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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

ti baderpublic
Madeline Kiser
Kerstin Jofjell
Gaetano Trachtenberg
Thorsten WiesmannStop Reset Go
Emily SladekDemocracy Collaborative
Jerry RAITZYKChesapeake Juggling Institute
michael reamMr.
Terry ScottChitlin Circuits
Nenad PetrovicReferrizer
timothy thibodeaunone
Victor LoveDads On Duty
Michael SalvatoDPC
Marco BerlinguerIGOP/UAB
Angelo Vignaroli
Pamela MorganGraceful Systems LLC
Alex FaiwichowNo institution
Kurt Brennemanhumus.io
Rod Ferguson
Carl EdwardsRighteousEarth
Roberto Farruggio
Ryan Higgins
John NoelClean Water Action
Paul BlundellFederation of Egalitarian Communities
Nancy SouthernNancy Southern & Associates
M. Catherine BuntinChicago Area Peace Action
chantz large
Tarah Clark
uwe thomase3p consulting
Charlene Bennett
rola Khourycloudburst foundation
Timothy OverdierMr.
Sandra MarshallLLR
Bob WilliamsUnited Church of Canada
David Leftwich
Mark Johnson28150
gina gotchermyself
Ibolya Ignat
Dani OrthAlliance for Sustainable Colorado
Shaun BrowneDigital Mentor Group Inc.
Jason JafferyThe Democracy Collaborative
Jeff FranklinLVWORCS
NASTASSJA CHERNOFF THE TRUTH EMPIRICALLY SPEAKING
David Geiger1958
Anne Brown
Dana GeffnerFair World Project
Alanna StewartPoint A
Frans VerhagenInternational Institute for Monetary Transformation
charlie ryan
Ann Landaas SmithCircle Connections, Gather The Women, Interfaith Action of Florida
Anna ShockleyAmnesty International Charleston
Gerald Rudolph
Carrie Durkee
peter CraigGo Local
Shannon JohnsonDowntown Newton Development Association
Robert Leggapocalyptic poet.org
William Hough
Marea KinneyIndiana University School of Social Work
Nathaniel Blackford
Vivian Wolfson
charles otter mcsweeneythe city of cave junction
Booie Mithun
Travis Christal
Gerri WileyRAFT - Residents Allied for the Future of Tioga
Joan Davis
Kathleen Hall MD MPHCourage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
John RicksN/A
Wes ErnsbergerUnitarian Universalist Congregation of Binghamton, Green Sanctuary
Janis Swoveland
Muriel Anderson
Randy Kiel
David BabcockAlliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse
anita delight
Felix Weth Fairmondo
Claudine Harrington
Brendon Carpenter
Taylor ChanningPublic Banking Institute
Ken Cowan
Stephen Adams
Henry KirchdorferBuilder/Contractor
Nina Ziccone
Susan Bartlett
James Robinson
Amy HartzlerDo Good Better
Richard MaddernMr.
Monica Davies
Isabella Pesarini
Tommy BordainLearning Planet
Marvin Brown
Janice GintzlerUnited Methodist Women
Meaghan SimpsonMending Wheel
Judith Raskin RosenthalWomanshare
Edward Fischer
LIGORY FERNANDESMr.
Tom MaddenCode Pink Dallas / VFP 106
Jill Ullian
Dennis Anello
Kimberly ChristensenSarah Lawrence College, Economics
Leslie LewisCommunity Hope Project
Diane Lasek
Frances FullerMs.
Ulle KoivMs.
Joni LeVinessPeace House~Tulsa
Suzanne JewellThe Mindful Entrepreneur
Jane ClevengerVeterans For Peace
Jon LloydPositive Deviance Initiative
Manal RamadanMs.
marie lombardACAT france
Tony Ryan1948
Maggie Standley
Diane HeathMs.
Kimberly Leeper
roy crettoncrettonroy@yahoo.fr
Andrew Kurzweil
Cindy Black
Roger Kallen
Alicia Millington
Michael E. Kerr
Justin Podur
alina dollat
Jef SchultzFortunate Farm LLC
bernardo alayza mujica
Susan Walp
Ellen Sturtz1AngryOldLesbian.org
Linda Rubiano
Steven Prow
mary lasleyn/a
Joel TrupinDr.
