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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

BHAVESHKUMAR Patel
Tiffany Lu
Shereen BrockNew York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Chris BennerEverett Program for Technology and Social Change, UC Santa Cruz
Gurukarm Khalsa
josh ryan-collinsNew Economics Foundation
Christa Knittle
Ali Hart
Jacqueline and Mason OverstreetLaw Student and Graduate Student
Greg Bickley
Renee Bergan
Kim Baptista
Cassandra Riordan
Mary NollMs.
Brandi Hohimer-AzevedoHuman
Tom GoganU.S. Labor Against the War
Laura Wooley
jeannette gavin
Joseph Pijanowski
Emma Caterine
Phoebe Potter
Tim Hall
Emily Aldredge
John Schultz
Robert Blackmon
Jerome BrownKlamath Sustainable Communities
Mark BaldwinUFO VILLAGE
Teresa Clifford
Paula Rohrbaugh
Mark Harvey
Tony RussoOne Love Fund, Inc.
Erin McWalter
Aloona ShuklaSPJAIN
Nancy Chismar
Jahmani Perrybe & do productions
Richard Beaufait
Greg Thomas
Mike McDaniel
Marian Douglas-UngaroAFROAMERICAS Network
Ken Kowalski
José Tomás Labarca
Roger Balson
Ed Jeannette
Carl Revine
Dominique FlaksbergThe new wschool
Jan Pieter SnoeijGraduate Institute Geneva
Lisa Caswell
david barsamian
charles rudolph
Alan SalyTWU Local 100
Marlise RiffelI
Sara Holliday
Colleen CareyThe Cornerstone Group
Kristel Van AelNamahn
Bruce EggumMr.
Kathryn Townsendhttp://kathryntownsend.com
Phil HansonN/A
Benjamin Talarico
Jack Dixonself
Dariann RickersonAdelphi University
Tom LyonLift Up Long Island
Jaime Jacobs
Bonnie Lynn MacKinnon
Currently t Dornberg
Dawn DelMonte
TED BUCZEK
Bill JunorMoving on with Dignity Inc (MOD)
Elizabeth Hauser
Stacey DiggesSelf Employed
STUART LANGLEY
Thomas Fudge
Simon Springall
Mark Phelan
Rupert MyersUniversity of California, Berkeley
Troy HollenbaughA Better Community-ABC
Paul ChislettWindsor Workers\' Education Centre
Lourdes BeneriaEmerita Cornell University
William Copeland1941
Matyas GasparKOZIGKONZULT
Grace GordonGG
Kailee Savoie
Roger Crampton
Dane PikkolaMr.
Victoria Deiorio
Rob Parker
Benjamin Bradley
Gale AudiaPeople Demandind Action
Marc Sharma
Atticus Clemensauthor
Travis Roske
Todd PriceNational Louis University
Terry KostiukMs.
Katy Evans PritchardReThink Health
Roxanne MaUniversity of Toronto
Garrett Connellyferrocement.com
Lise PretoriusGCX Africa
Mary Plaster
claire beaumont
Charles Brainard
Romina da CostaUniversity of Maryland, College Park
Gerhard Bedding
Shari WoodburySelect...
Delaney Pearson
Keith Parker
Ned Rava
Eric Makin/a
Adam EdnieInterested
pavel kovarik
Edward Wilson
Nicole Harris
Phil StadlerUW-Madison
Joan Roach
Elisabeth Yesko
Edgardo Capot
Curtis Tromm
Karen PopeWomen\'s International League for Peace and Freedom
Richard Wilhelm
Esther AllmanMoveon.org
Tyler DemarsUnited Tribes Technical College
Zane Dundon
Chris Ouro
Jim Wilmes
rosario gomez-alvarezuniversidad de sevilla
Mary WrightMs.
