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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

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
Ronald Goldfarb
Carla Santos
Harry CasonThe Zeitgeist Movement NYC
Courtney Martin
Lexie Holliday
Keith Harrison-BroninskiTown Digital Hub
Richard KaplanTeacher
Lindsay Chappell student
Tracy Pilcher
Bill Schwimmer
Steven Poirot
Mark Jackson
Ron KearnsElders Climate Action
Kenneth Perry
Joe FeinglassNorthwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Jade Jones-Hawk
David RohrlichBoston University
Sophia Rubin
Ian Macnaughtonwww.transitionpoint.ca
Magda Silva
Arthur BoothEarthling
Lorrie Underwood
Avery Holzer
Gael ChilsonTucson Astrologers\' Guild
Gwen UreyCalifornia State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Shawn BohenYear Up
Steve CookeFriendly City Food Co-op
Diana takata
Freya Bradford
Charlee TidrickUniversity of Virginia
Benjamin Taghavi-AwalFAIR TRAVEL™
Francisco Diaz Heinzen
Ronald Kuykendall
James CrowfootSchool of Nature Resources & Environment, University of Michigan
Kay Burnett
Dale Freeman
Bill Hamilton
Leonel Senai
Nora BouhaddadaCapital Institute
Fred HornbeckHumanity
olga matosUSIC
Dave Johnson
Héctor SáezBeyondGrowth.biz
Tina King
Emily WalshCapital Institute
Peter RanisGraduate Center, City University of New York
Thomas Tomaka
Adam Reitzes
Donnie MaclurcanPost Growth Institute
Robert Smith
Jennifer Millerpersonal
Judith Salzman
Erika Clapp
Liz MaxwellImpact Hub NYC
Mine EkinciHarvard University Grad Student
brandon theisterraform energy llc
Eleanor GlennCommon Cause Australia
Pat OwenNA
Angus de LangeNew Zealand citizen
Walker Rhea
Bria ColeThe New School
rees theoDigital Commerce Pty Ltd
Susanna Niederer
Laura SchleiferWriter, Theater Artist, Artist-Educator
Karen MalpedeTheater Three Collaborative, a social justice, eco-theater
Karl KaufmanMichigan Ecovillage
Michelle Fournier350 Maine
Jean WaightFirst Congregational Church of Bellingham/UCC member
David Wade
Tomas MobergI Gottfridsberg
Lionel Riley
Kaleopono Norris
Philippe RousselEntrez des mots clés
Gale Thackrey
Ryan Reasor
Cheri QuickmireCommon Cause in Connecticut
Bilal Sekou
Anya DobrowolskiNeighborhood Groundworks, LLC
Clara McIver
Andrew Goldman
Jorge Rodriguez-LarrainAtlas Project
Robert Labaree
Mark Manley
Jonathan Boyne
Joe DaySelf
Nicholas FrankHoligent Transition to Peace and Sustainability.Org
Kathryn De MasterUniversity of California at Berkeley
Peter Toth
Nos CidadaosNós, Cidadãos! (Portuguese Political Party)
Reza BashiriOhm Institute
HANK BEASLEYINTRA-SPHERE
Jamie AldersladeCiti
Sydney Lea
Efi Antypas
Larry GloverThe Wild Resiliency Institute
Dan Gooden
Christopher Michaels
Sophia Douglas
Anne Bower
David AdamsonEarth Deeds L3C
Christy Lee-EngelBastyr University
Sam Madeira
Patrick MorrisseySilver Springs Alliance
Patricia SimmonsMrs.
