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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

Sheryl Wheeler
Braden Klug
Martha Crawford
Susannah Smithnone
Rebecca Miner
Robert ShapiroThe Climate Mobilization
stephen dwyerMr
Patrick Crolwey
Christina Herman
Suze Rutherford
Ann Widdows
Gregory ManleyCity of Play
Ryan Munn
Joe HollandPax Romana / Catholic Movement for Intellectual & Cultural Affairs - USA
Gail Walker
Kendra Paschall
Cameron White
Joe Beckmann
Ian Brown
David MaslowWriter
Doran HunterMr.
Brandon Haugen
Charles Orser
Kalene Csefalvay
barbara sanderson
Amanda Bowes
Joel Bennett
Jill Danilewicz
Kathleen Eagle
Chris Pelton
Allison Teague
Dan Grace
cody dickens
Mariana Gomes
Debora LealSchumacher College
Patrick KileyPublication Studio
Thomas SimonCornell College
Benjamin ArnoldAri, Ltd.
Karon Brashares
Eric Triffin
Luke ReadeEnergetic Communities
Trevor Griffey
Neeti NayakHarvard University
Steven BrantThe World Of Our Dreams
Ralf LippoldCitizenScienceLab - Scalable System Dynamics Application (an action research project)
Tricia Frost
Amelia Kroegerindivdual
Teresa Cordova
Tom bepler
Ella Kinsman
James Miller
Ronald Starnes
Michael Potash
Bill DaulNextNow Network and Collaboratory
Drew Reynoldsprivate citizen
Kiley ArroyoCultural Strategies Council
Gregory PickettCommunity Business Partnership
Jillian SchafferMissouri state university
Leanne Nurse
Robert RohdeNatural Solutions
Erik KostiukMt. San Antonio College
Jim ZimmermanVisionLink
Bob Kohl
Angus LairdNE-NA Institute
Sheri Kling
Robert LaFalce1955
Scott LaRocca
Kelly JonesMr.
William LesherEco-civ
R.on CostaNPA
Patricia Hoelzer
Gabrielle Tingley
John KatovichCutting Edge Capital
Linda Scheltz earth
Evans Daniels
Cynthia Moe-LobedaGraduate Theological Union
Steven cinelliSLAMINA LLC
Jennifer McCormick
Greg GriffinGriffin Engineering LLC
Dennis Forbach
Judith Cardamone
Steve SlaterIndividual citizen
Sandra DelanoMs.
etienne des rosaies julie
françois némoifbranding
James AdamsNA
Lauren Patton
Eileen Jones
Cheryll Kammerer
Matthew Grusler1953
Ernest Moore
Ikenna NwadikeHumane Earth Advocacy Link (HEAL)
Bill DaniellUniversity of Washington School of Public Health
juanita jackson
Jody Williamsnone
Lien De BrouckereCommunities First
Tom FarekianMr.
Daniel Vivacqua
Sandra Lowe
John BargerYankee 3
Anton LoebbertCASCADIA booking
Brendan GuyNRDC
Linda Joan Booth
Mark BittmanJournalist, Author
Rick Sprout
Blair SandlerCasa de Conciencia y Salud
Richard SullivanIllinois State University
Brian RosboroughFounder, Earthwatch
Carl Lipscombe
Darrell Roberson1957
Wendy Miller
Jim Albers
Joseph FriendlyTruth For A Change
June SimmonsMrs
Daniel ItoI\'m a human being for life
ROBERT GOLDENTarrant County Central Labor Council
Elizabeth Wood
Tomás InsuaGlobal Catholic Climate Movement
Marshall Walsh
Chloe Sercombe
Daniel Walter
Erin ColeAntioch College
Jennifer AtleeAtleeResearch
Edward Kowalski
Albert LernerOccupy San Miguel, Mexico
Drew Dillon
Lauren GrecoUniversity of Vermont
Charles Segard
Kirsten Irgens-MollerGlobal Exchange
Matthew StinchcombGood Work Institute
Elena Ortega
Stephen BoucherconsoGLobe
Dean AbrahamsonUniv Minnesota (retired)
Kathleen Schasslerjournalist/ct
Katharine (Kat) Hay98221
Thomas Vogel
Ed Scheterlak59715
Eleanor MullendoreMull of Mabou, Ltd
Dana Sanford1949
Sara Tangunaffiliated
Chris Zatratz
Phillip Blaneycitizen To many groups and organizations to mention
Laurence DelinaBoston University
Glen Barnett
James PryorSunBody Hats
Nick Humphries
Joseph Pennington
Paul NorbergIndividual
PAM ASHBURN
Will Collins
Leon DaviesDavies/Advise Cosultancy
Brian Detering
Nora Grimes
Tina Owens
john robertMr.
