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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

Akilah McCullum
Michael Dover44108
Trevor Wright
LaTrice Ross
sharon hortonPanama City for Progrssive Politicains
Don PriborCall To Action
Robert Winston
Alexander KomlosiCulture Current
Kate Greswoldtosa
Shanikque Brown
Yohanna Marshall
Saturnino Luz FilhoThe University of Edinburgh
Majken Flores
Ken LoveAlpha and Omega house Minisries
Wendy OlsonResting Point Renewal ~ Herbal & Energy Healing
Tomar LevineSoul Guidance For Your Business
Frances LarsonMs.
Elizabeth Benavodez
Nicola Tarantino
Tomislav Nakic-Alfirevic
Monica Ohrberg
Raycine Durham
Sharon Sullivan
Susan Pender
William NeilioCitizen
Cindy Tedesco
Robert AlfNew Generation Builders, LLC
Roxane JurkovskajaThe D.
Pamela HaleThrough A Different Lens
Davod JonesMicrosoft Envisioning
Gabe EgelandSave Our Waterfront
Sook HoldridgeMinnesota Alliance of Peacemakers
Chester N. Caster
lester Williamspersonal references
douglas adamslawyer
Ceasar McDowellMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Chris HeubergerRadish Lab
Robin Weisselberg
EA Whorton
Steve WaddellNetworkingAction
John Kero
Youngshim GontijoRadish Lab
Carlos Braverman
Carter LatendresseCatlin Gabel School
Lucas TiborUniversity of Minnesota
Cédric WermuthMember of Parliament, Socialist Party of Switzerland
Angela WoodVermont Law School
Blaž Beuermann
Gaja Mežnarić OsoleRe-generacija
karen steen
Sharon Perkins
Angelica Pettie
Cascade TuholskePhD Student, UC Santa Barbara
Dana Phillips
Ron Myersself
Sue BlytheFutureFlash! Project
Lois Lawler
Ashok Kumbamu Mayo Clinic
Kyle Lopezna
Ezra SilkThe Climate Mobilization
Javier Goikoetxea SeminarioBIKOnsulting, S. Coop
Mary Frances
Chris KarisMr.
Pamela Boyce SimmsMid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH)
Katrien VandeveldeBlueShark Conservation
Nicole Lambrouucla
Joshua Mischke
Gabi Murillo1992
Joseph Gill
Kathy DasilvaActivist & Organizer
Leonor velazquez
Isabelle Placentia
Tammy Brizendine
Nicolas PaigeStudent
Simon BottleAlpha Diversify
Gilise Mammone
Catherine Young
kelly edwardsHBO
RICARDO GOMEZEspacio 15M -EconoNuestra
Robert LinehanI.C.Enterprises
Mark SubyResist
Inge Gebert
Michael Spezzano Sr
Kate McQuearyNone
Dawn HartCity of Easton
Connie Hassler
Mark SzlazakN/A
Raven Krasstudent
Douglas ChallengerFranklin Pierce University
Sydney WalkerSonoma Mountain Healing Arts
Anna Mullen
Sharron Carothers1948
John Borst
Katie Cury
Laura Feldman1954
Chris Curry
Bruce DicksonHolistic Brain Balance
James Duron
Elizabeth McPhersonRetired
Margaret Calamia-Downing
Stephanie Grey
Glen FowlerNorth American Tribe
Adam LudwigRadish Lab
wendy r
Chris Dadds
Andrew WillisUnited American Cooperatives
Paul Gillon
Don Kelly
Joshua Younkin
Laura Griffin
Manon Gartside
anis saadahKOPINDO (Indonesian Youth Cooperatives)
Robert Bolognese
Tyler Honeywellthe planet
Blake Farber
Adam Wedeking
jo ann dalrclifton universalist unitarian church
Ariel FrancaisAuthor
Janice Wall
Brendan Burns
Maureen Mcmahon
Michael AlbertJohns Hopkins University
Cathleen BanfordSustainable Tompkins
Jon Bendich
Pastor W. C. ScottSt. Stephens United Methodist Church
Robert BealMr
Stef KuypersCircular Money
Trent Dale
Laura Cazares
Debra Jean Lambert
Julie McKune Pasadena, CA for Bernie Sanders
Joseph Rossi
Tina Daley
Reed IngallsNeighborhood Action Coalition
Craig MosherMr.
