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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

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
Sean HagstromBraemar Apts., Inc. (Co-op)
Michael Sileno
Caroline Casteel
Desiree Ungurian
Sydney CooperArtist
Alexander O\'Neal
Craig Stark
John BucksteadCommunity Enterprises/West Hawaii
Samual OdinHuman
Dennis McCrackenWordbuilders Co
Melissa Mulvihill
Don ChisholmGaia Preservation Coalition
Greg CantoriCANTORI
Kathy Khatib
Tonya Andreacchio
Eugene PorterBoiler Burner Control Inc.
Lou NovakDetroit Greens
Atid KimelmanMr.
Steve OwenAppalachian Institute for Renewable Energy (AIRE)
Corrie Ellis
Peter Schulte
Jordan EstevaoNPA
Janice DongworthCFFG
Janet Kinneberg
Adam Compton
Saskia SassenColumbia University
Carl Voss
Danny LamptonCommunity Sourced Capital
Michael Noble
Zachary KingGraduate Student
Keith BurrowsResynergy Systems
Adam LakeMosaic
Adam Crofta public, alternative, high school in Seattle, WA
Justy FrankSelf-organized
Sami HussainMr.
Preston GliddenSustainable Renton
Marla BernsteinGreen Party of California
Tiffany woods
Sam Miller
Lew DalyDemos
Erica MooneyThe Giving Garden at Eastern Michigan University
Dan WeltmannRutgers University
Sarah Manskiwww.AntiInflammatoryDietBook.com
David PetrovichPeople for a New Society (PFANS)
Kevin Navratil
karen callahan
Steve JustinoDenver Move to Amend
Yvonne Yen LiuSolidarity Research Center
John MohrUniversity of California, Santa Barbara
Jim CarmichaelUniversity of North Carolina at Greensboro
Douglas HallNational Priorities Project
Molly RushThomas Merton Center
REGINALDO NASSERPUC
Dorothy Brockway
Nicholas FrankHoligent.Org
PJ Laska@awolanalyst
Barton ParksGuilford College
Thomas Chen
Andrew HerrmannEast Tennessee State University
Eric Brown
Steve SmithRealStew Connects
Julie Jakolat
Devin QuinceMr
Alan GreenRetired
John Walsh
Dutchess County Legislator Joel TynerReal Majority Project
Maarten Prinsnone
John Suter
Bertolain Elysee
Rael Nidess, M.D.Private Citizen
John Parker
Will Flagle
Dawn EdwardsPomegranate Consulting
Kathe LathamTransition Greensboro
Zachary Taylor
Norlyn DimmittConnection Realty
L. Bagleyindividual
Thomas WilsonMr.
Susan Walkingstick yors and myn ink (y am i)
Janet HaysNew Orleans Anti-Corruption Coaltion
Margarita FernandezUniversity of Vermont
Janice Eisele
Hannah DeMuro
Vanessa Finney
Tom Loper
Joshua Hugg
Teri Ritchie
Eduardo RodriguezGund Institute for Ecological Economics
Chris ClineMember of the human race
Gregory Gullwww.forprogressnotgrowth.com
Brad HippertEquity Atlas
Davian GagneNone
Robert NiehoffSt. Leonard and MV Cooperatives
Quinton ZondervanClimate Action Business Association
Linda SechristItsAllAboutWe.com
Tom Eskey
Ross HulkesWriter
Richard SchwallierSchwallier Agricultural Innovation Center
Michael Van De Vanter
Tod SloanCascadia Center for Social Ecology
lynn patrick doyleMSU
Jim FernerWestwood Neighborhood Association
Iain Anderson
Luis BrunsteinHiram College
Leslie KainNicodemus Communication Group LLC
Sabra Marcroft
Laura FlandersGRITtv
juan alzateluminous healet
George HamiltonInstitute for Sustainable Communities
Fouad Bou ZeineddineUniversity of Connecticut
Afnan KoshakUniversity of Southern California
Alice OpalkaUSC
Christopher Poulos
Evan Webb Stuart
Bernardo Issel
arvind trivedibusiness
Nathan HuntFresno Pacific Biblical Seminary
Peter Mach
Patricia A. HolmMs.
Jon LelandComBridges
gina sonne
Anders IbsenCity of Tacoma, City Councilman
Tristan Glowa
Thomas Short
Dominic Marino
Michael AbramsThe Transcendence Project
Diane Spacil
Jim IrbyBeacon Food Forest
Lewis Pitts
Adam HaszSustainUS
Sophie SchollUNCG Clean House
Hannah Rose MendozaUNCG
Geoff Gilbert
Peter JensonThe World
Susan DennisonUNCG
Courtney BernerUniversity of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
Paul HattisTufts University Medical School
jean-guerly petionnone
Kim Christensen
Sami Jarjour
Patrick O\'ConnellCivil Resistance Works
Marina Tonkonogy
Deborah RogersInitiative for Equality
Chuck RawlingsPresbytery of San Jose
Alexander Dalton
Alexander KolokotronisStudent Organization for Democratic Alternatives
Leon SompolinskyCommunity Financial Resources
Boris PopovicMain Street Alliance
Jan Gordon
Eddy ZainurySPESIAL (Synergy of Struggle for the Economic & Social Alternative)
Kay TaylorMs.