Lisa VincentU Be The Change
Barbara L SchwartzUSA Citizen
Richelle Duran
Christopher Styles
Janet ArcherU Methodist Justice Peace Environment Group
Mary DouglasDemocracy@Work
Ben AlexanderThrive Allen County
Tex SampleMetro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity
Dave Johnson
Kristofer Karlsson
Chelsea JensenIndividual
Juan del RíoSmart CSOs Lab
Trevor OsborneWorld Harmony http://world-harmony.com/new-systems/
Onyocha García RodríguezNone
LU BULLOCKretired
Larry Smallwood
Robin McElfreshMs.
MAry Sue Meads
jackie smith
Charles Moserfreelance artist
Samir Hejab
Alexis EdelsteinMonty for Mayor LA
maria myotte
Elizabeth TuttleRetired
Pat Fry
Lynda Courtney
Hector ToledoUS Citizen
Samita RiekhofMs.
DIANE CARR
Richard Bland20016
Pi\'ikea Miller
Paula OlingerGettysburg College
Michael WahlMr.
Ray SandersChicago Progressives
Sayeh Dastgheib-BeheshtiYork University
Istvan HorvathUSERFRIENDLY SOCIETIES
Kimberly Martin
John WatsonMoneyOutVotersIn.org
Will GriffinVeterans For Peace
K MoserUCSB- A.S. Queer Commission
Kim AlarieMs.
Cheryl Garnett48197
Archie Akhavan-Kharazian
Bob BallardBob Ballard Music
Andrew GlickmanCoalition To Create A Non/corporate Future Society Today;
anders wijkmanClub of Rome
David GrantCommon Lot Productions
Carla FaganMethodist University
Vicki Assevero
Kate Hilgart
royce walker49234
Maggie Robertson
Qindong YangUniversity of Richmond
Caroline Davis02632
henry rosemontBrown University
Lynn PalfenierK1N8M1
Sarah Thong
Michael FrancisPublic
Marie VanBelleghem
Becky Eberhart
Laura Georgewww.TheOracleInstitute.org
Karen Boxer
Daniel Lamprecht-Carson
Peter Laggan
Joanna G. FarmerBuilding Community Capacity, LLC
Toni Wells
Cuthbert AshbyHuman Race
Alan JacksonBikePasadena
Andrew Pace
John G Root JrJust Abundance, Inc.
Nancy Glock-GrueneichHigher Edge
Thomas SullivanRight Living Alliance
Randolph Hill
Nicola KapalaWellbeing Leadership Group
Jeanine Cava
gregory stanton
Karla Meyer
Karen BernardDream of the Earth
Archi RussellSelf
Charles Severn
Richard RaglandEarth
Marc Holbik
Russell Hawthorne
Richard SantiagoThe Venus Project
Rebecca KeelSONG
Alain Ambrosiremixthecommons.org
Ian Montanjeesself
Peter EvansEcho Credits
Jim Cocke
Ponsella Hardaway48226
Santiago Leon
james ibsail
Nora GilbertUnion of Concerned Scientists
Jean JeffersonUS Citizen
Robert PerryNone
Renee SantoroMinnesota Berniecrats Meetup
Karl Hildenbrand
Ashley Colby60643
C.W. PattersonConcerned Human
Deric GruenCenter for Communication and Civic Engagement
Larry Kent28546
Margaret MagnusN/A
Grace Peters
alex nelson
Ellen Schweri
Susan WillisSustainable Tucson
melody braaten
Mauro Magatti Sociology Catholic University Milan
Don Clark
Kimberly GerouldMs.