Sonigitu EkpeAgeCare Foundation
Tony SchleinCitizen Action
Jason Holcomb
christine bischGawad Kalinga Europe
John DreyforsThe Forest Foundation, Inc.
zorger sergiu
Matt McRaeCity of Eugene
Gene HomickimyTurn.com, pbc
Jennifer LintonClimate Conscious
Elias CrimSolidarity Hall
tim hatleyme
Sidney Beaumont
Kevin MarkSchool of Political Science and Economics, Meiji University
Eric Trevino
Amber LounsberyHigher Vibrations
Anne-Marie CodurDialogues en Humanité
Michael Misquez
leslie parkerreil
Alexander Lindskog
Greg Brooks-English
Shawn DentCarollo Engineers
Raghu Kalakuntla
Justin PodurYork University
Harman Bains
Manuel CarvalloHispanic Wealth
romain svartzmanMcGill University - Ecological Economics
Stephen CoyleMe
Kevin SchmidtComment Outline
Darrell DuaneDC Bitcoin
John MaxwellRussell Recycling
Shannon MancusGeorge Washington University
Patricia Reed
Nefertitti Rhodes
John Kenderdine
Art Cohenb\'more mobile
christina bowensageland consulting
Larry KazdanModern Monetary Theory in Canada
Mark SkandierLegacy Counsellors, P.C.
Alex CoCenter for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering at Yale
JORGE M del CConsejo Laboral mexicano
Travis RobertsonEarth
charles kellogg
Sean McMahan
Matt HengesbaughInstitute for Global Environmental Strategies
Michele Battle-FisherRonin Institute / Wright State
jimmy whippsGSP
Sylvain Belisle
Jaime Harris
staf verbeeck
jose santos
Joan RichmondMeadow Rise Farm
Vilma SarsharUniversity of California, Riverside
Francisco LasoUniversity of North Carolina
Hans BaerUniversity of Melbourne
Ross Honniball
Ken Goffman aka R.U. SiriusUS Open Source Party
Jon LloydPositive Deviance Initiative: www.positivedeviance.org
Stefan VolkmannAIESEC
Karen ForemanCannacare Organics
Fred SnyderBlogger
Ram Ravi Kaur
Roxanne Petersonself
Lino Santos
Tim Blackburn
Bryce PotucekMr.
Kevin Hengehold
Ryan BurgessIndividual
Coe DouglsWriter, Editor
Richard HealeyGrassroots Policy Project
Kyeta Taylor
Val Rothnone
Cassandra Steiner
Kirsty Stevenson
Kevin Wilhelm
Angela AidalaColumbia University
Martha Kuhn
Paul RoutledgeUniversity of Leeds
Darlene CavallaraRocky Mountain Sustainabilty Center
cameron cleveland
Chloe Smith
Lisa Welch
Sherrie VandePutte
Joey FlowersLittle Flower Community
Henry McKay
Andrew BroughFoundation for Young Australians
Eric EckmanTrue Local Eats
Julie NW GoodridgeNorthStar Asset Management
Jenna Hudson
Randy HaykinGratitude Global
Joe ScheidlerPathlete
wilbert geertruidaCuracao SME
Sam Nuccio
Teresa Easton
Will MartinThe Architecture Lobby
Diane FreaneyRooted Investing LLC
Alex DiazJuntos Por Puerto Rico
Andrea WilmotDelridge grocery coop
Jeffrey QuinteroCoRealizer
Justin Blouir
Simon Radford
Sarah Campbell
Marnie Singer
Sergio Kyriakis
Patrick Curtis
Austin StumpffMr.