Eric FreyfoglePrairie Rivers Network
Ian Curry
Caroline Murray
Therese LePage
Kris EikenberyNA
Mitch Smith
Roy Nelson
Terry Sullivan
Roger Bybee
John BoettigerThe Christopher Reynolds Foundation
Khalil Abdul-Aziz
Cliff MoserStanford Healthcare
Tracey StewartGary Community Investments/Piton Foundation
Ken RavonSolutions Recovery International
Diane Lebel
Gosia Grateful
Allen Smithmutual credit systems, social land rents
Rena GuayCenter for Conscience in Action
Jay SaperRegenerative Finance
Arielle Lawson
Liam Henrie
JOHN PAYNEretired activist
James Goodhue
Charles WoodMendocino, California
NIls PalssonPeople\'s Victory
Brian Cruikshank
Delphia SimmonsCoalition on Temporrary Shelter
Bob HiltnerPinhcot.edu
Stephen HerzenbergKeystone Research Center
Jill AndersonOtr@s Dreamers in Action (ODA)
Fabiano FrancoUSGS
Angela RiznerIntegral Emergence
Jacqueline Gordon
sarah meyers
Patrick CarraherMr.
Carol SchrumNone
Cary BrownDendriFund
Cindy BrooksExplorations Academy
Geoffrey OConnellGeoff OConnell Consulting Pty Ltd
Hannah Duckworth
Jack Weinhold
Karl Patton
Panagiotis PanagiotakopoulosClose the Loop
Austin HornbuckleClark/Hornbuckle Properties LLC
Robert James lLanePlanetics
Mary MattinglySwale NY
Michael S Goodman350.ORG
Andy ShraderLos Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz
Anne Fogarty
María Claudia GiorgiCooperativa La Asamblearia
Andrea Fernandez
Sarah WalkerUW Madison 350
Anne Søndergaard ForsbølCopenhagen Business School
Eileen McGlynn
Cathy Loeb
Completely PreposterousDirt Diamond
Paige Phinney
Kent Fisher
Brian GouldMr.
Sean Manton
Karen MillerHennepin County Center of Innovation and Excellence
Gordon CreanClark University
Jennifer ScarlottBronx Climate Justice North
Quito ZieglerArtist
Allen BartonPiedmont NC DSA chapter
Patricia Robertson
Charlie BennettLa Mesa Community Improvement Association
Rob WestNew Socity Publishers
Mary EmenyThe Democracy Collaborative
Annika Pissin
Max KochLund University
Matthew AndrewsSCNCC
Mary Dolch
David VogelLIVING SYSTEMS NEW MEXICO PROJECT
Vincent CirasoleSunshine Farm
Jonathan MooreTufts University
Mark Campbell
Katherine Sandman
Kevin Uhl
Jessica WeaverPublic Conversations Project
Matt Gilbert
Jan Moore
Jen Carr
Lisa Steward
Nathan TimmWisconsin Grassroots Network
Susan ShanerSage Leadership Strategies, LLC
Jonathan CloudCenter for Regenerative Community Solutions
Brionna Sommers
rose meinenself
Howardf Ehrman
Alison Valentine
John Baker
Michael Soener
Mariko Tsujigaia-translators
Bob Noble
Michael Keehan
Dr.Nicholas PartykaThe Hampton Institute
Faith P.
Douglas Einer
Regina Westemeier
becca tituszoo town zpatistas
Mariah TingerAuthor
Louis Isaac
Michelle Wong
Cynthia KaufmanHuman Agenda
joe lange
Kathleen Bachus
Kieren Baillie
Daniel Gibson
Kyle Foti
katharine pridoehl
Rob CarrParliamentary Services
Caroline KarmannStudent, UC Berkeley
Elizabeth Williamsself
Manoel lucas marthosnone
carlos costa
Felipe Miguel
Ricardo Diaz SotoVoz Activa
Alberto Carral
Priscila Musa
Wendi Zimmerman
Aimee Durfee
Jim StolzPETA
Susan LoveMrs.
Louisa Relia+ SEED_design collaborative
Audrey Scholl
Alexa Bernardsocial permaculture
Wayne PriceSystem Change Not Climate Change
Melia Helson
Grgory JulianIndependent Political Scientist
Gail Kemerer
Cassandra CholakiDr.