Abigail Collazo
Spoma Jovanovic
Rick SproutOccupational health clinical center of the southern tier
Roarke Jennings
Gershon SiegelWeArePeopleHere!
Michael A. Lewis
Paul KandoMidcoast Green Collaborative
Carl DavidsonCommittees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
Jan Cannon
Marylou brownretired
Michael Tracy-Ireland
Brian Emerson
Ron MacKenzieSaltspringsays.ca
Barbara GarsonAuthor
Edmund Fladung
Ted K. RaabCarnegie Institution for Science
Diane GasawayNorthwest Cooperative Development Center
John A. McNamaraNorthwest Cooperative Development Center
Geoffrey GardnerWriter and nonviolent activist
Harley MockerNew Economy Maryland, Institute for Policy Studies
Jerome Biroliniindependent
Rick LivingstonOhio State University Humanities Institute
Elizabeth NicholsSwarthmore College
Carol Baumann
Hershel Lipow
Elissa CardosoMe
Alex GoldsteinAuthentic JEMS Counseling
Steve MontiSolidarity Capital Group
John BinghamWild Orchard Farm
len krimermanGEO, Grassroots Economic Organizing
ALAN KEITT
Chuck Brands
Robert PackJoyful Living in an Abundant Universe
Ward LamonWasail Communications
Peggy Mackenzie
Mihaela UlieruIMPACT Institute for the Digital Economy
Grahame Dixon
Mark Dempsey
Sam Missimer
Justin Ruben
Marc MorganParis School of Economics
Kristina WileSystems Thinking Collaborative
Robert HallCompression Institute
Mark FineMetro Area Planning Council
David BloodMr.
Arlene HickoryCAPOW
Jose Ramon Marti
Peter FitzRandolphFinger Lakes Sustainable Strategies
Jodie EvansCODEPINK
Jon BergerReal Food Challenge
Paul Cohenhttp://www.opednews.com
paul edwardsnone
JR FultonMr.
Stuart BloodUpper Valley Seed Savers
Sarah CassidyMeteos
Sara MacCalman
Matthew Miller
Mira LunaUS Solidarity Economy Network
Jess Alford
Kathryn EdwardsN/A
Robert CoxPlanet Earth
Barbara Chasin
Kate Duprey
Paul Bernstein, Ph.D. Educational Services
angelo Klockner
Becky BuellMeteos
William Barnes
Richard FrankeEcovillage at Ithaca
Gilda HaasAntioch University Los Angeles
Kenneth Quam
Lester SpenceJohns Hopkins University
Melissa LevyYellow Wood Associates, Inc.
Bert JacobsonKankakee Community College
Alberto SchprejerPonteio Edições, Rio de janeiro, Brasil
John LazarukRetired
Dan BreslawLost Meadow Land Coop
Ron Green
Kevan Judah
Lisa PellegrinoBGI at Pinchot University
Elizabeth ChouinardI am 1, We are more
David PaulingMain Street Values
LD FrantinPeopleForANewSystem.org
Vince Sullivan
Khari McClellandPartners for Youth Empowerment
sandra baldocchi
George DaviezUnite
Brian KermathUniversity of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Ben Cohen
Claude BarnesBeloved Community Center
Brad KlafehnActivist, Retired Mucinipal Administrator
Rachel ConerlyThe Collaborative Operating SYSTEM!
Daniel BrownRust Belt Riders Composting
Douglas Obie
Jasper JonesUBCA Community Trust for Family Life Improvement, Inc.
Cathie Schau
Eric GenrichState Representative, Wisconsin
Hank KeetonKeeton Corporation
Patrick J FowlerUSA
Dariel GarnerRiveraSun.com
Fred RileyNational Organization of \"What The Fuck Do We Do Now...?\"
Duncan NobleValley Climate Circle
Paul BurtPen & Publish, Inc.
Dave Gerdes
Jeff PiestrakBuilding Bridges
Patrick Pesek-HerrigesMusician; Menomonie Market Food Cooperative
David CobbMove To Amend coalition
Anthony LenzoMaladjusted Media
Steve AhlquistHumanists of Rhode Island
Don Hollister
Steven Hughes
J Tom WebbAdjunct Professor, Co-operative Management Education
Donald KreisLaw Office of Donald M. Kreis, PLLC
Linda Schinkel, Ph.D. Anthropology
William Weber
Kyle West
Mark Phillips
Malcolm Steinberg
Judy Boyd
Ed Bennett
Josef Davies-CoatesUnited Diversity
Mark Barbash
Clifford MartinYoung People\'s Action Coalition
Domenic FaticaEvergreen Energy Solutions
Christopher RogersJustMaybeCo.

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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