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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

Cole Dawson
Valentin PicassoUniversity of Wisconsin
Richard SvinkinFreemit
Leon LiebenbergEarth Focus Foundation, Geneva
Paul Trout
masao kawai
Gordon SchultzSalem Community Project
Mark Cesare
John Hardinmusician
Maritza Silva-FarrellALIGN
Helene Klodawskyfilmmaker
P. Denise LongYouthcentrix
Diane landrum
Chris Scott UCSB
Gail Marcus
Elizabeth Schenk
Roger KnudsonProfessor Emeritus, Dept. of Psychology, Miami University
Fletcher Lenz
Matt Stephens
Todd Gooch
Rose Ann Steenhoek
Audrey Stimsonself
Anndal NarayananDr.
Noel Nicolaus
Morgan Johnson
Carrie Smith
Peta HeskellReturn To Earth
Tom Karneth
Srikanth ChennupatiUniversität Erlangen Nürnberg
Joel DinersteinTulane University
GILLIAN GALLARDOThe Scottish Parliament
Peggi EricksonKitsap Social Justice Network
Julie Carnahan
Jonathan WolfsonSocialist Party USA
Donna D\'Arcycyn4psy
Kip Wheeler
Kristin Eberhard
Mayne Smithn/a
Susan Mount
Colin le DucGeneration
Stephen Demuth
Craig Wilson
Donald Wessels
Martin Schnur
Doris Davis98168
Christopher Phillips
Nathan Wilkinson
thomas traskstarchildren
Glen Barnstable
Phillip Hetherington
Buzz BurzaSamvedana Culture & Heritage Trust
Teresa Smith
Yiorgos StathopoulosÉcole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Terence Ballnone
Carol Fox
simon gramstrup
Paul ReinhartSocrata.om
Natalie FullerAmerican Renewable Energy Institute
Liana Ma
Mary Landale
Mik Fielding
Paul ReinhartV
Richard Watson
Arby Gharibian
Simona Getova
Cassie Biggs
ROb Bruce
Bob DanziloNone
Svilen Trifonov
Farooq BegSerendip
Madelein Slabbertpersonal
Alan Dunneartist
John RahmSweatHawg Headwear
H D\'Souza
Sarah March-Paschal
Cassandra Swan
Dagmara Meijers-Troller
Kathleen LindenMs
Marge KealeyDSA
Gayle Townsend--
Courtney Salic
Ellen DesMeulesNone
Rita PinkertonMs.
JOYCE WILLIAMS
christopher hayward
Sascha Boden
Adam Whitworth
craig ryan
Monica Shaw
Scott WilsonVideo Services Vanuatu
Tanvir AshanIndependent University Balngladesh, (IUB)
Hank RamirezMr.
Robert Lyons
Josie EsquivelMs.
claudia creason
Sheila Raila
Joseph TomainUniversilty of Cincinnati College of Law
Sofia Lopez
Jonathan Moscat
B Scioscia
Fiona Clements SenoritaAweSUMO
Roy Dimon
LaDona Wheatley
Linda Brenkus
Isabelle DEBAUMARCHE
Susan Deynaka
Patricia Newmanstudent @ GCU
Shari Wessler
Chris Grain
Lloyd Jerome
Laura Rodriguez-AgudeloCDACP
PRASHANT BAJPAIOK Fine Baba
Helen Hamberg
Tracy Herbeck95350
Patricia Pool
Audrey ODea
Thomas MorleyThomas Morley Ceramics
RANNVIJAY MALHOTRA
Vassilis XypoliasMINDFULNESS 360
Katharine Trindl
Susann Ward
Harold Millerex-Mennonite Central Committee
Valerie Muroki
Rose TaylorWisdom Sun
Bill Talkington Jr
Ari Goldfield
Margaret CahalanCHEARS
Douglas CobeenHunanitarian
Sandra Sandell
Samuel BatistaFiraxis Games
Daniel Cousar
Beth CrankNone
Jennifer Fitzsimmons
joan robertson-geisler
Michael NallMidMarket Alliance
Carolyn HughesThe Land Trust New Zealand
Robyn MorrisonCreate. Initiate. Engage.
