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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

george ritter
Anne Wright
Bren SmithGreenWave
Sue Gibson
Judy Rigmont
jeff jonesunion representative
Martha Klinereligious institutions
ralph cioffi
John D. Vedilago Sr.
Ralitza Nikolaeva
Elaine Hartleyoccupycomo
Margaret Stout West Virginia University
Ismael Al-AmoudiCardiff University Business School
Robert StairHuman Being
Bill Veltrop10X Shift
Asar Amen-RaUnited Auto Workers (UAW)
Matthew Read
Melissa Corbett
Aaron Bennett
Steve LeavittCUPE
Michael CornellColumbia Council, Howard County, MD
Iraida Alvarado
Fred Watstein
Kenneth Miyazaki
Cassandra Fralix
Beth Lively
Arielle Clynes
Tim DaltonTime Bank of West Milford, NJ
charles garland
Cheli Bremmer
Tarah Herrington
Rebecca Lennon
Aliou BarryStat View International
Carl Kaunnone
Cheryl White
Linda Menard
azad mtunzi
Blagoy BlagoevFreie Universität Berlin
Mike Nelson
Maria RamirezNone
Melsa AraratSabanci University Corporate Governance Forum
jenny andersson
Sophia Hughes
Theo Cedar Joneseverybody all at once
Gendun LosangNalanda Monastery
Oyvind K Nilsen
Jennifer Chin
Ricardo Silva
Alex Zlat
Amani Al-TaroutiUIC,UMICH,UM
Steven MyburghPrivate
Michael Paul AndersonClientworks, Inc.
peter babineau
Laura KlinkonMyself
Geoff McNeelyThe Savantiq Group
Megan HobzaWhittier Time Bank
Phoebe ChatfieldFossil Free Yale
Sarah Luthens
Dina Emerson
Elliott WatsonUFCW member
Alexandra Carbone
Jonathan Blumberg
Lucinda Tyler
Bob SchuesslerSeattle Colleges
Orlando ArenasPuente Human Rights Movement
Nathan Marcy
Miroslav SteinerThe Czech Society for Employee Participation, civic association
Kimball MacKay
Charles Merricks
Irene MorganRestorative CommUnity Coalition
Elva Redwood
Rani CroagerUptima Business Bootcamp
Paul Harms
danny choriki
Em Hansen Trent
Debra DavidMs.
Jeanette BaustTogether Colorado, Black Lives Matter, No Enemies
Kera Anderson
Tony Imbimbo
kevin gripp
Aiden SislerMfM
John CaldwellMr.
Sarah McUmber-House
Pamela Richey
Jean Teach
John PenningtonDr.
Joanne Tomarchio
Devin Henry
Brett levin
Colin Blundell
Danielle Anderson aDandeLife
Terrance Dunn
Zack Malitz
David KupferSan Francisco Green Map
John Reed
Lee White
Joel Gluck
Rob MartinUnited Virginia Education Fund
Susan Zakin
Eric Marsh
George ReinhardtNoyo Headlands Unified Design Group
Ashley Ortiz
Katharine CotrellMs.
Esteli Bowman-Rivera
Brittney Potvin
David CummingsCitizen
Jaime Salgado
Brian Gaidryhawkwing
Tom Ackerson
Sue Olivier
Elaine RyderTransition Berkeley
Dennis ChurchEcoSpeakers.com
Sandra HartFirst Unitarian Church, Portland, OR
Karen Simmons
Janet Black
Amie Myers
Matthew Parks
Thomas Roepke
Mary Pettigrew
Eric PetersonThe Outdoor Adventure Leader
Gregory Rossi
Dean SmithTransition Port Gardner
Kenneth JonesSystem Change Not Climate Change
Robin Karr-MorseThe Parenting Institute
joyce banzhafMrs.
Miguel Castellon
Susan Waite
Adam HorowitzU.S. Department of Arts and Culture
David Philpot
Peter BeleyHuman Beings
Peter Brown
Pamela Styrsky
Teresa FosterSustainable Revolution Longmont
nadine bloch
Justice Calo ReignSusty Entertainment
Coralie RyanEcophix
lisa hamiltonadvocate
Bobbie Flowers
Viki SonntagEcoPraxis
Emily Norton
elisabeth smith
Donald Zedde
Shashank ShahModular Miniplants
Richard Jefferiesself
Zac Tomas
Danny SpitzbergPeak Agency
Persephone Maywald
Herschel Easley
Florence MoyerFlorence Moyer, LLC
Robert Powell
charlene pollardMs.
Mark Kloster
James Williams
Emma CornellConscious Life Ecumenical Union
Bethany Vosburg-BluemOtterbein University
Seamus Enright
deanne row
Suzanna Finley
James Cheskyself
Amos Tevelow
William MurphyMr.
Jae-pyeong YangGreen Party of Korea
Leo McDevitt
Kaleopono NorrisWorking on this...