Godan NAMBUDIRIPAD None
Barbara Hollywood
Alexa Pena
Robin Osler
Bruce MatthewsBard College
Ken Wilson
Virginia Ruffolo
Florence Vincent
Harvey Swaine
Per Hoel
Hilary Vidalakis
Klaas GaublommeBonka Circus
Kelly Tamburello
Gregory McMurrayOregon Master Naturalist
Ron Whitmore
lcm lcmcitizen
Jeanne Rynnecitizen
Hannah Franks
Dan PungelloUNC Asheville
Mary B RentschlerMary Rentschler, M.Ed.
Hanalei R.Responsible Endowments Coalition (REC)
Jason FrazerRoot Consulting Group
James LearyJim Leary, Dr. Medical Qigong
eileen galer1943
Ruth BerenzyNone
Randall WallaceWallace Action Fund
Christianna LeahyMcDaniel College
Katie StantonIndiana University
Liane GaleBasic Income Women Action Group
Margaret Ghodsi
Martell Kiefer
stan kabalaself
Patricia MacDonald
Douglas R. Greely
Bobak Tamaddon
Charles Browning
Benjamin Levenson
Tim Lewiscitizen
Fred Arvidson
Zachary Rawie
Faith Addicott
Gayle Beckman Gardner
Trevor Cline
Bruce Hagen1936
Dan Senour Institute for Creative Development
Roger OsborneRoger P. Osborne
Andrea Black
Henri JourdainSelf Among Others
Michael Toye
Elandria WilliamsHighlander Research and Education Center
Katherine Parker
Micah AdamsThe Climate Reality Project
Gabriel Reichler
Taylor GleasonThe Climate Reality Project
Mindy Schlimgen
Nydia Lisman Pieczanski
Edgar Greville
Cher Tanner
Cecile Lawrence
Anne TylerMs
dayni staddon
Leah Hair
Brandon Inabinet
Zachary Lerangis
Elizabeth Baker
bright dornblaserretired
Renata mouraREM
Linda Hartmann
Christine McDonoughWisconsin Grassroots Network
Kym Wilson
LUCY WILSONMusic teacher
don faulknerMr.
Markale Youngernone
Linda Curry
James Mejutoretired
John WeishampelUniversity of Central Florida
John RabyMr.
Julie Stuckeyself
Eric WestThe Globescan Foundation
Tracy BaxterNAASCA
Marius Calinescu
Nathan Birnbaum
Kerry Huang
Jackson Lewis
Geraldine Zillman
Bob BivonaNew Enlightenment Citizen\'s Union
Andrew BeckerCommunity Enterprise Solutions
Theodora SimonHarvard Kennedy School
aj ylizaliturrina
Tyler ToddIfiproductions
Celia WaddellNew Culture Northwest
bob bolin
Karen Jorgensen
Craig MorseCulture:Subculture Photography
Linda Brown
Lloyd Rojewski
mary neilson
Ursula Rozum
Janet BiehlMs.
No Bo
Jennifer Hombach350Philadelphia
Ben SnyderProject Reach Youth
abdirahman aliigo
Pamela Demian, MD
Daniel Boivin
Callen HodgskissHospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa
Mary Hess
Badr Bougrine
Nathan KellyInfoxchange
Lisa VillarrealThe San Francisco Foundation
Peter Barbour
Gideon Emmmanuel
Ferananda IbarraVillageLab
steve baker
Shevanthi DanielPinchot University
Win Southworth
Gary McNutt
A. McGarry
Gary WhiteClimate Reality Project
kristine osbakken
Hannah SlaterChildren England
Nathan Boone
Sharon Urpschot1958
W. Marc TognottiInstitute of the Commons
kathleen spencerOccupy Duluth MN
Thomas DeedsThe Ethel Walker School
Jay Dee MartinDr.
Lo Daniels
Austin Arnold
James CarliDrug Policy Alliance
Mark RoestDesignEarth.net
William FreimuthWFA
Anne Gutowsky
John Mark RobertsonMr.
Danny DwinellAddictions/Life Consultant
Seyd Teim
Diane CardinCARDIN +
Mike Rudnick
Margaret Catheyretired politician/teacher
Hilton Besnosretired teacher
Thomas ManaughDr.