Sarah RotellaAwakenEnlightenCore
Mitchell RabinMr.
Paul Berland
Bill Nelsonself
Tom CarrickResidential
Guillaume SorelL\'Étincelle
Nikolai Lash
Robert Barnett
Andre Guimond
Daniel Piresnone
Carlos PessegattiOmnium Education
E Lynk
Maryann Staron
Anish MohammedRipple Labs
Fernanda MoraesUSP - Sao Paulo University, Brazil
José Paulo Guedes PintoFederal University of ABC (UFABC)
Judy Coleman
Lucas Morais
Jeffrey Tunick
edilberto Afanador Sastre
Emerson Marques PedroPingHacker
Durwin FosterDurwin Foster Counselling Services
alexandre gwaz
Tony Franciscone
Jamie BiggarLeadnow
Diogo MatosStudent
Cristiano Kusunoki
Octávio Péricles I.GomideHouse
RANDOLPH JULES
Pedro Aquino
kevin oehler
Richard WidmarckJornalistas Sem Fronteiras
Rafael Costa
João Lúcio Mazzini da Costa
JULIO GNAP(independent)
Gene Jacobson
Du OliveiraJatobá Centro Cultural - Goiânia - GO - BR
Marcia Miller
Michael KirkbyMr.
Danis BarsantConsulta
Luís Sant\'Anna
Ben-Hur CardosoIF-UFRGS
John LawrenceSan Diego Free Press
Arild Warud
nuno almeidaQue se Lixe a Troika
Milena Hannud
heloisa marques
Janet Whitesides
Susie de Castro
Maureen MaplesOlyCLAW
Winnie AdamsMs.
Birgit Walch
patrick albertautonomous
Fred MorrisRetired
Monika Aniserowicz
John MotlochBall State University
Anna Neusüss
Darren Woolsey
robin bernardi
AniMae Chi
Mary RileyMs.
Sheryl GoodwinMrs.
Michael KillickMr.
Douglas OriansHumanity
Johann Brentrup
Marie VennerCatholic Network
Treetis EbbenInformation Research & Compliance, Inc.
Eddie Higgins
Michael RogersSumPeople.org
Joe Beyer
Adam Klein
Brian Stetten
Martha Macambridge
numa bellisariogopacifia
Anna Brakman
david kendallTrout Lily Farm and Kanati Lodge B&B
Stephanie Fry
charity stetsonMrs.
Sean HermanTechnicians For Sustainability
Kimberly Niyogi
Zachary Bord
Patricia Emmert
Ainslie B. Kincross
Cynthia Walker
Francois KnuchelCaterfly
James Pollack
Aimee PfaffNone
Hilary Eshelmanhellohilly
Hugh Campbell
Diane Wright
Roshan Mathew1980
Tench Phillipsart repertory films
matt bralow
Priscilla Bradley
Karen Mitchell
Marion Young
Mary Burns
Lisa Reed
Jim HaysMedford United Church of Christ
Binka Le Breton Iracambi Research Center
Pia AbelsenEgen
Mike Nickerson7th Generation Initiative
Laurent A Parks DalozCascadia Climate Collaborative of the Whidbey Institute
Jesse SteeleSmall Planet Institute
Estelle Voeller
Anthony BeckSolar Community Housing Association- Davis, California
Jamila Medley
David Max CurtisWild Bee International LLC
Will ShirleyDeep Relief Studio
Eva Lyubich
Steve Bivanswww.stevebivans.com
Emma YorraCenter for Family Life in Sunset Park
Sybille Saint GironsValeureux
Leslie MacKenzie
Clare Cooper
Yushira Budhram
Serf DoesborghThe Zeitgeist Movement
Jessica Schombert
Myrfa Yumiaji
Natasha Tejwani
Lee Scandinaro
Kathleen Maltzahn
Reede Stockton
Julie Wilson
Vanessa Shaffer
Blair EvansIncite Focus
Skyler Lewismy own
Michael St. JohnSt. John & Associates
Miroslav SteinerThe Czech Society for Employee Participation, c.a.