Maurice Durocher
Zeke BB
Mary Klein
James Griffincitizen
Karl SmithMontgomery College
Trevor Culhane
Annette Mills
Jean-Paul BourqueRetired Independent Research in Ecology(RIRE)
Mikal Hutto
Denis VermetteNorthStar Compass
Hall GardnerAmerican University of Paris
Janine Vigus
Barbara BreitmanGreen Justice Philly
Hnin HninCoFED
Anita Wade
Nieba Paige
Pat JessupJessup & Associates, LLC
Vincent Somoza
Julia Eddy
Adam Davis
Stevenson MunroA1
Ronald Zito
Wayne Stinson
Faith GilbertLetterbox Farm LLC
Ron SillimanUniversity of Pennsylvania
barbara lehn
Sara KeeneSouthwestern Oregon Community College
Melanie Climis
Michaela FisherCooperative Youth Council
Brian FilipowichAnacostia Aquaponics
Nnaemeka NwangeneNaija Gold Nigeria Limited
John Trussoni
Robert Pell-deChame
Desirrae Nilsennone
Robert Sullivanretired
Michael ClossonLocal Climate Solutions
Mark SommerTrue Wealth
J Justin WoodsPace University & Pace Law School
Scott CarlinLIU Post
Linda Cammarata
Greg Larson
Elena Pelayo1950
S. A. Linden
Jacob White
Peter MartinPresident, SA chapter of Sustainable Population Australia
Nelson Suarez
James HugAdrian Dominicans
Michael Callahan Myself
Jeanie McNicol
Katharina Biely
John Dufresne
Judi NealEdgewalkers International
Phil Biancon/a
Rod Dempsey
John KrochmalnyMultiFaith Council of NW Ohio / Sylvania Baha\'i Community
Cinda GillilanRocky Mountain Communities
Colin FlahertyWirangu Humans in Universal Balance
Pamela HainesFriends Economic Integrity Project
Hank PattonIntergenerational Finance Initiative
Ann Migdal
Kyle Holberg
Mark MinerPlease select...
Sara HessYear
Bob GrissInstitute of Social Medicine & Community Health
Marion Brown
James Coleman
Suzanne TaylorMighty Companions
Jody NormanJNN Enterprises
Brian BeckonCutting Edge Capital
mart malakoffCNS
Christine Fowler
Stephen Verchinski
Andrew Baskin
Tim Graham
Pam StearnsMs.
seeley quest
Caitherine Anne McCloskeySocial Democratic Labor Party
Adria ScharfRichmond Peace Education Center
Lawrence C. HagerNorthern Virginians for Peace and Justice
Joshua Harrower
Daniel Gilman
Douglas ChamberlinSelf
Eleanor Braun
Gregory Southworth
Raunel Urquiza1995
Jeanne Poremba
Georgia JohnstonMs.
Martin CalistoFundación Terrasapiens
Dick Peterson
Gary Hawk
Angie GreenhamDartington Hall Trust (UK)
Jenn Hara
Kathleen Cooney
Guillermo VetcherCED-SYSTEM
wilson mojamoja kutsuma general trading pty
Margie Bernard
pankaj girijob
Nancy Hart
Anna Ling
daniel mclean
Hansel CastilloM.O.S.A.I.C: Mentoring to Overcome Struggles and Inspire Change
Karen May Araiza Ventures
Michael RodmanSpokae Falls Comm. Coll.