Bernie GruellOrganization
Steven NybergRetired
Michael NaglerMetta Center for Nonviolence
Chris Simmons
Dorothy Nelson
Jim CushingUniversity of Arizona
Felix Thompsonucsb
Bruce Mason
Shar StrandRetired
Rianna Lloyd
Elsie GilmoreUrban Mayhem Project
Claire Castleman
Marcio HumbertoAeroplano Group
Frank Turpin
Austen Bernier
Paul Decker
Keely HollahanAsheville Showing Up for Racial Justice
Dennis Orphal International Research Associates
John GallagherMr.
Tucker FarleyMF I
Ethan Huckel
Schera ChadwickMariposa Partners
Carol BergmanAdjunct Professor, NYU
Judith Nicholls
Eugene Schulman
Mark Fine
aban marker-kabrajiIUCN
Janet Ashford
Kat Houghtonilumivu
Joseph Cederwall6022
Brian NgoIndependent Consultant
Sarah IannaronePolitical Organizer
Erica Wells
Jacques CharmelotPress
Stephen Ohimor
Gretchen JenningsWww.museumcommons.com
Teresa Hairston
William SheridanIndependent Scholar
Peter McCrea
Derrick NormanRetired
Jay GamelPublishing Services
Steve Neskis System Thinker , Exponental Entrepreneur
Negar AshtariUniversity of Maryland
James Anthony
Marsh Thalera commoner from the void
carolyn elliottUniversity of Vermont
Tahnee Shields
Dan HeckBluefuse
Donald LauerHuman race
Tarrell CaseyCivilian
Patrick Maruffi
Scott BarrowsNot employed
Stefanie WiesenMidwest Evaluation and Research
Jen Manning
Carrie Trochet
Marita Bujold
Joseph FriendlyPeacefulRevolution.us
Mitchell Morse
AL Esh
Thomas Jackson
Frances Christophersonretired
narjis pierregreen Islam
Pam HaltonGSAT
paul/mary davila
Marilyn RoseliusMarilyn Roselius
James JarvisWindy Hill Partners
Taylor Smith-Hams
Dwayne Berrett
Colin Bradford The Brookings Institution
Kelli StorieMs.
Debra Langer
Deborah Bosma
Gerald GillespieResilience Group--Salina, KS
Bernhard Thonifreelance
Robert Leaver
rachelle galloway-popotasuc berkeley
Christopher HogreliusPermacadia
Deborah Jones-BrownDinasaur Corner
Robert GuardDemocrat
Marc Horowitz, MDBaylor College of Medicine
Anna Johnson
Larry BeebeRTC
Denise Mohr
Suresh FernandoV6P 1E8
Greg Harrington
Jenny Overeynder
Chris CarlssonShaping San Francisco
James P. Boggs
Wesley Fieldhouse
Jennifer PierceUniversity of British Columbia
Michael Lidster
Brian Phelps
Wilma Dotson
Linda FinleyCenter for Spiritual Living Eugene
Carlton DavisArchitect, Artist, Author
John LinarelliDurham University
Karen PalmerEcoAngel Enterprises
Jan JohnsonRetired Organizational Change Consultant
Allan Dyen-Shapiro
Nicole LaPointeSpinning Witch Farm
Wes JacksonThe Land Institute
Joshua Broad
Anne WilsonMTA
Dennis MontoyaNew Mexico LULAC
Davis BirksVisual Artist
Sam ShorrFood @
Bert Greenberg
Joshua SbiccaColorado State University
Gregory YoutzPacific Lutheran University
James SmithDepartment of Geography, Towson University
Nan StevensonNot employed
Carey W Craig
Joseph FlynnSUNY ALFRED STATE COLLEGE
Georges TissotRetired U. of Ottawa
Páll Helgi Hannesson
Eamon RyanGreen Party Ireland
Alexandra Walker
Daniel Palix
ra ball
Robert DischRoad Scholar
William GroverWilliam Grover, Architect
Deborah BoldtSanta Fe Community College Foundation
Max HarrisAll Souls College, Oxford
Jean ReevesNA
Lenief Heimstead
Gerald BradyMr.
