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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

Simeon WarrenAmerican College of the Building Arts
Connie Eppler
Gregory Routt
Jachin Hamborg
Mel Strawn350.org(central colorado)
John Dohertyworld of wonder
judy puglisi
diane rundell
BOLIVAR ONA
Mark Perry
Franklin HernandezGrassroots Select
Ken PierceFederal University of Roraima, Brazil
Paul TrawickIdaho State University
Patricia TroxellMs.
Gary Porter
Liam KennedyStudent
tom nadsady
Kurt DunbarSkagit Valley College
Michael McGarryYork University
João NevesFEUP Engineering Faculty Porto
RN Singer
Dylan SchneiderRSF Social Finance
Ross JonesRetired
mark WagnerWorcester State University
Joe Phelan
Sarah Friesema
Michael Ridder
Dylan AndrewsConcerned Global Citizen
Tom StephensMr.
Robert DingusIndividual
Robert BlanchardSome
Aileen Dingus
Mark SemingsonBuchtel Springs
Ethan Martin
Andrew James
Tony O\'Brien
Antonio Carlos da Silva Rosahttps://www.transcend.org/tms/
Paris Alexander
Ron WhitehurstRincon-Vitova Insectaries
Werner Roestel
Aaron dresner
roger tramel
Peter Hogan
W HaywoodWe need Vision-aries
Terrence McNallyMessageMatters
Audrey LloydMs
Norm RouletICEarth
David JaffeeUniversity of North Florida
Ty VonhoetzendorffLight
Diego CallegarioCallegario
Björn Lindgren
sathy nagarajanGlobal Peace Center
johnny saylor
David MugaSkagit Valley College
Dale Hawrylczak
Tista Sola
Scott Hanson
Paul NasutiMr.
beni ahmer
Matthew Joyce
Ogden Monk
James Truher
Zakiya AlakeZAGE,Inc.
Cara Dietrick
Peter ChildsHuman Race
Bob LeonardThis Spaceship Earth
Anna BarnettCenter for Efficient Collaboration
John Mattox
Rebecca KilpatrickPublic HS English Teacher
John Kiefer ElliottBritish Columbia Institute of Technology
Mark LangdonScottish Community Development Network
Renee Marino
C. Grier Sellers
Scott TorquatoPsychotherapist
Michael Haggerty
William FlackBucknell University
Therese GrishamOakton Comminity College
Kirk Watrous
Ted Dreier
Sandy CruzHigh Altitude Permaculture
josef pinter.secular humanist monastery at dry prong
J. Paul EverettRetired
Charlene Nieves
Kenneth HamiltonH. O. P. E.
Frank WenninCOIN: Center Of Influence Network
Michael Murphy
Leah CunninghamWest Virginia University
Robert ZinkeEastern Washington University
Connor Delfs
Deborah Lennon
Arif DirlikDr.
Beverly OchsOPLLC
andrew bergerExTuitive Insights
Anwar FazalSAHABAT ALAM MALAYSIA
Michael Gennaroucsd
Kenneth Hahn
Davidi GiloGilo Ventures LLC
Shirley Jin
Ernie LoweFierce Dreamers
charles hebert
Tom Fox
Michael Griffin
Royallynn Allen
Karen Moyer-Grindell
Michael Luderitz
Mike Whalenhuman beings
Paul Ridolfiretired Presbyterian minister
Ryan Ohlerking
emily chadbourne
Michael Banta
Eve Bittel
Zbigniew KrawczykANKROM s.c.
David Unternahrernumerous organizations
PJ Mayo
Kyle Wondrasch
Linda Loftin
Thomas MonahanRCNV
John Bethencourt
Bruce Lindgren
Joe Mock
Dorothy Timmermann
Jesse Philips
Joseph ZarantonelloLoose Leaf Hollow Retreat Centre
Glenn GalitzNone
Rashid Patch
Elizabeth ShanklinGreen Party
Fred Renfroe
Keith StanistreetConcerned Canadian
Mariel Morison
Hugo Rios
Enrique Sacerio-GariBryn Mawr College
Richard Taylor
Lee DeDeaux
James Del DucaStudent, Montana State University Bozeman
Phil KleinDr.
