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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

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
Nash Popovic
Jason BoyerUNCA
Jamie Thompson
Una Wendt
Sean Daley
Betsey DowningDr.
Paul KeslerN/A
john wagner
Pierre Louis LemercierRenewable Energy Centre
Joseph Herbert
Michael HogueMeadville Lombard Theological School
Paulilna Toledo
Cameron WhiteUniversity of Houston
Randy Hershey
Lavonn AmbrechtMs.
Kelly WebbMs.
Dan SwinneyManufacturing Renaissance
Kirsten CutlerMrs.
Rick Hunt
barbara braun
Trish Darragh
Leslie Calk
Jo Lewis
Margot CritchfieldSt. Stephen\'s Episcopal Church
Ian Oliver
James Goodhew
Kelly FlynnResilient Biosystems
Patricia Deinhart-BauknightThe Urban Design Lab LLC
Michele LuValleMrs.
Paul Connery
Jean Waight
Rob Horner
Jennifer Treado
Julie Monahan
András Szajkó
Joseph Ericson
Ethan Redshaw
J. Frederick ArmentInternational Cities of Peace
Tim O\'Shea
James McGreenSelf
Surenjav Ganboldstudent - NPO MBA
sharron francesN/A
Jeremy Yip
Beki Halpiin
patrick hughes
Nancy Dyer
Kevin Jones
Paulo Da SilvaUnited Methodist Church
Chris StaysniakBoston College
Frank Cordova
Paul GirouxPaul J Giroux and Associates
Robert Tarr1986
neil tunstall
Andrew Swanson
craig loeffelholz
katharine Hone
Marcelle van Veen
Thomas FrankArtist / Activist
Jacques Laroche
Denis Van Melkebeke
Joseph Clark
Anna HemburyChurch Mission Society
Ashim Jain
Lucy Hatfield
Kim Powell
Doug Elliott
Sue MatosNA
Monique WijbengaYbanga Fresh Produce
Dianne Barbour
ian neubronnereco=edenbodies21
Bruno ZafforaWaking Films
Cathleen McBride
kathy barrettMs.
Lawrence Jordan
Helen Galletly
Lily Radloff
Lynne Thompson
Ryan Lowe
Bill Schramnone
Hayley Hogg
Elizabeth Sanchez
yan maisch
Isabelle LachanceOMVQ
Diane MojicaMrs.
Jason peralta
Charles Procter
Alan Issai Arguello PalomaresAutonomous University of Queretaro
Tayler GloverHemp Circle Industries
Polencha NighswongerThe Human Race
Sarah PetersonLanguage Yoga
Amanda Ha
HUMBERTO ARTURO REAZA JR
Irma Suarez
Tara Melis
Janot Mendler de SuarezBoston University Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future
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Robert Jackson
Rodney Barker1969
Carolyn Tabak
John ChoeFlushing Meeting
conrad bryanCharterd Certified Accountants
Butch PickensLiberty Resources
Phillip ArnautoffMr.
Jesse Martel
Ivan Damyanov
Karen Johnston
Elizabeth Fraser
John Horan
sue shannon
Anna Cronin
Ethan TabachnickMr.
Sybil AugustineWORT Community Radio
Christelle Harris
Sherron BurnsARC Creative Studio Inc.
Victor C RobinsonConsultant: Conflict, Gender, and Development
Paul Graham
Jessie Baynes
Lovre Petrina
Wendi Fletcher
Jane Anderson
Tiago Santos
Amber LancasterJune Jordan School for Equity
Tom Sullivan
Cory Mac a\'GhobhainnMs.
Alexander Lockwood
Jean Huffman
callum BrownGreen Cabs Limited
Mary Whitney
Bryan PersaudIntermedia Communications Corp.
John Youngblood
thomas naughtMr.
Fran Hudson
Jose I. RodriguezDivine Inspiration
Km Steele
Ryan Schuh
Meagan Braganca
Vida Hammitt
Karen Castanes
Jean-François Pépin
Imanol Castrellon
Jared Valdry
Donna Anthony
Risha Mateos
Jason Morris
Jamaine Bell
Mary Gallardo-Melgar
ROBERT RANDO
Christina Early
eva madarassy
dr michelle frantom
Ellen Weissbuch
Stacy Ware
Carl WagnerBeatCancer.Org
Kelley Holsinger
Alia WesalaUniversity of Michigan
Alison BarnesGlen Davis Boutique Hotel
Rhonda SineMs.
Stacey Hall
Rahmat Aimaqueprivate
Warren Senkowski
ewa helenlive over profit
Artur Röder
Valerie AndersonMs.
iosh Rousu
Susan ClarkVA Tech
Shannon Porter
michael port
Nancy KusterEducator
Earle BaileyMr.
CHARALABOS BAGIASTAS
Alexander Krawczyk
Brittney YatesHUM
Flo IliciFree thinker
Martin Bundesen
Margaret Viers
brandy warnerfoodisfreeproject
Vanessa TinkerSelçuk University
Brian Blassingame
irma mckinlayprivate researcher
Alison Hosienone
Matthew HirschDesigner
Amy Mullinsblackburn college
Patrick StubbsNatural Expressions Photography
Christine DeMaioribus
Eldon Fox
Andrea BrowerUniversity of Auckland
Lyla Elsafy
keith SuterGlobal Directions
Kimberly Maynard
Denise WilleyMs.