Deirdre SmithThe Wildfire Project
Clelia CothierSOCENT Network
Kwame Ocran
Adalberto Palmaaperture
Kathryn SnyderThe Advocacy Fund
John LeoneJohn Leone
Michael Van AllenNAACP
nathan sivers boycewillamette university
Michael SammetCalifornia College of the Arts
Steven Velez
Petar SardelichApril30th.org
Deborah ClemmensenPrivate practice
Haley Walters
Mónica Perez NevárezChrysalis Management Services
Thomas NicholsonAdvance Access & Delivery
David Kamishlian
Nika Quirk
Peter HollingsAmerica in Crisis
charles kauffman
panos koumandosRetired
Mia RabenNIDO Family Journal
Moshe RozdzialNOMAS
Mark DavenportSelf employed
JT Hallbeck
Robert Hall
David SatterleeSocioDynamics
Kellie Patzer
Dr Tony Minervino, DChttp://TheAwarenessParty.com http://TheHealingBusiness.com
Maaneli Derakhshani
Amy CorteseLocavesting Media
Paula Casey Githens
Susan George
evelina gatenio
Brian R SmithWillits Economic Localization
Gregory SmithLewis & Clark College
timothy steinJohnson & Wales University
Robert Reinhart
Jack KaplanBay Trading
NEIL P HOFFMANNNeil P Hoffmann Architect
Matt Ashby
Alix Tate
Kassandra Sparks
Mark ChuppCase Western Reserve University
SHawn GregoryDenton Catholic Worker
henry loebUSW 9477 Retired
Bill TraynorTrusted Space Partners
Laird Towle
Stephen RockwellCivic Direct
Frakie BlackburnTrusted Space Partners
mark skinnerrian
Barbara MetzSt. Matthew Church
Aude De bourbon parme
Gabrielle Zeitlin
Robert WatsonPrimaFilm
Allan Westlake
Kim SherobbiBoggs Center
Marian DeblondeVITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research)
Kriss AveryRainbow Sound
Matthew Holsinger
Alexandria Fiorini
Anna Amezcua
Brenda Loew
Shimon WaldfogelCitizens4health
Jessoe Brinkman
Jacob Scott n/a
Rivian Berlin
Harry WatkinsPoint Loma Nazarene University & the One Earth Project
Tina Bluefield
Mary Sue Gmeiner
Suntae KimBoston College
Nancy SeabergRockcastle Sustainable Living
John AndersonGarbageBusters
Courtney Heuter
George Lacuesta
Dee Peppard
Margie Hoyt
Darrell MillsHHI
Susen MillsHHI
Steve Williams
Guy Aronoff
Michael Whitehead
Ryan DymentToronto Tool Library
Kathleen Maas Weigert
Colleen KaiserYork University
muthu sivano
Michael WelberRising Tide
Michelle Merrill
Ben KjelshusGreater Kansas City Greens
Jenifer MorganCelo Community, Inc.
Debbie Teeters
Randy AllenLifeline Connections
Susie BoldenMs.
Glenn Gallwww.reverseglobalwarming.org
Carl MaidaUCLA
Gary Sekigahama
Harris Fields
Chloe SigalInstitute for Policy Studies
Keith BadgerThe Understandascope
Jared HardyData Roads Foundation
Valerie Meads
Ken MartinRetired
Kimberly Borba
Kevin Freeman
Vicki O\'Day
Armond Muscatself
Ernest SwinsonCommunity
Douglas Renick
James CutlerSocial Equity Company
Susan Sakash
Rebecca CramerNorthland Sustainable Solutions
Dwaine Williams
Phoebe KilbyConing to the Table
Ken Ciocco
Bev StephensSpirit of change
David BrinovecDSA USA
molly arthurEcoBirth Women for Earth and Birth
HAMISH GOWANS
barbara landgren
Ken ConnellColorado Health Champions
Paul DobmeyerRoosevelt University
Ulrike Nagel
Tarik GunerselPoet and Playwright, initiator of Earth Civilization Project - Istanbul, Turkey
Roy GuisingerInternational Civilitics Institute
Nick StublerUniversity of Denver
Jonah CrawfordManta Solar Corp.
Amy Miller
Michael Padden
marc garrettFurtherfield
Mihaela Tanase
David Dysinger
Angie Dysinger
Ron Stone
Matt BirkholdVisionary Organizing Lab
Dave ThompsonEpic Coffee
Hannes GerhardtUniversity of West Georgia
NETTIE MCGEEindividual
Hans DespainNichols College
Susan SchweikUC Berkeley
Rajni BakshiGateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
Nicole George
Claire JordanMichigan State University
Rob BeemerInteresting Stuff Entertainment Inc.