Pedro CanoTransHispaniola
John Waide
richard larkins1959
Ruth StrassbergMs.
jeanette parker
Betsy Micek
Larry Smith
William Sullivan
Raymond Aitken
John RomankiewiczUC Berkeley
Jeff Hardy
Cathy Kunce
Lee Stanfield
David Miller
Doug ThompsonDolphinWorks
Sarah BurnsJust Foreign Policy
Kerry Boyles
Carl Jacobsen
Christine Lanser
Karen ImbimboOrganization
Lorna RoblesUniversity of California
Thierry Alban Revert The MAGIC Initiative
Bruno SobralOne Health Institute
Simon TreenMr
Ronald Toney
sarah younan
Kelley Macek
Bryant SculosFlorida International University
Leedia Macomber
jane silverN/A
Suzie McKenzie
Sheila Hall
Darlene Catello GibsonMs.
Diane Milliman
Candace Winch
Susan Craig
Sally EversonUniversity of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
Dana AndersenAwakening Arts Academy
Gina BreñaNorthern Arizona University- Sustainable Communities MA
Diana Stuart
Patricia Magyari
David JohnsonAl Jazeera America
Robert Sanborn
paul gallimoreMr.
Joshua Meisman
Bobbee Murrindy
Jason Papenfuss
J Blais
Forrist LytehaauseGlobal Evolutionary Alliance
Lynne Currie
Mihajlo KneževićAntiglobalist Serbia
isabelle lefort
anita chernis
Lauren Seeley
Noah Wheeler
Alexandra OstrowWhyWhisper Collective
Mary Sue Schmaltz
Alex JackimoviczMaine People\'s Alliance
Lisa Kelly
Constance PenleyUniversity of California-Santa Barbara
David Walsh
Michael Spears
Deb ReichNo More Enemies
James HalseyThe Living Salad Bar
Diana SharpeSharpe Occupational Therapy Services
Christopher Mason RNIndependent Nurse Contractor
Sarah Wotherspoon
Royce AdamsInternational Longshoremen\'s Association
John Berry
Amanda GoodwinThe Illuminatio Project
karen farnsworth
Theresa Nelson
Andrea McGuire
Tracy Moss
Andrew JeffersMr.
Don Hydenone at moment
Kevin Ulrich
Beth Nelson
sue kennedy
Kristine SuozziNMHEWG
Merisa Cerneaz
Cecily Brown
Paizli Palmrose
Robert HavensCenter For A Stateless Society
RJ McGrailMassDevelopment
Rob O\'Grady150 Strong
Tom Keefer
Glenn Swee
Jayne FleenerNorth Carolina State University
Steven Howard JohnsonAuthor, Getting America Unstuck
Joshua Comden
William PrettieSelf
German Hernandez
Jacob BoltonEJAM
Rita Webb
Art Mongelli
filippo Bozottitribewanted
Kevin Carson
Tres EnglishSustainable Tucson
Tom WrightJust plain citizen of the earth
Mike HeichmanGreen-Rainbow Party of MA
Howard PassellSandia National Laboratories
Kenneth LerczakFamily
Deeanna BurlesonFull Spectrum Solutions
nikko bilitza
Alexander TsoucatosRegis University
Charles Rykken1948
Nancy Macinaartist
Bruce AdamsRetired
Peter BurgessTrueValueMetrics.org
David SinclairMr.
Paula DayhoffIT Consultant
Rosalind GreensteinTufts University
John Ebel
Thomas Helgeson
Daniel NorthMr.
Abram Racin
Rhys Baker
Elizabeth ClineJournalist
Kevin CaronWRFG Atlanta, 89.3FM
Lisa Allan
Huck BalesOld Growth Systems
Judith AspharCoracle
Laura Thomas-MarlowMs.
Anthony Flesher
Harriet Cooke
Rachael Lowe
Lawrence SealsSouthShoreCo-op
Richard HobbsHuman Agenda
Ray NicholsThinker
Jean-Jacques Graisse
Hollis TrainorHumanity
Alec Howard
Sarah Cassatt
David BerrySustainable Water Resources Roundtable, Fairhaven Lantern Media
Michael Abramson
Gayle Olander
Kristin White
Raghu RaghavanMe
Suzi Gao
Joshua Donald
Jaine RothbardThe Foodie Alchemist
Sem AmesawuLife
Robert ZinkeEastern Washington University
Stephen HintonThe Swedish Sustainable Economy Foundation TSSEF.se
Allen ButcherFourth World Services
Darrell PrinceUnity
Shaktari BelewThrivability Institute
Linda EllinorD&D Climate Action Network
Daniel Werachowski
Sarah Griffincaring for the community
Joel GingerySouthside St Pete Community PTA
Aggie HoegerInver Hills Community College
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

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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