Brooke HafnerMs
Michael GoforthNot-Two Is Peace, www.da-peace.org
Alexander KellyTruthdig
Madrone Morehead
Nancy MooreUptown School of Language
Rdwsrd Klein
John ReinhardtMystic River Watershed Association
Dayna JondalDayna Yvonne LLC
Ann Christine Kepple
Julie Fenyes
Marc P
John GoldenbergCPA
Tamara KelloggOur Common Heart
Maria Velez de BerlinerLatin Intelligence Corporation
Vidar KristiansenSystems Analyst
Steve Andersen
Kim RempeNebraskans for Peace
margaret johannsenon40
Kerry DennisAgents Of Conscious Evolution & The Food Revolution Network
John Bonifaz
William SmaldoneWillamette University
Benjamin GundersonOutliers Theatre Company
Liz RykertMeta Strategies
Steve Howard
Nolan NicholsStanford University
Jose HenriquezKellman in the Humanities Aumni
Jo Nopper
Russell H. Bartley
Philippe DeVilleUniversité catholique de Louvain (UCL), Louvain School of Economics
Trish Murphy02534
Michael MainStar Thrower Publishing
Laura MusikanskiHappiness Alliance
Mimi Gussow
Erling Jorstaad Jorstadretired collegeteacher
Terri Fannindividual
Rebecca SchultzUS Environmental Protection Agency
Florian S
Tom R. BurnsUppsala University, Sweden; Lisbon University Institute, Portugal
James Nellesnot too much
Dave Raney
geo black
Craig WentzelMr.
Nathaniel TarnPoet, Anthropologist, Prof.Emeritus
Dean WallraffAdvocates for the Environment
Petra Perkins444 Journeys LLC
Al LampellConscious Communications
Neal Weeksself
CASEY Eike
jan weberTPS
Joseph Jahner
Kevin Greczek1972
Thomas GlennonMercer University (Retired)
Rosalie Schneider
Richard Levitt
Veronica PalmerNew Economy Transition
LeRoy DeichmanDeichman Consulting
Mark Colvin
Anthony CarlinoSacramento State University
Nancy Donald
Nancy haiduckCity College of New York
Larry Woods
Reis goldbergNone
Lynn Philyaw
Mark Semingson
Claire BORDEAUXUniversity of Minnesota
Pam McMichaelHighlander Center
leslie EdwardsMrs.
Alexandra RudzinskiThe Democracy Collaborative
Jim Haris
Scott Perret
Madge BushJoint Associates, inc
Martin Benjamin
Frank ThompsonUniversity of Michigan
Ann Muehlberger
Kent Greenfield Boston College Law School
Meadow Amster
Laurie Pedersen Mars Hill University
Gary Cone
Stephen HaycoxUniversity of Alaska Anchorage
Thomas MundahlMidwest Pedestrian Center
Jim Cushing
Alejo Kraus-Polk
alejo Kraus-Polk
Carlos Jabbourme
Richard StringhamRetired
Julie PETTICREW19111963
Denise JacksonMs.
Cara MaesanoUPMC
Dani Gonzalez Ares
Judi Anderson
Taty SenaBrooklyn Society for Ethical Culture
Elizabeth Serkinretired clinical sociologist
Trevor merris-coots
Youngran KimDeprt. of Social Welfare, Mokpo National Univ., South Korea
Carrie Bowmanself
Joel DoerflerRiverdale Country School
Rachel Cornish
Bryan Daweself
Garth Saalfield
Linda WatsonWellness Without Walls
Justine Dougherty
Bill HoganProvidence College
Margaret M Langnone
Jeffrey TarloMr.