Christian ArnspergerUniversity of Lausanne (Switzerland)
Luis MelendezThe Zeitgeist Movement
Ken EidelThe Center for Sustainable and Just Communities
Robert Swint
kyle hickstzm nyc
Steve Jones
Laura Nauth
donna corbetHillcrest
Jounda StrongNone
Michael Guzman
Jeffrey MunsieMunsieDesign (an individual)
Jackie SmithHuman Rights City Alliance-Pittsburgh
fred grygielretired
Gail BradbrookCompassionate Revolution
Branan King
Beth MainaNetwork fo African Women Researchers (NAWES)
Agnieszka Soltysik Monnetuniversity of lausanne
Douglas Paul Pilbrow
Josep FontanaUniversitat Pompeu Fabra
Rebecca Jacobsen
Billy D PageFirst Congregational Church
Katherine McClaid-Cook
Lucy ChristopherOccupyWNC, Jackson County NC NAACP Branch 54AB-b
Charles HejnyMr.
sharon stephens
Lois Brooks
Jennifer RiazMove To Amend
sylvain naglerSUNY/Empire State College
Grace Obregon
Steve Reiner
Alan Ness
Elizabeth A. GilbertDr.
Steven ShafarmanBasic Income Action
La DantzlerHumanity
Raymond Hearn
Sylvain Jallard
Nanka Castullk
Bob Byrne
Ursula Oswald SpringNat. Autonomous University of Mexico
Mark HewittMark Alan Hewitt Architects
Laila Miguel
Ashton Tassin
Rebecca SaltmanIssue Media Group
Toavina RAZOLALAINAFanonga
Joseph Durant
Brian Degenhart
Briana StricklandCompassion Not Competition
Timothy McDonnellSelect...
Lansing ScottCatalytic Community
Anna Miller
Shaun Dakin
Aaron Cozad
Adiron Corichi
William AttridgeHTM Corporation
Tammy bohn
Michelle Greenwoodby-all-accounts
Matthew Lubic
Larry GithensProgressive Movement
Teri Warner
Robert Kalalianenvirosocialism
David PedersenUniversity of California, San Diego
John Hayden
Kathy BlumeVermontivate!
Dana Howlettindependent
Joseph FaheyCatholic Scholars for Worker Justice
Neal Howlett
andre gregoire
Bill Weihl
JA StrubStudent Organization for Democratic Alternatives
Laura Shapiro
anthony waterhouse (UK)
Ashly Dalton
Katherine CummingsReBalance Productions
mimi and willy van straaten
Kate MrgudicNext Steps
Joe HallWoo Hoo Yeah Yeah!
Heidi Lumpkinnone
Stephen RoblinCornell University
Curtis Michael FaithWorld House Global Gardening Supply
Victor GuadagnoBright Blue EcoMedia
Cath JamesUniting Church in Australia
Adriel OrozcoNew Mexico Immigrant Law Center
Mark CheneryCommon Cause Australia
D. Elizabeth Cohen
alanna korris
Tajudeen BakarePresident Paints
Jeanne Henderson
Srisuwan payormyongfreelanced researcher
Suthipong Prachayapruit
Kamol Kamoltrakul Pro Rights
premilla dixit nag
Rachael Taggart
Terri FriedlineUniversity of Kansas, School of Social Welfare
Max ChristianNamaste Solar
Mark MancallStanford University (emeritus)
David Beach
Jeremy Douglas
Amelia MarchandHearts Gathered
Bruno de Raemy
Peter Freemannone
Jonathan Franklin
Walter MialeGreen World Center
Casey Engels
Kimberly Hopson
Lora AmaraWorld Citizen
Mary Lucasconcerned citizen
Stuart DunnQuest
Roni Burren
Jock McClellanWiserWorldWeb.org
Richard Rosner
Kyle Behnke
Craig Eldred
Arthur SamuelsonRowe Center

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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