Liz Mclellan
Michael James-DeramoVirginia Student Environmental Coalition / Divest VA
Carolyn BoyceCornell University
Carol Klein
Sue Goodman
Leonard JoyQuaker Institute for the Future
Stephen KaplinGreat Small Works
Bryn ClarkNew Harmony Center for Health & Wellness
Brandon Bausher
Emily Anderson
Michael Beeler
Raja Mukherjee
Christine Lanser
JIm Wall
Joanne Sunshower
Kay Engler
Daniel HongOccupy Portland/Strike Debt Portland
Conor Murphy
Cheryl Gregory Human Race
Kathleen GilliesKathleen Gillies
Charles Lynch
Joshua Wolfson
Reginald Johns
Doug Blair
Elizabeth Maxon
Nelson LynchWorldwide Family Reunion
Curtis Paullins
Kevin Facer
Elizabeth MarcusTransition Newburyport
steve paveyHope In Focus
kent willson
Siobhan Gwozdz
Rev Yolanda BrownImani\'s Quest Ministries
Brian DeisKentuckians for the Commonwealth
Sky BlueFellowship for Intentional Community
John FaustSelf
Kerry BennettGreen Desert Sanctuary
Donna Abear
justine cooperMs.
Zach Taras
Paul MontgomeryMr.
Walter Knausenberger
J Beverly
Harper Marten
James Molnar
Charles Boardman
Bhikkhu BodhiBuddhist Global Relief
Linda Walsh
Bill Hooson
Keith HelmuthQuaker Institute for the Future
astaras lovehumanity
Cole HarrisonMassachusetts Peace Action
Trish Goodvin
Mark StewartCircle of Collaborative Communities
katie nauthjust me
Ariel BickelChispa Consulting
Alan Barbier
Bonnie Lill
Keith HelmuthQuaker Institute for the Future
frank scotthumanity
Sandy McBride
Charity KahnCharity and the JAMband
Dave Beal
Patrick Kelly
Jennifer DunnBell Helicopter
Jim Loving
Todd FreemanThe OpenSource Temple
Kenneth Miller
Brian Gill
Taylor CookPlanet Forward
John Prehn
Frank SullivanPAUSE
Joshua Boyce
Amelia HolcombVA Medical Center, West Side Community Organization (St. Paul, MN)
Eva SeidelmanDavid A. Clarke School of Law
Dammika HerathKandy Consulting Group
Lynn LazarFriends Meeting at Cambridge
Suzanne Segady
Kathleen Vazquezme
Martha Butterfield
Nicki Langewis
Donn Davy
Steve Stepp
Robert ForenzaHUGG-A-PLANET
Abe CohenUS citizen
Marie Sacks
Vicky Cosgroveformer teacher
Rachel HynesFlip Labs
Gail Denham
Billy Gendell
Chuck Augello
kathryn curry
Johnny KlineUnited Church of Christ
Paul ThomasDr.
Annette Jordan
Mark Mathison
Dee Nash
Andrew HimesBusiness Alliance for the Future
kirby moorenone
Eric Schechter
cliff fordfarms in a box
Micaela Ward
Robert Bazinet
miguel reynoso
Paul SmithREALM High School Co-op Project
Theresa ClaussMs.
Carol WildOh Carol Jewelry
Colette Frogale
Tracy Lounsbury
Jane ChristensonJust Jane
Camille Doucet
Aaron Keating
Jonas CastroJacto S/A
Susan D\'Alessandro
Paul Driver
James IsraelHumor Times
Leslie Lakind
Robert Goetz1955
Michael FraaseARTS & FARCES LLC
Adalberto PalmaAperture, S.C.
Steven Smithhumanity
Cindy Marrs
AJ JanssenGreen Party of Washington County
Spencer Lane
MaryEllen EtienneReuse Institute
Maeve McBride350Vermont
Hannah Rush
Caitlin SteeleThe University of Vermont
Susan RiggenMrs.
Julie Krakauer
Jamie MunroSystem Change Not Climate Change
Carol Vernon
Sebastian Romero
Jeff DittoMr.
Kathy WagnerN/A
Carol Shockley
Frank JacksonGreen-Rainbow Party
Larry Brantley
Robin Vestal
Kofi HuntAwake Pinellas
Samantha MacFarland
Jessica Magpiestudent
Gregory PrangNourishing Network Central
Vu Nguyen
Ashley Sellscitizen
David MalleryYork University
Maegan Prentice
Joe Wilson
annette agee1956
Fernando Arroyo
DeNeice Kenehan
Nancy Hoopvolunteer with ME Clean Elections
Karen Gritter
Sylvia CarasPeople Who
Emma Budwig
Doug TudorRetired USN MCPO, Former Democratic Congressional Nominee
Melissa Woods
Pamela McDermottEcoFemSoc
Edd BlacklerMr.
Bob FryeHPS
Gray MatthewsUniversity of Memphis
Ronald Barrera
peter manbarindependent
Joanna GreenGroundswell Center for Local Food & Farming
Chris Kodama
Jill Davis
Jenny Wagner
Giovanna Lepore
Deborah Wiese
Alexander Patino
Craig CollinsTransition Town, Berkeley
Raymond Micklon
Anne Borrell
Jyotirmoy GoswamiAuto-functional Green Society
Roxy Matson
Charles kochmedicine creek farm
Bryce Butler
john steineswitness tree & others...