Susan Parker
Dusan Kustudic
Herbert RothschildPeace House - Ashland, Oregon
Edward Redig
Jan BreidenbachUniversity of Southern California
Carl MullanDCIA Ltd.
linda kintz
Janet GersonInternational Institute on Peace Education and Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory of New York TOPLAB
Hermann MiskellySelf
Michael BricklerDonald\'s View
Jorge Mansilla
ruth ballardprogressive
Jonathan FisherSeeing for Ourselves
Sheldon Wattspublished medical historian
Ruben AlonsoEHS SUL
KEITH MILLERSelect...
juhee pakr
sooyeon leeSeoul Metropolitan Government
Joanne Kestenbaum1958
ILITHIA MORRISDallas Fair Park Food Association
Cassie Zievers
Dana Cappellonistudent
robert viarengo
Heather Kapplow
Heidi Dehncke
Grecia Matos
Norma Hurlburt
Madeleine Fletcher
David King
Rebecca Chiao
Ruth MickelsenUniversity of Minnesota
Cindy BrooksPinchot U
Allen LeCoursTheosophical Society
Holly FunderburghNone
Richard T. JenkinsNone
Mark Deguia
Joslyn Fritz
Daron JoffeFarmer D Organics
Dan Brownjobsfirst.org
Allen RubinThe Center for Neuropsychiatry
Melanie St.JamesMs.
Richard Moore
Steven RosenthalSR CONSULTANTS
Charissa Morningstar
Eleanore LeeMs.
Barbara BalchThree Bridges Farm
Molly Maddra
Lydia Gerson
Janet StephensFamily of Humankind
Aaron O\'sullivanMafrelia
John Wagner(retired)
Douglas Waite
Frank Zibrat
Ruth Sachnoff
Catherine ApostleCatherine Apostle
Michael BoylanMarymount University
Michael WelberSolar Education Association of the Florida Keys
Kurt RussoThe Native American Land Conservancy
Alberto VargasUniversity of Wisconsin - Madison
Emily ArtinianStreet Road Artists
Damiel Destiche
Gordon KaneUniversity of Michigan
Patricia Bannon
Jim KnudsonRetired Environmental Engineer
Carolee CampbellNinja Press
Martin WongNeurofeedback
Stan Lindenfeld
Richard McIntyreUniversity of Rhode Island
Rickie Mulchansingh
Stacy Theriault
Wrexie Bardaglio
Steven James NA student
john myersn/a
Ivan Castanedaim-possiblethink.com
Tyler SmithUrban Deadline
Ric Hudgens ProActive
Kathe Stoepel
Cody Conner
Ellen Kaplan-Maxfield
Philip CafaroColorado State University
Ron EnnisDr.
Edgar Iván Gutierrez Riverside City College
Marge BrandoMs.
Levi Gardner Addiction Psychotherapy and Recovery Management
Andrew HewittGameChangers 500
JANET KIERSTEAD
Alberto FigueroaPor una Reforma Agraria en Argentina
Daniel Garrett
john rehbock
Mark Paul
Monalisa Clemente
Rev. Dr. David BreedenFirst Unitarian Society of Minneapolis
Christopher Cogan
Stephen Teso
Peter Fargo
Alwine(Leslie) TighiWorking Families (I am not an official)
Mumtaz AhmadLahore Grammar School
Bob Brownstone
Adam ShabazzNew Medina Ministries
Nils GilmanUC Berkeley
Matthew Krumwiede
Mark Ruddmark@markrudd.com
Larry Leibrock
Nico JenkinsHusson University
Patrick Cusack
Douglass Merrell
marshall krause
Jerome ChromanUniversity Unitarian Church--Seattle
Carolyn SteinhoffHostos Community College/City University of New York
peter franzfranz family farm for wayward hippies
Steve Gano
Margaret HoltRetired Professor University of Georgia
Michael Nieman
Kyle de Beausset
Molly Vaux
Marty BanksonSelect...
John. CroninMr.
Peter Rosenbladtnone
daniel lukaMr.
Scott Baekeland
Jerry Ravnitzky
Jerry KocherDummerston, Vermont
Kristen French90638
Philip HanserThe Brattle Group
David Andersonwww.InquiryAbraham.com
Sara SchultzMrs.
Michael Gregory
Luke AllenAnonymous
Soorya Townley
Irene Zimmer
Pedro NardelliCommons University Association
James Quay
Lola Vestalnone
Gusti BogokMs.

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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