Retha Dooleyretired citizen
JIm Ullrichcitizen
James Watts
robert preece
Harry PetrequinRetired State Dept & USCG
Robyn HydenAlabama Arise
Majadi BarutiUdja Temple Ministries
Mary Couzens
John Couzens
Susan MitchellUdja Temple Ministries
Karen DeoraPortland Right to the City Coalition
Virginia Ruffolo
Sheila SmithMs.
Nathan Pederson
David Symes
Robert KoesterBall State University
Roos van os SOMO
Timothy King
Ludwig Ouzoonian
Don CooneyWestern Michigan University
Guy Slingsby
Katherine McFateCenter for Effective Government
Donna KittrellMrs.
Chris Jensen
Richard Bahr
J. Daniel KeeslerPSU MSW student
Anita JohnsonMDEA
Kathleen Pimentel350 Silicon Valley
Judith WittnerDr.
Gary Lee
Wendy Boszak
Joseph Elliott
Dannie O\'Reilly1954
Austin SmithDelta
Greg Thrower
james louckyWestern Washington University
Peter Baldwin
john brusen
Samuel Lewis
Roselene HainesMs.
Buffy Hake
John Young
Herbert Davis,Jr.
william gittlenbenzie solar initiative
James FacetteMarianist
Cindy Black
Brandon McNamara
Diane SchrackThe Question Alliance
Kate ThompsonMs.
linda olinger
Gabriel ShapiroHampshire College Climate Justice
Onni JuhalaConcerned Individual
Tyler Clemens
Arthur Woolson
Debra A. ItalianoSustainable Jersey City
Kimberlie ColeWest Wind Farms LLC
John VannBall State University
Nicolette Kuba HurdThe Beauty Distillery - building a world on the principles of beauty and harmony
Dr. Werner RiemerRobert Jungk Futures Library
Eileen Leonard
Irene King
Craig Nelson
Elinor Milne
Brett SmithDivest Carleton
Erin Yeagley
Sean CunninghamMacomb Community College
Camilla Baird
Lauren BrillanteVoteOnPurpose.org
Delton ChenGlobal 4C
Katherine RileShare International
David SoulBricoleur Systems Limited
DAVID COOLEY
John SenechalLightheart LLC
Virginia Williams
Nobuya Teraoka
Raghu GhimirePeople Health Movement, Nepal
Keith WendtTransmetrics Consulting
Bernestine SingleyStraightalk
Charleigh Robillard
Diana BardynNone
Dave Hollister
Steve Pileeki
Ellon Carpenter
Keith Bogdanovich
Pat Moore
Christian Mair
jean hoeglerJPPJ
Nancy Barritt
Michael JoynerMr.
Valerie TrainaMs.
chris eatonwww.chriseaton.net
Billy Davenport
Christopher KummelstedtGlobal Business Labs
prof. emeritus meyer brownstoneOxfam Canada
Paul Lloys
Amy McQuillan
Roberta Williams
Mirra PriceProut
Margie Borchers
Adam Osmak
James RayRetired Presbyterian Minister
John Harrington Jr
tyler norris
Carolyn Bridge
William Carpenter
Lisa Olberding Me, Myself and I :-)
Elizabeth Ghatala
Roger BensonCreative Partnerships Europe AB
Irene GOMESMrs.
Fred KinseyUnity Lutheran Church and Community Center Chicago
Paul Thomas
Marilyn L Brown
raphael souchierRSC
Jennifer Lindner
Michaele KustudicWolfville Advocates for Progressive Politics (WAPP)
Mark SchefflerFoundation for a Sustainable Wisconsin
Karen Robbinseducator
Steve Knight
Carl CarneinDr.
David fairmaneastern Ct Community Gardens Association
David WoodburyWest Montreal Counselling Centre
Lee Taylor
Djair Guilherme da JuniorAto e Corpo
Edmund Weisberg
Cathy TeesdaleHumans of Greater London
Peter Ensch
Terry LinkStarting Now, LLC
Gary Sanchez
Michel Kabay Norwich University
Eloise O\'Shea-WyattMrs.
peter drabkin
Cassandra Gamble
Mitch Powellbluewatergreenearth.org
mustafa durmuşgazi universty
nejla kuruluniversity of ankara
Pat Beaton
Ali AdilUniversity of Texas at Arlington
Filip Fanchettercdpl
Alan Leon
David Johnston
Lee Tillman Doncaster Council
Slobodan Reljićfree
Stefan Saller
Natascha Wolf
Susan Raikes Sugar
Antal Halmosengineer, economist (retired), writer, blogger
Lionel AnetEconomic reform Australia
erik syverson
Everett Morrisself
Robert Horner JrRopular Resistance
Ben Martin
robert goldenTHE HOME IN BRIDPORT PROJECT
Daphne Randall
Lowell ManningNone
troy grant
Saathii SwanaamMarxian Gurukul
Jatinder SehgalNONE
Brad KahnGroundwork Strategies
Malcolm WhitmoreIntergen
Robert and Dolores ScheelenMr. and Mrs
Tim Bell
Lynda Bates
Carmen Dello BuonoForestcoast Books
Donnie Bryan
irving sarnoff

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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