Robin Helms
Homer Connor
Harvey GoldmanUniversity of California, San Diego
Anne PhillipsClass Action
Rosa ZubizarretaDiaPraxis
Phillip Lewis
Kris Mazure
Pat Thomas
Jeanine Otte
Monika Sadkowska
Rob WheelerGlobal Ecovillage Network & Commons Cluster at the UN
Bill Southcott
Travis Wellmanspaciousness.org
Sharon Middleton
David Audettenone
Stuart WhittonSelf employed engineer
Skip SpitzerRoot Action
John Sharkey
Monique Gauthier
James LockOpus Independentsq
Caleb Lightfoot79414
Michael O\'Beirn
BARRY MEYER
nikihanna baptiste
Kartik Amarnath
Silvia Harkenridertwosimpleideas.com
Gregg Manoff$15
Andre SheldonGlobal Strategy of Nonviolence
brett schwartz
Kiri Olds
carol cina
Rebecca Fisher-McGintyRound Sky Solutions
David HannaInspiring Communities
Martin Tulic
Don Muller
Jane Burns
Kris Nelson
peter kemble
Judith Alberts
Stacey Lyn
Scott SpeedThe Neighborhood Enrichment Project
Pradeep DasNew Grammar of Living
Francisco ManriqueInvibal
Juanita UribeSentido Comun
Juanita UribeSentido Comun
Alycee Lane
Sandi TrilloINsight OUTsight Consulting
Todd ThorpeUC Santa Cruz
WIlliam Cragg
Joseph Kohn MDWe Are One, Inc. - www.WeAreOne.cc - WAO
J.J. Johnson
Barry Cournoyer
Aria Barbara Ryan
Terry MooreEnvironment Haliburton
Brenda King34705
Samuel JordanBaltimore Transit Equity Coalition
Peter CafferkeyBoncerto
Marin LaMartina
Bruce CaronNew Media Research Institute
Joy BeaverGreen Party
Roger WoodsRoger Woods
Heloísa MoraesVolunteer
Peter KettlerRadio Lifeline
Annie Melchior
Dean EliasThe Praxis Tank for Progressives
Claudio PrósperoDespertar de Gaia (Facebook)
Joshua Skov
Bill BurdetteCenter for Social Change
David NaylorLife
Jean LanoixNet2 Evolution inc.
Dennis MorganHankuk University of Foreign Studies
Bonnie AustinBMA Bookkeeping Service, LLC
Lea Belair
Mercedes TuneMTune Consultant
Kathryn FosterHancock County Co-Op Oil
Sharron Williams
Paula ClarkeColumbia College
Dennis Lennonjust me
John BellantoniCambridge Analytics
Chris MartellMutants Anonymous, Chapter 302.2
Carolyn ServidNone
Richard MainsMains Associates
ronni solbert
Amber Bieg
Barbara Boldenow
Bruce BecVar
Audrey VossGood Chance Garden
Carmen Silva
Daniel Romo
Kenneth Reddick Reddick\'s Institute Of Contemplative Studies ( R.I.C.S )
Andreja PavlovicHauska & Partner
Jerome PeloquinThe Family Fish Farms Network
mark bettinger
Deborah Parmley
Jose MoralesHumanity
Steve GoldinInstitute for Regional Education
Bennett BruceGettysburg College
Liz Christiano
don kauffman
Seoungwon LeeSocial innovation research lab
ron berry
Tom ZinserSoul-Centered Healing
Sylvia Campos
Antares Reiskyadvise+ GmbH
Martin Kellogg
Vanessa Rhee
Deirdre KentNew Economics Movement NZ
Stephanie BershadOrganization
Pat Whelan
Kevin DempseyGardener
Theresa Lepine
maximilian St.Claire
Maggie Surovell
Howard RiderSozoscape
Hasan noor ahmed JibriilBilan Awdal Organization somaliland
jon wilsonfoodmap container
Dar WolnikHelping Public Markets Grow
Matt YorkOperation Kindness
David KnightOne Planet Limited
Jolyn DePriest
Francis Sferrazza
Peter ZAJAC-VANKAOZ for Development of E.D. in Slovakia
Margi Swett
Julie SukCardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University
ASVENG PADATHODIGLOBAL PEACE TRUST
Mike McGroryB Lab
Linda SheehanEarth Law Center
James RacetteJohn Brown Lives
Jordan PescrilloWide Horizons Community Development Program
Kevin Taylor
santos Avila
Thomas Petersonprivate
Janice BrownAll Boro Cash Realty

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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