Dave FinniganClimate Change is Elementary
sebastian chavez
Mamie Moorenone
Andrew Follmann
Matthew Reddick
Chuck CollinsInstitute for Policy Studies
Judith Blackbirdvoter
Thomas DrevesThe Collaborative Center Community
Caitlin HawkinsThe Cleveland Foundation
Warren Johnstonwriter
Shingo Potier de la MorandiereImpact Hub Tokyo
Laura MyersonWESPAC
Ruth CaplanDC Public Banking Center
Kathleen GranchelliYWCA of the Niagara Frontier
erik stewartlong beach area peace network
Mary Chastang
Tomi Phillips
Clyde SladeMr.
Edward DillonDillon & Associates
arnoldo de hoyosNEF PUCSP
Tish Wilson
Laurel Palomares
Robert McCollumRock Creek Reclamation District
Peter CrosbyAllTogetherNow
Charlie CoodeCoode Associates
Kourtnie Thompson
Donald Uhlinger
Kristin Pauly
Lev Shakhmundes
EJ Langseth, PhD.health rights advocate
Esmond Lyons
Olivia RoDee
Alex Coccia
Michael DespinesInstitute for Sustainable Communities
Rich Ogden
Paul LachelierLearning Life
Karla Horn
June Charles
Michel LabbeOptions For Homes Non-profit Corporation
charles paceOWS
Douglas Clemens
Naim Vilabrera
Patricia Mullen
Margaret Rogers
Elisabeth BarnesN/a
Russell MacMastersPhotographer
Bradford Kral
Bryan BlakeleyBoston College
joe hudson
David LevyWww.generocitycapital.com
Hugo AlvarezN/A
Annalisa Siefken BARE Movement
Megan SheehanVermont Workers\' Center
Amirah Alias
Ines Techt
Derrick Mullins
Stefa Shaler
Mark WachowiakOrlando Food Not Bombs
Alasdair Brannan
Anna BlumeLivingBridgesPlanet / ImpactJourney
Daniel GarrettThe Asia Institute
Niclas MelinDigital Cultivator
Nicola Hague
Libba PinchotPinchot
PAUL Bies
Chandler Foust
Peter Sammond
Peter Walsh
Syncione Bresgal
Jax GilResist
Anthony Simon Mielniczuk
Francisco Aranda Páez
Melissa MillsMills Consulting, LLC
Timothy VerkistHuman Race
Olivia HeadYearHere
Keely Byrne
sheila fox
kb paglione
Chuck LyndSimply Living
Denise Fort
Derrick Martin
Floyd RobinsonDiscovery Arts Place
Maria BroomBaltimore Homa Community
Lauren abramson
Andrew PercyLIFE
Tom HarperStopresetgo.org
ed winter-tamkin
Marla Perry
Marilyn Winter-TamkinCenter for Emergent Diplomacy
Mike LaBonteHaverhill Matters
Merle LefkoffCenter for Emergent Diplomacy
Martin Slater
Edd SuddrethThePeoplesAgendaNationWide
William NicholasThe Human Race
Pete Johnson JrGrandin Gardens
Jennifer Tracy
Terry Triplet
Mary ChaseThe Pachamama Alliance
Damon McCollin-MooreDNA Projects
Owen Sechrist
Suzanne stage
Michael LitwinUS Fish and Wildlife Service, retired
sher Alltucker
Eric Rheinheimer
Bibi Gastonauthor/ landscape architect
Christopher KennedyMI Six
Barry HealyFremantle Road to Rail campaign
Pam McLellanMs.
Eric Ferguson
Sharnon IseniaIndigoblue Consult
Lee DavisCenter for Social Design, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
Russell Sunshine
Francisco Sotomayor
Richard Brophy
dominika ksel
samuel gloyd
Karen FossRetired Business Manager
Sarah Kirn
Jennifer KarstenPendle Hill
Behjat A. SharifCSULA
Darlene CranePCI Crane Consulting
Melinda MoultonMain Street Landing
Renée Carpenter
Marty Marty Pixley
Diane MatchettVocational Empowerment Services
Gene Ulmer
Elizabeth SteeleMain Street Landing

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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