chris Pelton
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cody dickens
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Patrick KileyPublication Studio
Thomas SimonCornell College
Benjamin ArnoldAri, Ltd.
Karon Brashares
Eric Triffin
Luke ReadeEnergetic Communities
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Neeti NayakHarvard University
Steven BrantThe World Of Our Dreams
Ralf LippoldCitizenScienceLab - Scalable System Dynamics Application (an action research project)
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James Miller
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John KatovichCutting Edge Capital
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Steve SlaterIndividual citizen
Sandra DelanoMs.
etienne des rosaies julie
françois némoifbranding
James AdamsNA
Lauren Patton
Eileen Jones
Cheryll Kammerer

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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