Bruce AllenUnifor Local 199
Pablo Munoz LedoGreenexus | Into
John BryantMe
Joy Pryor
Kathie JonesSustainable Medina County
Mario Yedidia
Pat Herron
Melissa Kelly
Sandra BilekConcerned Citizens of Medina County
Stephanie Clark
Bob MorseMr.
William CobbTransition Town, Riverside, CA
Walter Wright
Paul Antze
Jeff MohrKumu
Barbara PetersMontclair Presbyterian Church, Peace & Justice Steering Committee, Oakland, CA
Chekesha Showersmember of International Black Summit.org
Frances LappeSmall Planet Institute
James McConville
Kevin Kaboly
Harold HillLive Oak Unitarian Universalist Congregation Social Justice Ministry
Greg Smith
Sara Heiner
aleksey shapovalovkommersant
Leo Clark
Di Maxwell
Arikia MillikanCTRL + X
Johannes EpkeMove to Amend
Brent OlsonWestminster College
Tom Hartman
Niki GreenfieldMBSR Central Coast
Kevin McGettiganMr.
Brenda Wood
ardeshir sepahsalarUnivrs.io
Lawrence CarrieIndiana University School of Public Health
Nancy PriceMs.
Virgine Lawinger
Pia Bjorstrand Climate Action Sweden
Mike SandmelNew Economy Coalition
Barbara Bloomretired
Carol GulyasCitizens Climate Lobby
Jason Cole
Carole Marcacci
Michaela AnangCODEPINK
Fred MorrisRetired
Cait LambertonUniversity of Pittsburgh
Jeffrey PotentAdjunct professor, but signing as an individual citizen of the world.
Christian Villum
Michael JohnsonYale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Elan KainenIndependent
cindy causeyearthmother
Galen Herz
Harvey Havir
Francois GuiteMinistry of Education
Roxane Teymourtash
ger pepelsnhtv
Catie Schamel
jolie jones
Ellen Deehan-Magnone
Chris AgeeUniversidad Bolivariana de Venezuela
Brian Rahmer
Jesse Bradley
Ella Broderick
JIN KYU CHOIAalto University ARTS
Lori OspinaUC Berkeley
James DalyIndividual
Johannes Bohun
Paul Riehemann
Mark Bolam
Kira Signer-Romero
Nancy Nguyen
Ann BrummittMilwaukee Environmental Consortium
john motlochSustainable Communities Institute
Peter BretscherProject NEMO (New/Next Economic Model)
Nicolas LoubetCellabz
Chris OttenDC for Reasonable Development
Fernando Centeno
Gerald MitchellSWICH
Brendan Piper
David Fuller
Wendy Foster
Shams Kairys
sally sommerGill Tract Community Farm
Marcus MedlerBookseller
Dean Tuckermannone
Tom WebbCo-operative Management Education, Saint Mary\'s University
Alkisti Stefanidou
Al MarkowitzPartisan Press
Bernard Lietaer
MARTIN KRASNEYDALAI LAMA FRELLOWS
Jim Vincent
Eliot Fisher
Shelly KronbergsShelly Stewart Kronbergs
Brent Clemens
Jerry SmithBermedia
juerg kohlerown
Robert ClarkeAlpen High Performance Products, LLC
Christian Lewis
Jarryd O\'ConnellDorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation
Libby Comeaux
Frank NuessleThe PA Public Banking Project
John D\'Agostino
Peter FusaroGlobal Change Associates
Chris HoenigThe State of the Earth
Duncan Pike
Dana Radell
Suzanne VyborneyTransform Finance
Roger Ross
Bruce Freeman
Jesse Cohen
Angelina La Salle
Melissa Braswell
Isabel Bold
Hugo GrácioCistus
Cindy Ann Coleseattlepublicbanking.org
John EngelWorld Conservation Union

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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