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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

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.
Tom RoeperUMass
Carol RansomPHE, Inc.
John P. Gardner
Makaila Johnson
Brian Anderson
Donald GallagherHome
David AbramAlliance for Wild Ethics (AWE)
Helen StreettMs.
Tressa Prael
Kim BreasGentle Disposition
Chris CookDrury University
Margaret Oliver
Pete HatcherRetired Educator, Individual Investor
Margaret FlowersPopular Resistance
Matthew Bolin
Steven Ulrich
Stephen Gosch
Jussara Barbosa dos Santos RaxlenThe New School for Social Research
Sam StockmanUniversity of Missouri-Kansas City
Elias AmidonSufi Way
Janet Scavarda
Tama Winograd
Alexander R DeVito--
william mann
William RousterSelect...
Don Armstrong
Sharon Gray
Jim Pellizzeri
Philip KosdanThe Wiseacre Press
Don Wheat
Andrew AndreasenRetired
Joe Anshel
Harriet Platts
Ellen BuechnerFortunate Farm
Jordan ShipleyUniversity of Missouri - Kansas City
Helene MoglenUniversity of California santa Cruz
Paul Von BlumUCLA
Isaac ManoffNew York University
Paulu GloverDeep Green Jobs
Clare Knightretired
Juan AyalaCommunity Of Life On Earth
Geri Morisky
Mira Kamada
Seymour Slavin Professor EmeritusKentucky Labor Institute
Jann Britton
Nathaniel Blair-StahnSalish Sea Cooperative Finance
Beth SCHULMAN
May-lee Chai
Winberg ChaiUniversity of Wyoming
Doug SweetChapman University
Dave Sprague
Beth Raps
Julie Wegener
Wallace Roberts
Michael Ferro
Miguel Benavent de B.Contigomismo.com
Morris SammonsRetired
Al Wegener
Harry Brown
Larry Thorson
Dharman RiceRetired historian of ideas
Jan Verbit
Daniel SchmidtMarble Hill Senior Citizens Center
Jeff JacobsColumbia University
Vladimir ObradovicNGO - PIECE International
Yeu Wen Mak
Gregory Creede
Thomas LandryNomadic Ground Coffee Roasters
William BalthropSelf
Jeanne GunnerChapman University (retired)
Jonathan Katz
Paul FarberWestern Michigan university
Joseph Brown
Carol McCanceretired public school teacher
Tom Nordby
Gerald AlexanderPSARA
Martin HeislerUniversity of Maryland
Dan Hade
sierra case
William GamsonBoston College
Kack FlynnCitizen
Jon RuddPrince George\'s Community College
Margot BoyerMeadow Creature LLC
Edward (Mr. Ed) KirkbrideCEFPI (A4LE) & LLCC
Chuck BenedictRetired physician and recovering politician
David Pickenjust me & Jan
Robert Roelfson
Les Norman
Victoria Coe
Abraham Alexander
Jeff HansonHardly Any
Chelsea PeilCircular Economy Strategies
Alberto Vargasuniversity of Wisconsin
Alexander Crofford
Thomas Wilson
Jesse WerbowDemocratic Socialists of Chaska
Don Levitan
Jawied NawabiCUNY Bronx Community College
Michael KleinHunter College
Louis KriesbergProgram for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, Syracuse University
Doc LawrenceDoc Lawrence Productions, Inc.
Jesse Dorsett
Mary Poggi
Sarantis SymeonoglouWashington University
Lisa R. SmithPull Together Now
Justin Yun
Steve BhaermanPeoples Upwising
zelda gamsonwriter, activist, grandmother
David PfarrerNone
michelle mondot
Gordon AlderinkGrand Valley State University
Andrew Goss
JAMES KRANTZWorklab Consulting
Susan Fainstein Harvard University
Deirdre FosterChoisir svp
Catherine Beckman
Victoria SlackPlanet Earth
John Rowlett
Tom Magnuson
Joseph Bernheim
Molly AndersonFood Systems Integrity
David StanfieldTerra Institute
Robert TothUrsuline College
Eric VerhoogenColumbia University
Steven Tailleir
Suzanne Cloud
jay mandleColgate University
Alexander Robertslone wolf
Patricia Berger
Tina TinsleyAthens Rising
Simran Issar
Gene Blackley
Jack ZipesUniversity of Minnesota
Andrea JacobsonRimon
Shaun ChamberlinDark Optimism
Daniel Markham N/a
Kenny Cullitan
Christopher KuttruffGreenpeace
Cynthia Hall
Bruce dePysslerN.C. Cental University
Theresa Cote
Conner Rettig
Larry Powell
Frank EgertonUniversity of Wisconsin-Parkside
margaret freshwaters
Rogan ThompquistSanta Lucia School
Annie Corbett-Mooreme,myself and I
Paul Baines
Barnaby Spring
Nancy RosenblumHarvard University
Robert Jay LiftonColumbia University
Robert GossVeterans for Peace
Thomas FararoUniversity of Pittsburgh (retired)
Ruth Reichl
Michael Singer
Kate Ingold
Andrew Wilke
Victoria Bocchicchio
Richard Fox
BC VermeerschAvondale Institute
Peter LittleRhode Island College
nick pearson
Bob HamiltonCommon Good Awareness Project
Synthia Allen
Daniel Porter
John MacNeilGreenfield
David Plank
HARIMA BillelBDL
Robert Katrinunaffialiated
Kuran Okay
Eugene NulmanBirmingham City University
John PayneCitizen of Earth
terry rose
Vincent Vendemini
Frank Baty
Bill Halsey
Carole Allegro
Susan Entenman
Evan DaviesConnActions
Mike MusicMr.
Ahmad Munir
Joel DiemondRetired
Gordon RogoffMr.
Jason KosnoskiUniversity of Michgian--Flint
Wayne Lewis Green party
Richard Adriance-Exner
George FrangosSUNY Downstate Medical Center
Wendy Wilson-Fallindependent
Edward JahnYear
Susan Barron
Jurgen KleistSUNY Plattsburgh
Naomi mittet
Steven Lohrenz
Aliyah SmithLGBT
Julius Goodley1964
Deborah Brighton
Daniel Shively
Christopher Rounds
arnie foxnone
Val Norton
Rene HermizSunpro Solar
Jennifer Nelson
Richard MoraOccidental College
Paul WoodsLaw Office of Paul Woods PC
Richard Brown
Brian MullanCitizen Of The World
Jarod Kilgore
Lenhardt StevensUniversity of Colorado
Stephen Herndonself
Joanne Collier
T L Rosenberg
Chester Hazlewood
Per SundellUNAB

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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