The Next System Project is an initiative of The Democracy Collaborative aimed at bold thinking and action to address the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in coming decades. Deep crises of economic inequality, racial injustice and climate change—to name but three—are upon us, and systemic problems require systemic solutions. Working with a broad group of researchers, theorists and activists, we are using the best research, understanding and strategic thinking, on the one hand, and on-the-ground organizing and development experience, on the other, to promote visions, models and pathways that point to a “next system” radically different in fundamental ways from the failed systems of the past and present and capable of delivering superior social, economic and ecological outcomes.
Through our work at different scales and in a range of sectors, the Next System Project functions as a research and development lab for political-economic alternatives. From comprehensive research and policy development for systemic change to targeted interventions in areas like energy democracy and public banking, we connect designs for a better future with the networks that can make them real. Responding to genuine 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, we are assembling the elements of a new political economy for the United States in the twenty-first century.
By approaching issues systemically, we believe we can move our degraded political conversation beyond current limits and catalyze a substantive debate about the next system and how we might go about its construction. Despite the scale of the difficulties, we are cautiously optimistic. There are real alternatives. Arising from the unforgiving logic of dead ends, the steadily building array of promising new proposals and practical experiments and institutions, together with an explosion of ideas and activism, offer a powerful basis for hope.