Molly Day
Bob WeickActor, Activist
Daniele Colajacomo
Bruce PrescottOrdained Minister
Larry SheehyHome Economy Network
David Meltzer
Beth BerglundPinchot University BGI MBA Student
Karina Diaz
Denisea Fernandez
David Rowan
Susan Weston
Dan Dimmitt
Benjamin RodriguezIndividual
Chris TittleSustainable Economies Law Center
Bruce Bonifaci
Cooper McCullough
Bradford SherwoodMaine Employee Ownership Network
Mark Dawson
Aimee Inglis
David Beneteau
Paul Wood
Craig Saper
Scott Lee
Bob Irving
Hamburg MInovsky
Marshall MayerTake-Note
Jamie Scharff
Craig Jones
Sebring FrehnerCanna Pharm Cultivators
Ali BlairVillage Trough
Paul RayUbiquity University
Ashley Hastings
Bea MomsenRetired
holger hadrich 26135
Steven Granger
Tyrone Russ
Audrey Irvine-BroqueStudent / Reinvestment Network
Helena Norberg-HodgeLocal Futures
Katherine SchockMs.
Greg WatsonSchumacher Center for a New Economics
Antonin Filicetti32nd St. Garden
cort Galbreath
sharon stone
Doug PierceC3 Living Design Project
Hina PendleUs Partners
Kat GjovikLiving Economies Forum
Chad Somer
Liz BehrensSRI International
Dallan GuzinskiThe National Center for Employee Ownership
Dan Mesnik
Haroldo Vilhena
Erik Parsels
Andrew Gibbensthis mountain (band)
Jennifer Baatz
Allison Van Nostran
Valeska Populoh
Mitchell Shapiro
jim christianson
David Fournier
Lucy Kenyon
Val TodorovBulgarian Social Forum
Adam Derington
Richard NorgaardUniversity of California, Berkeley
Maggie PotapchukMP Associates
anna berg
Melanie Mills
Greg Pettengill
Leonard KalinaUrban Tribe
Terry CookPNA VIllage
Leslie Gravesnone
Said Hamideh
Aaron Beswick
Diane O\'Callaghan
Croitiene ganMoryn
Eric BeckerClean Yield Asset Management
Sam Rhodes
Zita Worley
Timothy Trentactivist / concerned citizen
Julia HoMissourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment
Aric HoPinchot University
Kathleen Lipinski
Lynn Felici-Gallant
Rebecca Spindler
Corey PuckettRoosevelt Institute UTK; Oxfam UTK; Platypus Society Knoxville
Nichali CiaccioRiverwest Co-op
Pete DavisThe Progressive Alternative
Jillian St Andre
Ka\'imi NicholsonAloha Light Team
Jan Szostek
Deb PierceC3LD
Robert Means
Jame PrevattPriest (E;piscopal Church)
Chris WrightMr.
Nate Bresnick
Mary Emma StewartTexas Workforce Commission
Peggy O\'Neal
Thomas BeckettCarolina Common Enterprise
Michael Byron
Jon Werberg
David Ratliff
Kristin Schwab
Justin Harris
Lynde WoosterThe Wooster Project
Elizabeth Frank
Yuliya Grebyonkina
Tom Millerhttp://www.unlimitedyoueducation.com
Terry Travers-DavinPublic Citizen
Kimble Perry1955
Sally StevensSelf
Ross McEwen
Marsha Carlton
Christopher TuckerPortland Integrated Health
Usha Abramovitz
Christi ElectrisCroatan Institute and Tellus Institute
Darien Simon
Abraham Entin
Kent Dorsey
Rodney TharpMr
Carolyn KnollN/A
Simon CarterACOMMUNITY
Dana PedersenCooperation Texas
Dale McGrewWe Vote
Bruce MacKayRetired
joy lucas
Michael TrudeauNorth Carolina Green Party
Frank KellyBoldSpirit Internet
Joseph PhillipsGreen Party, Socialist Party USA
Michael O\'Connor
Darlene Kelley
Chris JaroszewskiBoston College
constance abraham
Caitlin DuffyNational Committee for Responsive Phlianthropy
Farzana SerangCoFED
Katharine Preston
Mary Jane Shanklin
Shanon Monteith
Joan Randall Ph.D.west virginia state university
Dick Cook
Carlos Acuna
Anne HillOrganization
Amy HarlibOrganization
Ajay Rai
Phil Tate
Katina Mihelis
Dick PetersonRocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center
Lisa ShafferCity Council member, Encinitas CA
Erich Strebe
joseph garofalowww.TheDirtFarmers.com
Lowell GreenbergMr.
Oscar Castellanos
Marvin Cohen
JT Haines
Mary ClarkMs.
Wendy TalaroNatural Capital Regeneration
Ashley PerezDirect Action Everywhere
Cyndi Salazar
Mike MercerNW Earth Institute
Paula Crosswell
Rebecca Robles

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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