Sue Blankman
John Adams
Tommie Lockhart, IIme
Renee Parks1961
John Gordon
Richard Davis
Edward DodsonSchool of Cooperative Individualism
April Biggs
Dennis LopezLeticia A. Network for Immigrant Access to California Higher Education
Jayson Butler
ben tabor
Dale Withey
Havely Carsky
deborah washingtonindividual
Judith Yokum
Owen Finn
Crystal ZevonRoots & Resistance
Jill Kelfer
Kathy Sadus
James Jennings
JOHNNY SANTER
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Megan Dasher
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Rudolph TraversTTG
Ami Sommariva
Brady BootonIndivisibleUpperKeys
Michael Dorais
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Randy FisherDesignworks, Inc.
Cameron Shay
Shannon McNulty
Anne Verga
Brian DabsonUniversity of North Carolina
Scott McGregorRock and Root Eco
Deborah Brewster
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FM Boone
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Timothy PyneMr.
Jessica Bari
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Joey Diana GatesSolar Systems Unlimited
Taylor KikuchiDMBA Candidate, California College of the Arts
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Angel TorresArizona Green Party (AZGP)
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Craig LockeAn Ambassador For Peace
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Henry SchwarzGeorgetown Univ
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Matt Rescott
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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
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Sean MorrisUniversity of Vermont
Joseph JantzGrandfather
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Norman Bretz
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Joe Burris
duke MkeFVD
Wesley Cammenga
Lawrence Levner
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Kyle Hendrickson
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Joyce GoodFrack Free Illinois
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Liz Roth
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Yolanda Randolph
Julian PlanaSociedad Española de Sistemas Generales, 1st Vicepresident
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Antonis Triantafyllakis
Robert Maxwell
Jesse Chanley
Neil MoffattSelf Employed
Sherry Hinrichs
Adam Pumm
Jess GilbertUniv. of Wisconsin, Madison (retired)
Julian HareMichabo Sustainable Harmony
Matt Brinsmaidconcerned citizen
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Patrick MulvihillAmicitia
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Noemi Alarcon
Mary ManganLutheran Social Service of MN
Anthony Robles
Royce Ranada
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Julian Hartley
David LackeyPlace on the Planet
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John RodriguezAvivar Group
Kate EatonPublic Citizen, Environmentalist
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Emlyn Williams
Kimball Whitfield
Paula MatsonNone
Paul Ahrens
Geoff Plant
Toni Marshallnone
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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
Eliza FurrStudents for Democratic Society (UNF Chapter)
marvin saurbierhidden valley farm
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John SpritzlerPDRBoston.org
Rex Verity
Ben Freeman
Jon Jacobs
Michelle Nguyen
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s farrid
Maria Howar
Kristy HaunnIndiana University
JeanPierre Webster91730
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leah crandall
Joey Kenney
Bruce JenningsCenter for Humans and Nature
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Lawrence BishWest Virginia Regional Jail Authority
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Christine Madeo
Tiffany Davy
ashfaq syedeverythingpeople.org
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Jerry Parker
gregory alper
Evan Thome
Zachary NorrisElla Baker Center for Human Rights
Nicholas Mackay
Mashudu RamanoMitochondria Energy Company
Joanna Campe Remineralize the Earth
Scott BadenochMr.
Marielle King-MtdACRG
Chip JusticeThe World
Amy Fischer
John LittleThe Snewsletter
armen stepanian
David OldroydENIRDELM
Richard Patterson
Larry HelikerPlanitary Patriot
bill aaltools for change
Rory Turner21286
Sharon Eastman
Brenda Sutton
Antonio BernalAFT
James Reed
christopher holvenstot
Richard PellegrinoFree State of Cobb
Michael GurinCogniTek
Lisa DITALIANatural Touch
Jamie Howington Green Party
Allan NiassMy Eco Village
Wencke Wellens
Pat Mulligan
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Linda SmircichUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
Ann McCoyMental Health America of Greater Houston
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Arline Williams
Jane Sheridan
Bud Machado
Chris WrothAndy\'s Rule
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Muhammad Abdurrazzak
Stanley Taylor
Pam Roiger
Don Mizell1949
Erka VossEarth Wisdom
Jeff Brecko
Stephen CollinsMr
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mark reitz
Jay Spencer
Harry Keiser
Taehyun Park
Josseline Husted
Douglas Millis
Ian ChristieUniversity of Surrey
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Jeff Smith350 Missoula
Jim WellsiEdit
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Tibet Sprague
Dennis MulhollandSTrawberry Lifestyles
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Serina WhitfieldInnersoul, wisdome within.
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Charlene Rawson38th Legislative District Democrats
Michael Labhard
Kenny Boddye
Claudia MoralesEspacio de Vida
Rick Massell
CAROLINE DADLANI1965
Ernie SearsProtected Places Media
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linda oakey
Jonathan Belmont
bob scagAFM: american federation of musicions
Molly Baron45226
matthew lewis
Jessica Smith
Debra Davis
James Bonney Bonney Inc

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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